Emmy Awards

‘Pose’ star MJ Rodriguez is first trans Best Actress Emmy nominee

‘Pose’ star MJ Rodriguez is first trans Best Actress Emmy nominee

MJ Rodriguez's Instagram

The 'Pose' star makes history as the first trans woman to land an Emmy nod for a lead acting category

Pose actress MJ Rodriguez made history on Tuesday, July 13 after being the first openly transgender performer to land a major Emmy nomination for a lead acting category in a drama series.

MJ was nominated for Best Actress for her role as Blanca Rodriguez, a nurse and the mother of the House of Evangelista, in the hit ballroom drama series Pose, which aired its third and final season in May

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“I’m still on cloud nine… I truly can’t believe it,” she wrote on her Instagram, along with a video of her reaction to the nomination. “I didn’t get on cam am that much cause I looked a mess!! Lord Jesus, I’m #EmmyNominated,” she added.

According to her, she believes that her nomination for the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series is a “pivotal moment.” 

“I’ve been wanting to express and feel and spread love all my life. And I’ve always wanted to spread it through my art, and I finally feel like I can do it. I finally feel like people are seeing it,” MJ in an Instagram live video.

“There’s never been a trans woman who has been nominated as a leading outstanding actress and I feel like that pushes the needle forward so much, for now, the door to be knocked down for so many people — whether they be male or trans female, gender nonconforming, LGBTQIA+, it does not matter,” she told Variety.

The 30-year-old actress said that this moment of recognition “extends and opens and elongates of what’s going to happen” in the entertainment industry for many transgender and queer people. 

MJ is the third transgender person to get an Emmy nod after Orange Is the New Black’s Laverne Cox for Supporting Actress and Razor Tounge’s Rain Valdez for Lead Actress in a Short-Form Series. 

Should MJ win at the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards, she would be the first transgender performer to win the award. 

Created by Ryan Murphy, Steven Canals, and Brad Falchuk, Pose tells the story of LGBTQ folks during the rise of New York’s ballroom scene in the 1980s amid the HIV-AIDS crisis. It first premiered in June 2018.

Pose also stars Billy Porter (American Horror Story), Evan Peters (Mare of Easttown), Kate Mara (Fantastic Four), Dominique Jackson (American Gods), Indya Moore (Queen & Slim), and Angelica Ross (Her Story). 

The 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards will be held on September 19, 2021 (September 20, 2021, Philippine time), at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California. – with reports from Paolo Alejandrino/Rappler.com

Paolo Alejandrino is a Rappler intern.

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