HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Not only are the best things happening to actress MJ Rodriguez on her hit show “Pose,” they’re happening in real life.
“I just screamed. I remember yelling at the top of my lungs, I remember going over to my mother to give her a hug, she grabbed me, she swung me around," said Rodriguez.
That was her reaction learning she was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Blanca Rodriguez on FX’s "Pose."
The show follows the lives of queer people of color in New York City in the ’80s.
But Rodriguez is making history as the first transgender performer to be Emmy-nominated in a major acting category.
“It really sets the precedent and it really does show that we can be seen as human beings and we have all types of stories that we can tell like any other human on this Earth," said Rodriguez.
In addition to her work on-screen and on-stage, she’s also a singer and recently released her debut single, “Something to Say."
While navigating the entertainment industry has been challenging, she thinks it’s changing for trans women — and her Emmy nomination validates that view.
“It shows what representation finally looks like for a trans woman, let alone trans actresses all around the world or trans actors all around the world," said Rodriguez.
But there’s still work to do.
This past year saw a decrease in the number of transgender characters on primetime TV, cable or streaming.
But "Pose" has been at the forefront of trans representation — making history for its number of transgender women of color in recurring roles, including Blanca, the character portrayed by Rodriguez.
“That’s a great representation of what trans women like myself have done in 1987, the ancestors and where we come and how far we’ve come," said Rodriguez.
Whether she wins or not, her nomination could be the next step forward for the trans community getting better representation on television.