Who is Mj Rodriguez? All about the first trans woman to receive a nomination in Lead Acting category at the Emmys 2021

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On Tuesday, July 13, Mj Rodriguez made history at the Emmy Awards with her role in “Pose.” She became the first transgender woman to win the award for “Best Lead Actress.”

Rodriguez became the second person from her critically acclaimed show to win an Emmy for their role. In 2019, her “Pose” co-star Billy Porter won in the “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series” category.

The 30-year old star got her big break in 2018, playing Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista in the LGBTQ+ drama “Pose.” The famed series garnered eight nominations in Emmy Awards 2021, including outstanding drama series and lead actor.

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Who is Mj Rodriguez?

Michaela Antonia Jaé Rodriguez, born on January 7, 1991, is a Newark (New Jersey) native.

In an interview with Windy City Times, MJ mentioned that she attended Queen of Angels Catholic School. Meanwhile, in her interview with Dr. Drama, the theater star stated that she also went to NJPAC [New Jersey Performing Arts Center] at 11.

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The actress and singer is also known for her performance in the 2011 Off-Broadway drama reprise of the famed rock-musical “RENT.” She landed the role while in NJPAC at the age of 18.

MJ played a young drag queen with AIDS, Angel Dumott Schunard, who earned her the 2011 Clive Barnes Award. MJ, who was 21-years old at the time, got some mixed reception for playing Angel on Stage 1 of New World Stages in New York.

In an interview with Playbill, MJ Rodriguez also mentioned that she began transitioning to a woman in 2012 after “RENT” closed. She went on hiatus as she started her hormone replacement therapy.

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After her transition, she auditioned for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical Hamilton for the role of a cis-gendered woman, Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds. Following her audition, she found work with productions like “Runaways (in 2016).”

Furthermore, MJ Rodriguez also appeared in dramas like “Street Children” by Pia Skala-Zankel, and musicals like “Burn All Night.”

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MJ Rodriguez in Nurse Jackie. (Image via: Showtime)
MJ Rodriguez in Nurse Jackie. (Image via: Showtime)

In 2012, MJ Rodriguez made her acting debut on TV. She played a character named Lonna in Nurse Jackie. This one-time appearance was followed by others in “The Carrie Diaries (2013),” and “The Whitlock Academy (2015).”

The actress’ most notable role is of Blanca Rodriguez, in Pose. She portrays Blanca, a young trans woman with AIDS, who takes in some queer teenagers whose families outcast them.

MJ Rodriguez’s win in Emmy 2021 will prove to be a beacon of inspiration for the entire LGBTQ+ community.

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Edited by Sijo Samuel Paul


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