‘Pose’ star, MJ Rodriguez, makes history with her nomination at the Emmy Awards

‘Pose’ star, MJ Rodriguez, makes history with her nomination at the Emmy Awards

MJ Rodriguez, a.k.a. the Mother Blanca, is finally getting her flowers at the Emmy Awards.

The Pose actress, who has starred as the fierce and unapologetically ambitious and caring Blanca Evangelista, made Emmy Awards history by becoming the first transgender nominee for the best actress category on Tuesday, opening the doors for more celebration of the transgender community and artists in the Emmy space. The singer-actress joins fellow nominees Uzo Aduba, Emma Corrin, Olivia Colman, Elizabeth Moss and Jurnee Smollett for the best actress race.

Rodriguez is the third openly transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy in the award’s history. She comes after multi-hyphenate actress and filmmaker Rain Valdez, who received an outstanding actress in a short form comedy or drama series nom for Razor Tongue in 2020, and Laverne Cox who in 2014 made Emmy’s History as the first ever nominated openly transgender actor for her work as Sophia Burset in Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black.

When Emmy nomination voting commenced in June, GLAAD and a number of LGBTQ+ organizations urged voters to recognize the Pose cast upon the series’ final season. Despite being a drama that closely chronicles the lives the transgender women, the Television Academy has only recognized Billy Porter, who is a cis-gendered man in his portrayal of Pray Tell.  Porter, who received nominations both in 2019 and 2020, made history in 2019 as the first openly gay Black man to take home the best actor in a drama award.

MJ Rodriguez as Blanca with Billy Porter’s Pray Tell in Pose

Upon Rodriguez’s historic nom, GLAAD celebrated the actress with the following statement: “Michaela Jaé (MJ) Rodriguez’s Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series is a breakthrough for transgender women in Hollywood, and a long-overdue recognition for her groundbreaking performance over the past three seasons of POSE.”

Though Rodriguez’s Tuesday nomination adds to the Emmy’s limited history of recognizing transgender talent and stories, it certainly sets a new, welcome standard to who can be a best actress nominee (or winner) for years to come.

The 73rd annual Primetime Emmy Awards will air on CBS Sunday, September 19. Cedric the Entertainer will serve as host to a vaccinated live audience. For a complete list of the Emmy nominations, click HERE.

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