Upon hearing of her historic Emmy nomination, Mj Rodriguez had an overwhelming feeling from “Pose”: “I felt like I was seen like this.”
“I felt represented and seen,” said Rodriguez, who scored the first major Emmy performance for a trans actor. “And… more accepted than I’ve felt in a long time. I had the feeling that my colleagues see me now, my fellow actors see me and the people who are surrounded by art see me and how much I want to give the world the love for my craft and my art. “
The nomination for Rodriguez, who plays housemother and nurse Blanca on the FX show about ballroom culture in the 1980s and 90s, which recently ended its third and final season, was one of several allusions to the show, including best actor for Billy Porter and best acting. The series by Steven Canals and Ryan Murphy made the breakthrough with the casting of transgender actors as tran characters.
Rodriguez, 30, spoke in an interview on Tuesday by Zoom from Cannes, France, where she is attending the film festival. It had been a long night: she hadn’t been able to sleep with anticipation. “I had a lot going through my head,” she says. “I was up until 8 a.m.”
When the news came: “My mother and my godmother (sat) at the dining table. And the moment my name was announced, I just screamed and collapsed. And my mother grabbed me. She kind of tossed me around. I hugged her. She whipped me around a bit. And I just remember falling into my boyfriend’s arms and just crying. Tears of joy, tears of joy. “
Rodriguez and her family were not alone in their joy or recognition of the enormity of the moment. Sarah Kate Ellis of GLAAD, the LGBTQ + organization, called her nomination “a breakthrough for transgender women in Hollywood and a long overdue recognition for her groundbreaking achievement over the last three seasons of” Pose “- a show that Ellis said , “Without a doubt, raised the bar for trans representation on television and changed the way viewers around the world understand the trans community.”
The group had partnered with dozens of other organizations in an open letter calling on Emmy voters to show their support for the show and, in particular, for its transgender and non-binary actors.
Rodriguez said she was grateful to know “that we are finally being seen as we must be seen, and that our stories can now be viewed as human stories. It only opens the diaspora, opens everything even more. There are an infinite number of stories that can be told now simply because that is happening. “
She said she was thinking specifically of young people “who can look at us and see that we are human and that we have so much to offer and can be looked up to and that there are dreams that are attainable because we are can “make it possible.”
She said of her teammates and crew members: “We gave as a team. I always say that teamwork works the dream and that is exactly what we did. The family on this show is what we built. “
Rodriguez is working on her next project, a comedy for Apple TV + with Maya Rudolph, with the working title “Loot”.
“I just have the feeling that the sky is limitless,” she said of her future career. “I feel like there are so many more options out there. The world – it has opened up, and I can’t express how happy I am to know that I can be part of more great works … and just bring out good products. I know this is what the future looks like. “