Mj Rodriguez (born Michaela Antonia Jaé Rodriguez) is an actress and singer who rose to attention after playing Angel Dumott Schunard in a theater production of Rent. Her performance also earned her the 2011 Clive Barnes Award.
She now boasts an impressive acting resume, with roles in films and television shows such as Netflix’s Luke Cage, The Big Take, and FX’s Pose.
Rodriguez’s path to recognition and critical praise, however, was not easy. The actor, who was born a man, had to struggle for the right to embrace the change and move forward on her own.
Appreciates Her Pre-Transition Period
In an interview with the New York Post in August 2021, she spoke candidly about her transition and how she saw old films.
The Newark native opened up about her early experiences of growing up in her hometown, saying she had her fair share of ups and downs because she was a “trans experience” lady.
Rodriguez, who underwent a complete gender transformation in the mid-2010s, later confessed that she enjoyed seeing her old films before her transition.
She went on to add that her prior appearance, lifestyle, and employment did not make her uncomfortable or prevent her from going forward in life.
The 30-year-old also stated that she was content with where she was in life and how smoothly her music was guiding her on a pleasant path.
Rodriguez began acting at the age of seven, the same year she began to wish she was feminine. She told her parents she was “bi/gay” when she was 14 years old.
But it wasn’t until 2012 that she made the decision to totally shift her gender. In 2016, she began hormone replacement medication, which she explained was the appropriate decision in an interview with Playbill magazine.
She stopped playing male roles after the transition and went on the lookout for female ones. She has had the chance to play female characters in films and television shows.
Nomination for Emmy Awards
In 2021, she became the first transgender woman to be nominated for an Emmy Award in a major acting category.
For her role as Blanca Evangelista in the third and final season of Pose, she was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
“It’s strange and liberating at the same time. I’ve never felt more liberated in my life, for two reasons: one, it’s never occurred before, and two, it’s a first “she revealed to Deadline.
Evangelista is a trans woman who, after learning she has HIV, decides to pursue her ambitions.
She was cast in the series alongside four other transgender actresses in lead roles in 2017 – a first in television history.