This Sunday, MJ Rodriguez will be in attendance at the Emmys, where she’s nominated as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. She is the first trans actress to have achieved this groundbreaking milestone and she doesn’t take this responsibility lightly.
In an interview with Elle Magazine, MJ discussed her career in Hollywood and the many years it took for the world to be ready to celebrate trans actors and value them for their work. MJ knows that she’s making history and feels the weight of it. “The feeling is euphoric, elating, and mind-boggling too. Because 10 years before ‘Pose’ was even a thought, I was working really hard to really make my stance in the industry and fight for a safe place, not only for myself, but for those coming behind me, and to think that a moment like this can happen, it doesn’t go unnoticed. It’s surreal, girl. I dreamed it, I thought it, but I never thought it would happen,” she said.
MJ also mentioned the important trans women who’ve made it possible to be where she is today. When asked about future opportunities for trans actors, MJ said that there are more opportunities now than they’ve ever been for trans women. “With actresses like Alexandra Grey and Laverne Cox and models like Leyna Bloom, the work that ‘Pose’ laid down, and getting a nomination like this, I feel like it’s finally opening up the door,” she said.
MJ also discussed her new single, which was released in June of this year, called “Something To Say.” “[The song] speaks about how humans on this Earth have still yet to realize how much we have in common with each other and how we need to fight together as a unit to really understand that we can push the needle forward if we do it together. “
MJ’s career is in a bright place. Her upcoming projects include Lin Manuel Miranda’s “Tick, Tick… Boom!” a musical that will premiere on Netflix. She’s also involved in the series “Loot,” alongside Maya Rudolph, where she’ll showcase her comedic side, something she’s very excited about.
While MJ is happy about the moment she’s in, she can’t wait for a future where trans actors cast in leading roles are normalized. “I do believe at some point, and I pray, that it won‘t be the headline of everything,” she told People Magazine. “Instead it will just be the actress who just so happens to be trans.”