American actress and singer, Mj Rodriguez is known for her role as Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista in the television drama Pose. The show has the largest cast of transgender actors and showcases the life of New York City’s African-American and Latino LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming ballroom culture from the 1980s and, early 1990s.
Born in Newark, New Jersey to an African-American mother and Puerto Rican father, Mj knew since the age of seven that she wanted to become a female and an actress. At 14 years old, Rodriguez initially came out to her parents as “bisexual/gay” and became involved in the ballroom scene. Years after her transitioning process, Rodriguez had her breakthrough with a leading role in the FX series and became an important voice for the trans community that has been under-represented and treated unfairly for decades.
“I have always advocated the show’s producers to add more of the adversity we face into the show,” Rodriguez said to NBC News. “By putting it out there, people cannot just brush the oppression and violence we face under the rug or pretend that it doesn’t exist.” For the actress is a priority to let people know that they can be an ally of the transgender community. “It’s also important for black and Latino families to see what we go through, especially the parents who have ostracized or kicked us out of their homes.”
Despite the challenges, Rodriguez loves how her character can be an inspiration, and through the show, she sends a powerful message to all the community that at the end everything will get better. “Blanca went through a lot, but I loved seeing her grow up and grow into her power as a woman in the face of all this adversity,” Rodriguez said. “In the first season, she was so bruised coming into her new house, but now she is 30 years old, more established and has grown children that are doing things in their lives,” she said. “That’s because of Blanca and that fact that she is a beacon in her community and is giving them light and strength.”
Rodriguez is all about love and she keeps encouraging people to respect others and understand that everybody deserves to be treated with care. “There are a lot of African American men and men of color who are out there loving us and get ridiculed for loving us,” she said. “So, to have these storylines matters. We need to tell the world that we deserve love, too, and we’re not any different than any other woman walking this earth. This is a message the babies, especially young black trans girls, need to hear. You deserve love.”
The actress is definitely a benchmark in the industry and through her character she is making sure to leave a legacy in this world. “There is a reason why I was chosen to play Blanca and it’s bigger than just me,” she said. “I want to help change and educate people, not just in the African American and Latino community, but the world. And this is only the beginning.”