“Pose” Star Mj Rodriguez on Making History and Driving Change for SHAPE Magazine

Posted on August 11, 2021

For SHAPE’s September issue and their annual Women Run the World franchise in collaboration with the SeeHer movement – which aims to accurately portray women in media to raise powerful, truthful visibility – Mj Rodriguez opens up on making history as the first transgender performer to earn an Emmy nomination in a major acting category and the importance of raising her voice to change the minds of people who hate.

 

 

 

 

On advocating for empathy towards trans folks: “Being an Afro-Latina Trans woman in America is hard. I take 15 minutes alone to appreciate the life that has been given to me and to figure out how I can move the needle forward every day.” “There’s a lot of prejudice, discord, and separation around the world when it comes to trans women, let alone the LGBTQIA community. With my artistry, I want people to see that what we need to focus on is the human experience and that we are all one. We have more in common than we realize.”

On driving real change through her work: “My goal is that my artistry, whether it’s acting or music, changes the minds of people who hate or choose not to understand. I hope it helps them realize that just because I’m a woman of the trans experience, that doesn’t mean I have an agenda to harm. Instead, I want to let others know what humans are like, how some of us work, and what we have to offer. I’m going to keep striving for that. And I’m never going to stop until it’s accomplished.”

On what she tells young people who look up to her: “I never thought I’d have not only trans but cisgender youths, all types, contacting me, saying, ‘I wish I had a mom like you.’ What I say to them is to make sure they never let anyone tell them how to exist. Be themselves, live their truth, and know they’re worth it. As soon as they find confidence in themselves, they don’t have anything to worry about.”

On what it meant to play Bianca in Pose: “Being part of a historic show meant a great deal to me,” she says. “It meant that our lives, our story, was being centered on and didn’t consist of just one individual from the trans community—it was a collective. It showed that the world was changing.”

 

The September issue of Shape magazine is available for purchase on August 13.

 

[Photo Credit: Djeneba Aduayom for Shape Magazine]

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