Mj Rodriguez Earns First Emmy Nomination In Leading Category


The New York Times 14 July, 2021 - 05:07pm 21 views

On Tuesday the “Pose” star became the first trans performer to earn an Emmy nomination in a lead acting category.

Somewhere in the south of France, the wine was waiting. Four hours after the 73rd Emmy nominations were announced — and Mj Rodriguez became the first trans performer to earn a nomination in a lead acting category — she still hadn’t even sipped it.

Her cheeks had been hurting too much from smiling, she said in a phone interview. She’d been running around taking calls and hadn’t had a chance to sit down. But she might go out on the town later, she added, and look out at the water.

Rodriguez scored her nomination for her role as Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista, also a trans woman, in the FX period drama “Pose.” From France, she talked about how it felt to make history, why others should remember they can do the same and flexing her comedic muscles. These are edited excerpts from our conversation.

A totally OK time. I mean, it’s 9:30 over here, but girl, I’m gonna be up all night. I’m gonna be just on cloud nine all night. I can’t even.

I went upstairs, I grabbed my iPad, and I grabbed my phone, and I was like, OK, I’m going to record this moment, whatever it could be. If it’s a go, if it’s a no — no matter what, it’s going to be marked down as, “We went out with a bang.”

We were watching and the moment my name was announced, we all just started screaming. And my mom grabbed me, flung me completely around in joy. My godmother gave me the biggest hug. She was like, “You deserved it!” And I just remember falling in my boyfriend’s arms and crying profusely in his arms and just being so thankful. I broke down in tears. Literally right after that I got a call from Steven Canals, and he found out his news on the phone.

I would like trans women, and specifically trans women of color — especially younger girls who are trans and of color — to take away that this is more than possible. If you’re persistent, if you keep your eyes on the prize, if you never let anyone tell you otherwise, you’ll keep living and knowing that your existence is worth it, and that you have a purpose on this earth.

I’m a girl from north New Jersey. I didn’t get everything that was given to me, and I still managed to have the foundation of my mother and my family who stepped behind me to keep me pushing forward, and the love that lifted me up. So if they could do it, then I know that there are other people out there who can do it.

The happiness of my community, the way they shed love on me. All of the intersectionalities of my community, — whether it be my Black community, the Latino community or the L.G.B.T.Q.A.I. community, the community of women — I feel like that’s what brings me joy. And more important, I love waking up in the morning and just seeing life and seeing how beautiful the world is and seeing that I get to be a piece that changes it. That’s why my existence is on this earth, I’m so thankful for it.

I want to see so many more. I want to see some Latina, disabled, L.G.B.T.Q.A.I. members on the television screen. Show shows that talk about stories like that. I want to see more lesbian Latina commitments on television. I want to see more L.G.B.T.Q. Latina movies and films being distributed. There’s so much more work that can be done, even through the beauty of all of this. I feel like there’s so much more. And it’s coming.

I am a foolish, silly, crazy girl, and I’ve been wanting people to get a hold of what Michaela Jaé has to offer when it comes to her funny side. So I’m definitely flexing them. A lot of people just haven’t got a chance to see it, but they’ll be seeing it pretty soon on this show. I really cannot wait. They’re going to see a whole different versatile character.

Read full article at The New York Times

Mj Rodriguez Becomes First Trans Woman Up for Major Acting Emmy

Variety 14 July, 2021 - 09:00am

By Danielle Turchiano

The category is: making history. Mj Rodriguez has become the first transgender performer to pick up an Emmy nomination in a major acting category.

Rodriguez is nominated in the lead drama actress category for her fierce and formidable portrayal of house mother and nurse Blanca Rodriguez on FX’s ballroom culture period drama “Pose.” It is her first-ever attention from the Television Academy.

“I do believe this is a pivotal moment. 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,” Rodriguez told Variety. “A moment like this extends and opens and elongates the possibilities of what’s going to happen and I believe the Academy is definitely making it possible and their eyes are more than open. Yes, I do believe they’re going to continue, and I also feel like we’re going to keep speaking and encouraging and informing and educating people around the world. I think that’s the most important thing.”

