TV & Movies

Mj Rodriguez Makes Emmy History As First Trans Nominee In Best Actress Category

Being on Pose is one of her “proudest moments,” Rodriguez told Bustle in June.

Mj Rodriguez, who played Blanca on 'Pose,' was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series during the July 13 Emmy nominations livestream. Photo via Getty Images
Getty Images

Over the course of its three-season run, Pose has been a favorite of fans and critics alike — and now, one of its most beloved stars is making history. Mj Rodriguez, who played Blanca on the FX series about New York ballroom culture, was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series during the July 13 Emmy nominations livestream.

The game-changing moment is the first time a trans performer has been nominated in the Lead Actress category — or in either major acting category, for that matter — and only the third time an openly transgender performer has been nominated for any Emmy category. By that measure, Rodriguez follows in the footsteps of Laverne Cox and Rain Valdez, who have been nominated in the Guest Actress and Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series categories, respectively.

As part of Bustle’s Pride Yearbook in June, Rodriguez opened up about how Pose changed her life. “Not only was I centered, but I got to be at the forefront of change,” she said. “Every single individual on that show was a first. And it just feels good to be a first. I’m appreciative of that. I want the world to see people who are a part of the LGBTQAI community that are not just stereotypes.”

Handout/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

In addition to Rodriguez’s historic nomination, the star’s fellow Pose collaborators also enjoyed awards attention — the show was nominated in the Outstanding Drama Series category, and co-star Billy Porter was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.

As Pose fans eagerly await the Emmys on Sept. 19, Rodriguez is looking ahead even further. “Sixteen years from now ... I still see myself fulfilling,” she told Bustle. “I love music. It’s my passion. I see myself doing passion projects. I see, at that time, me being in a more static place. I’ll be at an age where I’m a bit wiser. I’ll have more space to relax. Well, I’m not the kind of girl who relaxes, so I don’t know what that means. But I see myself 16 years down the line still going, still keeping the fight going, still pushing the wheel of change and still doing it through my art, especially through music.”