MJ Rodriguez Talks Emmys and Pose: “I Want to Take the World By Storm”

The scene-stealing powerhouse is just getting started. 

MJ Rodriguez
Photo: Michael Parmelee/FX

MJ Rodriguez can’t help but steal the show, whether she’s appearing on-screen as Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista, the loving house mother on Pose, or strolling into a party filled with dozens of other celebs, as she did at producer Jennifer Klein’s 21st annual Day of Indulgence on Aug. 11.

Pose is nominated for a whopping six Emmys, which has Rodriguez “feeling good.”

“Next year, we're going to get even more nominations,” she says. “I know for sure. I'm speaking that into existence. It’s time for a woman like me to be seen, in the light I need to be seen in and I’m taking advantage of that now. I used to be scared. I used to be afraid to say it, but listen, I got to speak for somebody and there's a lot of us out here, but there needs to be more. I'm glad that I can be one of those women speaking for my community of all diasporas. Pose is putting it on the right platform and I want to take the world by storm.”

For her dynamic role as Rodriguez-Evangelista, Rodriguez drew inspiration from her own mother. “She's somebody who is extremely monumental in my life,” she says. “A sturdy rock. I try my best to just yank and pull from her experiences, the experience that I had with her [as well as] the mothers that are in the ballroom scene, the trans women who took in kids whose other mothers didn't fully accept them.”

“I look at Octavia St. Laurent and Pepper LaBeija ...the list goes on,” she continues. “Hector Xtravaganza...he was the father of [the House of Xtravaganza]. I looked at those people who influence me for this character and I just put them all together.”

Speaking of her mother, Rodriguez says there is one piece of advice she’s given her that has helped her overcome adversity. “She said make sure that you don't care what anyone says,” the actress went on. “Just keep being you. You have a good spirit, you’re a sweetheart, don't let anyone walk over you, but continue to be a good person, and that's what I'm trying my best to do.”

As for what she’ll wear to the Emmys, Rodriguez is mum on specifics, but says with a smile, “I've already got it. I’m on top of it.” She adds, “We've been working on it [with the designer], getting sketches. I had three sketches sent to me, which is crazy to me because I’ve never had that, but yeah, but we're getting ready for it.”

One thing is for sure, Rodriguez is ready to show us all a transformation and slay us with the custom look. “I want to feel like a princess, moving up to becoming a queen,” she says. “Last year, it was my introduction as a person coming into this world of acting in the industry of art, and I was in my little princess stages. Now the mothers have moved on and it’s time for the princess to become a queen. The Golden Globes and Emmys have been doing that by highlighting me as lead actress in a show.”

The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards will air live on Sunday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Fox

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