As the show takes its final bow, producer, writer, and director Janet Mock and stars Mj Rodriguez and Indya Moore reflect on how the groundbreaking series began—and then changed everything for Harper’s Bazaar magazine.
Janet Mock on how far Pose has come: “Ladies, I keep on saying this mantra to myself in my head: ‘I feel like I can do almost anything in the world after shooting this show for six months during a pandemic.’ I’m really proud of our producers, the network, and the studio for their faith in us—the faith in our stories, that they were worthy of investing millions of dollars in, on top of what it already costs to do this show, to bring us back. Because our stories matter and are important, and should be onscreen.”
Mj Rodriguez on what drew her to Pose and why she wanted the role of Blanca: “I was at a crossroads in my career. I didn’t know if I wanted to keep pursuing acting because I had been receiving so many ‘no’s.’ Then two opportunities came to me. One was my first Broadway show; then I saw this breakdown for Pose in Backstage magazine. I saw the description of Blanca and what she represented, and I knew, I want this role. And then I remember sharing a moment with Dominique in the audition room, and I thought: ‘This feels good. Not only is the show about the strong Black trans women in our lives that have never gotten their own story, it’s also with people that I know.’ But I had my reservations personally, as far as my transness—how the world was going to receive me, or going to receive our stories collectively. But I was proven wrong, honey. We turnt it.”
Indya Moore on how important it was to have Mock in a leadership position on the show: “When I saw Janet was coming on as a writer and as a producer, I knew that we were going to be safe. So thank you for protecting me and for protecting all of us through all these weird moments in Hollywood, where we were being processed and interpreted through lenses that don’t have the capacity to hold all that we are.”
Rodriguez on why she was ‘more than ready’ to put her transness on display for Pose: “I had let the world know about my transness before, but it was on a smaller scale. But being a part of something like this? I asked myself: “Are you willing to put yourself out on a limb and also be ready for the possible backlash? Because you are not only a trans woman, but also a Latina and African American woman. Are you truly ready?” So I was nervous but also diligent in knowing my message and purpose when it came to Pose, which was to show who we are and what we’ve done, not only from 1987 through 1994 [when the show is set] but what we’re capable of now and in the future. And the fact that I got to work with you women and stand in solidarity at these events that people never thought they would see us at, to stand in our power, to stand in knowing who we are and affirming our positions? I was ready. More than ready.”
Moore on how playing Angel helped her comes to terms with her celebrity: “I’ve always been uncomfortable with referring to myself as a ‘star.’ I’ve never allowed myself to because, I don’t know, I felt like it just wouldn’t be healthy. But when I saw myself on a TV screen as Angel, it was so hard not to feel like, ‘Oh, my God, I’m a star.’”
Mock on the legacy of Pose and why she views the show as a love letter to ‘people who made magic out of nothing’: “Writing and directing for you ladies has been the greatest gift of my life. I don’t know if I’m going to have a more creatively fulfilled experience than working on Pose with you all. It’s the legacy of our foremothers who, when no one offered them anything, made their own s**t up and showed up and showed out, and made their dreams come true with no societal acceptance or any kind of resources. To me, Pose is a love letter to those women and to those people who made magic out of nothing.”
[Photo Credit: John Edmonds/Harper’s Bazaar Magazine]