Actress Mj Rodriguez on Tuesday expressed her appreciation after making history as the first openly transgender Emmy Award nominee for outstanding lead actress in a drama series, explaining she “felt seen” and “more accepted than I have felt in a long time.”
In an interview with The Associated Press, the star of FX’s “Pose,” which recently ended its third and final season, said that the moment she heard her name announced as a nominee, “I just screamed and I broke.”
“And my mom grabbed me. She kind of like flung me around,” she continued. “I gave her a hug. She swung me around a little bit.”
“And I just remember falling into my boyfriend’s arms and just crying. Tears of joy, tears of happiness,” the actress said.
“I felt represented and I felt seen,” Rodriguez explained. “And ... more accepted than I have felt in a long time.”
“I felt like my colleagues now see me, my acting colleagues see me, and the people who are surrounded by the arts see me, and how much I want to give the world the love to my craft and my art,” she added.
The show, which centers around the drag ballroom culture of the 1980s and 1990s, also received an Emmy nomination Tuesday for best drama series.
Fellow “Pose” star Billy Porter was also nominated for outstanding lead actor in a drama series, a title which he previously won for his role on the show in 2019, making him the first openly gay Black man to win the award.
Other actors and LGBT rights activists praised Rodriguez’s nomination on Tuesday, including GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis, who said the Emmy nod was “a breakthrough for transgender women in Hollywood, and a long-overdue recognition for her groundbreaking performance over the past three seasons of POSE.”
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.https://t.co/pKYgO7NizQ— Sarah Kate Ellis (@sarahkateellis) July 13, 2021
In a statement shared with Variety magazine, Porter said, “Mj Rodriguez has been carrying this show on her shoulders like Jesus on the road to Damascus since Season 1. So it’s about time.”
“I’m really thrilled that the children have realized what she brings. There would be no ‘Pose’ if there was no Mj Rodriguez,” the actor added.
Porter went on to say, “We are in the middle of progress on all fronts, and with progress comes pushback, with progress comes opposition.”
“I would like to remain focused on the fact that this is an example of how things can change,” he continued. “Things have changed, are changing and need to continue to change as we move forward. The more diversity is empowered through the work, the more diversity there will be.”