Pose star Mj Rodriguez has made history after being nominated for Outstanding Leading Actress in a Drama Series at the 2021 Emmys.
Rodriguez, who was critically acclaimed for her performance as Blanca Evangelista, is the first transgender person to be nominated for a lead acting role.
The landmark FX series followed New York City’s African-American and Latino LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming drag ball culture scene between the ’80s and late ’90s. It wrapped its third and final season earlier this year.
Rodriguez will face stiff competition in the Lead Actress category, competing alongside The Crown‘s Olivia Colman and Emma Corrin, Uzo Aduba (In Treatment), Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale), and Jurnee Smollett (Lovecraft Country).
Pose creator Steven Canals responded to the news on Twitter, writing, “Holy shit!!! @MjRodriguez7 just made HISTORY as the first Trans actress to ever be nominated for Best Actress in a Drama Series.”
— Steven Canals (@StevenCanals) July 13, 2021
Emmy Awards voters have been criticized in previous years for overlooking Rodriguez’s performance in Pose, as well as most of the show’s other stars.
Billy Porter, who portrayed Pray Tell in the series, made history at the 2019 Emmys after winning Lead Actor in a Drama, becoming the first gay Black man to do so. He won again in 2020, and is nominated in the same category this year.
Rodriguez told PinkNews earlier this year that she hoped the Emmys would recognize her work on Pose‘s final season.
“I don’t know how it works, but I’m speaking it into the universe that one day it’ll happen,” she said.
“And if it happens this time around it’s a blessing, that means we’ve made history. But if not, that means there’s much more of a fight and we got still got more work to do.”
In addition to Rodriguez and Porter, Pose received seven other nominations at the 2021 Emmys, including Outstanding Drama Series.
LGBTQ advocacy organization GLAAD responded to Rodriguez’s historic nomination, calling it “a breakthrough for transgender women in Hollywood, and a long-overdue recognition for her groundbreaking performance over the past three seasons of POSE.”
“Additionally, the show’s nomination for Outstanding Drama Series, as well as Billy Porter’s third nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, mark a historic show that undoubtedly raised the bar for trans representation on television and changed the way viewers around the world understand the trans community,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement.
“As over 40 leading LGBTQ organizations pointed out in our open letter about POSE to Emmy Award voters, representation matters. Congratulations, Michaela Jaé [Mj], Billy Porter, and the entire POSE team — the world is standing with you and applauding your talents.”
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