This nomination marks a significant step for LGBTQIA-plus representation — and specifically trans representation — at the Emmys. Prior to Rodriguez, only two openly trans performers received Emmy attention: Laverne Cox was the first, picking up her first nomination in the guest drama actress category for her work as former inmate Sophia on Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” in 2014 (and later receiving three more, all in the same category, in 2017, 2019 and 2020); meanwhile, Rain Valdez of “Razor Tongue” scored a short form comedy or drama actress nom just last year.

In contrast, Jeffrey Tambor, who is a cisgender, heterosexual man, received three Emmy nominations for his performance as a transgender woman on Amazon Prime Video’s “Transparent.” (He won twice, in 2015 and 2016.)

“Michaela Jaé (Mj) Rodriguez’s Emmy nomination for outstanding lead actress in a drama series is a breakthrough for transgender women in Hollywood, and a long-overdue recognition for her groundbreaking performance over the past three seasons of ‘Pose,’” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.

“Pose” offered the Television Academy the most opportunities to celebrate LGBTQIA-plus performers out of any series, but only Rodriguez and Billy Porter received noms. Porter is back on the lead drama actor ballot for the third consecutive time for his role of Pray Tell, ballroom emcee and mentor; he won in 2019, for the show’s first season. The show was also nominated in the drama series race (this marks its second nomination there), as well as in drama writing, drama directing, contemporary costumes, contemporary hairstyling, contemporary makeup (non-prosthetic) and prosthetic makeup.

“The show’s nomination for outstanding drama series, as well as Billy Porter’s third nomination for outstanding lead actor in a drama series, mark a historic show that undoubtedly raised the bar for trans representation on television and changed the way viewers around the world understand the trans community. As over 40 leading LGBTQ organizations pointed out in our open letter about ‘Pose’ to Emmy Award voters, representation matters. Congratulations, Michaela Jaé, Billy Porter, and the entire ‘Pose’ team — the world is standing with you and applauding your talents,” said Ellis.

If Rodriguez wins in September, she will make history again as the first-ever trans performer to take home an Emmy statue.

Historic Emmy Nomination For Newark Native MJ Rodriguez

CBS New York 14 July, 2021 - 09:00am

'Pose' star Mj Rodriguez just made Emmys history. She told us what it means to her

Yahoo Entertainment 14 July, 2021 - 09:00am

"It's a big step — a huge step forward for us — and I'm very, very thankful, and I just hope that it continues," Rodriguez told The Times after learning of the nomination. "I never thought in a million years I'd be in this category with all these amazing women — shout out and congratulations to all of the nominees, amazing actresses, amazing outstanding performances; they are astounding, and I'm just glad I can be right along with them."

Rodriguez plays Blanca, the mother of the House of Evangelista, in the FX series about New York's LGBTQ ballroom scene amid the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and early ’90s. The series' third season was its last.

Speaking by phone from the South of France, the ebullient Rodriguez said: "When it happened, I just remember my mom grabbing me and throwing me around and my godmother gave me a hug and I fell into my boyfriend's arms and started crying. My mom twirled me so hard I was almost off the ground."

When asked to unpack all the layers of the nomination — the first in her career, for a show she loved that is now over, and as the first trans woman to get a lead nod — she said that apart from being a trans woman, "Having all these intersectionalities slammed on top of being an African-American woman, and being Latina, and being a person who represents for females in general and identifies as a woman ... I'm just glad I can represent for each and every last one of those communities. I have tried my best to be a great light for that, and I'm glad that the industry is seeing that.

"With the show coming to an end, it's bittersweet, but what a beautiful way to go out. Nine nominations."

In a statement, GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis called Rodriguez' nomination "a breakthrough for transgender women in Hollywood, and a long-overdue recognition for her groundbreaking performance over the past three seasons of 'Pose.' " Ellis said the show "undoubtedly raised the bar for trans representation on television and changed the way viewers around the world understand the trans community."

