MJ Rodriguez is a ballroom star in her debut role on the new Ryan Murphy show, Pose
Galore Cover Girl, MJ Rodriguez, is just a New Jersey girl with a big dream – and she’s achieved that dream big time by starring in Ryan Murphy’s (American Horror Story, Glee, and so much more) new hit show, Pose.
Pose officially is the first scripted show with the largest transgender cast, where the actors are series regulars – let’s celebrate that! And Pose being MJ’s big breakout role, it is a huge deal. The show’s first season is
MJ has wanted to act since she was 7 years old, and first got involved in the ballroom scene at age 14. MJ has attended prestigious performing arts schools and programs, and has won multiple awards – all a testament to her talent and her destiny to end up on a hit show like Pose.
And don’t forget the fact that Pose is a major win for the LGBTQ and more specifically, trans, communities, and MJ and her cast mates is now a role model for trans youth watching the show at home. MJ’s own family was very supportive of her transition, but all trans youth are not so lucky. The exposure that the trans community receives from a show like Pose is obviously very important. Those starring in the show almost always mention that it’s an honor.
We sat down with our newest Cover Gal, MJ, to discuss being on the show, her character, Blanca, the ballroom scene, and her must-have beauty items right now. Check out the exclusive interview and shoot below!
Tell us about the casting process for Pose. How did your role as Blanca in the show come about?
Pose came about in many ways, but mostly through word of mouth. I heard about the casting process through so many colleagues and friends. After hearing from my peers, I took it upon myself to check out the breakdowns. When I read them, I resonated with Blanca completely.
I audition on camera, and then hadn’t heard anything for about 2 weeks. I made the assumption that I hadn’t received the part and told myself, “Girl, at least they saw you! You were seen, and that’s enough.” Then, a couple of days later, I received a call from Mr. Murphy, himself. That call, of course, changed my life forever.
What characteristics in your character, Blanca, do you see in yourself?
Blanca and I share her honesty, her companionship, and her ability to be selfless.
What makes a good mother? How did your family react to your transition? What advice would you give young boys and girls on transitioning?
For starters, unfortunately parenting doesn’t come with a handbook. But, I think what makes a great parent, specifically a mother, is the ability to love unconditionally. When I expressed at a very young age that I was different, my mother never challenged it. Instead, she let me express myself exactly how I wanted to.
When I came to her and told her I was trans later down the line, she was very understanding. The advice I would give to youth on transitioning is to constantly dare to be the true you. Once you do that, you begin to influence others to be as authentic as they can be.
What can we expect for Pose next season? Any secrets you can tell us?
To be quite honest, I don’t have all the answers but I THINK we can expect deeper narratives and heavier subject topics when is come to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
What is your current beauty obsession?
My beauty obsession is my hair. I love trying and rocking different hair styles. I feel every unique look accentuates specific aspects of me and I love that. I love changing – I like to think of myself as a chameleon.
One beauty item you take with you everywhere.
I always take a good gloss! It’s very important to have my lips moisturized and glistening.
How has fashion helped shape and change your life?
I was always a girl who was influenced by fashion, so to now have it as one of the leading forces in my life is a dream that I never thought would come true. I finally get to wear designers I’ve dreamed of – one of them being Jeremy Scott. I’ve been following him since was 19, and since then it’s been a complete 360 (in the best way possible).
Explain the ballroom scene to some of our readers who may not know what it’s all about!
The ballroom scene it’s a place where the unwanted become the wanted. It’s a place where you can live out your wildest fantasies and not be judged for it. Most importantly, it’s a place for comfort when it comes to the LGBT community of color.
What designer are you really into at the moment?
The designer that I am completely into right now is obviously Jeremy Scott! His style and designs have power and a message. He’s a powerhouse.
Moschino x H&M was such a diverse range of models. It’s refreshing to see a high-end designer be so inclusive, especially for an affordable collection that many can afford. You yourself slayed in this campaign! How did this collab come about?
Jeremy has this contagiousness about him. I feel like I kind of drew to him like a moth to a light. He mention to me something that would be dynamic and change the narrative a bit and that was Moschino x H&M. It was a perfect fit.
Tell us more about your music. Can we expect an album soon?
When it comes to my music, I’ve been writing like crazy, but no album expectations yet. I’m just trying to get back into the rhythm of writing music again and diving deeper into my artistry so that it can be the type of music that has the impact of a lifetime.
Biggest crush at the moment?
My biggest crush right now has to be Miles Richie. It’s very hard for me to look at him while we are in the same room, I kinda turn red and get embarrassed so I leave to save myself the humiliation.
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
The advice I would give my 16-year-old self would be to always be daring, continue to be a rebel, continue to be someone who fights for the rights of all people, and last but not least, to constantly be yourself no matter what others say.
The New Year is fast approaching. What is next for MJ in 2019?
The second season has been confirmed, and it is a complete blessing, so I’m looking forward to that. Also, hopefully there are some opportunities for film work. I would love to be a part of an action film, maybe even be a leading woman in a romantic film. I’m keeping myself open to all options when it comes to acting/singing.
Talent: MJ Rodriguez
Photographer: Vincenzo Dimino
Stylist: Jenna DeMaio
Hair: Tym Wallace
Makeup: Jerami Robins
Nail Artist: Ria Lopez
Production: JT Perez