9 months after making Hollywood historical past, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez is able to smash further boundaries in movie, tv and music.
This summer season, Rodriguez adopted up her breakout position on “Pose” by becoming a member of Maya Rudolph’s Apple TV+ comedy “Loot.” She additionally returned to the recording studio to place the ending touches on her debut EP, a hybrid pop and R&B confection that’s aimed squarely on the dance ground and is slated for launch subsequent yr.
Rodriguez’s portrayal of home mom Blanca Evangelista on “Pose” received her vital acclaim, and in January she grew to become the primary transgender particular person to win a Golden Globe for that efficiency.
The New Jersey native, who’s Afro Latina, has been an outspoken LGBTQ rights advocate at some stage in her profession. The worldwide fame that “Pose” introduced, nonetheless, has inspired her to amplify her philanthropic efforts. This fall, she has partnered with Citi and Mastercard to advertise the “Chosen Name” campaign, granting account holders the power to make use of their chosen identify on credit score and debit playing cards.
First launched in 2020, this system has been hailed as a major step forward for transgender, gender-nonconforming and nonbinary individuals, whose authorized identify might not align with their true identify on different paperwork. Previous to 2021, the function was solely accessible to those that underwent a authorized identify change.
In honor of the marketing campaign, HuffPost spoke with Rodriguez about her newest initiatives, the long-lasting Broadway position she’d wish to play and her hopes for the way forward for transgender illustration in Hollywood.
Congratulations once more in your history-making Golden Globe win for “Pose.” Now that it’s been 9 months, how do you are feeling about that achievement in hindsight?
I didn’t actually rejoice that a lot at first as a result of I didn’t know tips on how to. However now I’m celebrating and I’m having fun with [that success]. I like seeing the timeline, the steps I took to get there. My friends have skilled it, they usually’re telling me: “Take pleasure in it, woman, as a result of it’s fleeting. It passes. Take pleasure in it proper now.” And that’s what I’m doing.
You’re at present starring as Sofia Salinas on “Loot” with Maya Rudolph. What drew you to that challenge?
One of many causes I selected Sofia Salinas ― nicely, she selected me really ― is that she was completely completely different than Blanca Evangelista. She is that this starchy, very stiff, very straight-to-the-point lady. I’m nothing like her, and that’s what made me drawn to her extra.
There’s a aspect to her that lots of people don’t see. They see the enterprise aspect of her, however they don’t get to see the non-public aspect of her and why she chooses to be that approach. And I hope that the world will get to see that aspect of her [in Season 2, confirmed in July], as a result of she’s obtained some loopy relationships.
As a public determine, you possibly can select to assist any variety of campaigns and initiatives. Why is Citi and Mastercard’s “Chosen Identify” effort vital to you?
They’re the primary, actually. They made it obtainable as a result of they know the way necessary that is to the LGBTQIA neighborhood in relation to identification. Your identify is so necessary to you. All people is aware of that. Individuals need to be addressed accurately. It’s a common factor. I attempt to align myself with individuals, with organizations that need to make change occur. And that is one in all them.
I believe it is going to instill confidence in younger transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals. That’s the principle factor. It offers them house to really feel like they’ll stroll on the planet and never have to fret about any type of suggestions after they go and alter their identify.
I do have moments once I’m down, and I really feel every part that’s occurring is unlucky. And I’m like: “OK, what do I do?” However greater than that, I’m like: “How do I repair it? Who do I align myself with so we will collectively transfer the needle ahead as a gaggle?”
Your “Pose” co-star Angelica Ross is currently starring in “Chicago” on Broadway. You latterly appeared in a Los Angeles manufacturing of “Little Shop of Horrors” and the Netflix film musical “Tick, Tick… Boom!” Any likelihood we’ll see you returning to the stage quickly?
Oh, yeah. I even have my arms in a few issues proper now. I see myself being again there perhaps two or three years down the road. … I need to play Glinda in “Depraved.” I need to be a foolish, witty character who’s just a little ditzy. Additionally, she’s the comedian aid of the present, so I really feel like it might match completely.
As a performer, what are another realms you’d wish to discover shifting ahead?
I’d like to play a villain — I’m speaking a sickening villain, like Maleficent. That’s the following factor I’d love to do. It sounds actually difficult, and I need to take it on. Give it to me!
What do you say to younger LGBTQ individuals who look to you as a task mannequin?
Properly, I like on them, for one. I all the time inform them to remain rooted of their youth, make certain they keep joyful and instill themselves with happiness. And extra importantly, don’t let anybody deter them from who they’re. Don’t let anybody cease them from their development. There’s nobody who determines the way you’re purported to stroll or navigate by means of this world. Nobody.
What do you see as the following necessary step when it comes to illustration of transgender girls of colour on the mainstream degree?
We have to see extra main trans girls, and we want extra trans girls centered in tales. It doesn’t must be a trans-specific story, however only a story everyone can relate to.
I believe there simply must be extra of us in these areas ― extra producers, extra administrators, extra actors simply to be seen. If we shared house with these friends, then we should always a minimum of have a seat on the desk.
I do imagine change is going on, watching the Emmys this yr and seeing fantastic girls of colour like Zendaya, Quinta Brunson and Sheryl Lee Ralph win. It goes to point out that there’s some change occurring, and hopefully that may [extend] to transgender girls of colour too.
This interview has been flippantly edited and condensed for readability and size.