"Pose" racked up nine Emmy nominations in all, including its second for best drama series and the third for 2019 winner Porter. It also received nods for writing, directing, costumes, hairstyling, makeup and prosthetic makeup. Additionally, "Pose: Identity, Family, Community" earned a nod for short form nonfiction or reality series.

Next up for Rodriguez: A comedy series with Maya Rudolph. She said her character, Molly, is "the complete opposite of Blanca — she's dryly funny. I've been wanting to flex my comic muscles for a minute. It's time to make some people happy and laugh."

After being nominated for "Pose," Rodriguez told The Times, "I can only thank the academy for really, really seeing us. I feel now that the door has been pushed wide open for us and every last person, especially trans women, trans women of color, to really show up and show out and show that we deserve to be in these spaces — not just because we're trans or because we're women or people of color, but because we're human and we have something to offer when it comes to our craft.

"That I get to be with these strong female actresses — that's a big, big monument. That speaks volumes. It's showing we are who are, and it feels so good. It feels so darn good!"

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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Who is MJ Rodriguez's Partner

The US Sun 13 July, 2021 - 07:28pm

News Corp is a network of leading companies in the worlds of diversified media, news, education, and information services.

The actress made history when she became the first transgender woman up for an Emmy nomination.

In 2020, MJ Rodriguez introduced the world to her boyfriend, Stephen in a Valentine’s Day message on Instagram.

She wrote: “They’ll try to hold you back, they will say your wrong, but they will NEVER UNDERSTAND, the journey that your on. Baby I wouldn’t choose it any other way. I love you.

“I feel like I can be my truest self when I am around you. You have shown me what love truly looks like when it’s balanced and easy. I’m so proud to call you my Valentine but most importantly my boyfriend.

“You are always rooting me on, you always make sure my physical, my spiritual and my mental state is okay. I’m so appreciative of you. #happyvalentinesday I LOVE YOU Stephen ??❤️”

Rodriguez, whose full name is Michaela Antonia Jaé Rodriguez, was born on January 7, 1991, in Newark, New Jersey. 

She is an American actress and singer and was cast in the theater production of Rent as Angel Dumott Schunard, for which she won the Clive Barnes Award for her performance.

After her Rent performance, Rodriguez took a break from performing to transition. 

Rodriguez got back to work on stage from 2012 to 2016 and appeared in some small television roles, including Nurse Jackie, The Carrie Diaries, and Luke Cage.

In 2017, she landed the lead role in the television series Pose.

This made her part of the largest cast of transgender actresses to be starring in a scripted series.

In 2021, she was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her performance in the last season of Pose, making her the first transgender woman to earn an Emmy Award nomination in a major acting category. 

During her Off-Broadway revival of Rent in 2011, Rodriguez was “just living onstage,” according to Playbill.com.

“It wasn’t like being a character. I was in character, of course, but I was also living me and telling my story through Angel,” Rodriguez continued.

When Angel was all dressed up in women’s clothing with glamorous hair and makeup and her friends addressed her as “her '' was when Angel felt most herself.

“When that gate got lifted up,” she says, “and everyone saw me as Angel dressed up, I was like, ‘This is me. Now I’m about to serve y’all, so get ready! It’s going to be a ride!’”

It was at this time Rodriguez started to look into the transition process more as she says, “It was me that was holding myself back because I felt like I had to fit into this mold of what people want to see.”

The Emmys Have Gone Mildly Wild

Vulture 13 July, 2021 - 03:03pm

But where categories aren’t clogged with the umpteenth Handmaid’s Tale or Crown nomination, they can occasionally reach for something surprising, new, or out of left field. (Did you ever think that Cobra Kai, late of YouTube, now on Netflix, would be an Emmy-nominated comedy?) This year, the tension between the TV Academy’s tendency to check off boxes on Emmy-ish shows and its attempts to capture the immense range of what transpired on TV over the past year was more palpable than ever. In some categories, things are pretty tame. In others, the nominees feel worlds apart. To get a sense of where the Emmys stuck to their standard ways and where they went wild, we catalogued some of the key categories in terms of the most voter chaos on display.

Mj Rodriguez

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