Pose star Michaela Jaé Rodriguez has become the first transgender actor in history to receive a Golden Globe, and in an impromptu acceptance speech on social media, she reflected on the importance of representation.
There may have been no red carpet, no celebrity appearances and no glitzy telecast, but this year’s stripped-back Golden Globes still had plenty of talking points. Enter Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, who made history on Sunday night as the first transgender actor to receive a Golden Globe.
She received the award for best actress in a TV drama for her performance as Blanca in the final season of Pose, the groundbreaking FX series centred around New York City’s competitive ballroom scene of the late 80s and early 90s.
Although the winners were announced during a private event and the results shared on Twitter, Rodriguez didn’t let the lack of ceremony dampen her celebrations. In an Instagram post, the actor celebrated the historic win with a touching message about representation.
“This is the door that is going to open the door for many more young talented individuals,” she wrote alongside a caption of the award announcement.
“They will see that it is more than possible. They will see that a young Black Latina girl from Newark New Jersey who had a dream, to change the minds others would WITH LOVE. LOVE WINS.”
The actor went on to reflect on the wider meaning of her historic win with a note about the importance of representation.
“To my young LGBTQAI babies WE ARE HERE the door is now open now reach the stars!!!!!,” she added.
Rodriguez also made an impromptu acceptance speech on her Instagram live.
“This is for the LGBTQAI, Black, Latina, Asian [communities], the many multi-beautiful colours of the rainbow,” she declared.
“This is not just for me, this is for y’all. This is the door that opens for y’all.”
The actor went on to praise fellow nominees Uzo Aduba, Jennifer Aniston, Christine Baranski and Elisabeth Moss.
“To the nominees we are Queens. I’m so happy to share space with you! Each and every last one of you women are phenomenal.”
Rodriguez, who has played Blanca in all three seasons of Pose, has undoubtedly boosted the visibility of trans and gender non-binary identities on our screens during her run on the show. Her achievement follows in the footsteps of Pose director and executive producer Janet Mock, who in 2019 signed a three year multi-million dollar deal with Netflix, making her the first transgender woman to land an overall deal with a major content company.
Rodriguez’s peers also shared their excitement for the actor’s incredible win. Pose co-star Angelica Love Ross congratulated the actor on Twitter, as did series co-creator Steven Canals.
“Shouting congratulations to the incomparable @mjrodriguez7!” Ross wrote on Instagram. “Since season one you have been leading our family our cast with such heart and skill. Let’s celebrate!”
Pioneering actor and LGBTQ+ activist Laverne Cox also posted a moving message of support.
“I am so incredibly PROUD tonight to celebrate my sister @mjrodriguez7 who made history tonight as the first trans actress to win at the #GoldenGlobes for her iconic work on @poseonfx,” she wrote on Instagram.
“You are the dream realised my beautiful sister. You are overflowing with talent the world has yet to see the full breath of. Your work ethic and dedication to the craft is exemplary. Everyone out there who now has been inspired to dream the dream because of Michaela Jae please know that this is the result of years of struggle, rejection, hard work, perseverance, taking pain and making it into art and an abundance of natural talent that has been carefully cultivated and nurtured.
“Girl you are my sister but I feel like a proud mama tonight. Bask in it. Be fully present in this moment if you can. I love you so much!!!! Her birthday was Friday. What a birthday present, a history making Golden Globe Award!!!” she added.
In the wake of controversies about diversity in previous years, there were several other notable wins at this year’s ceremony. Kate Winslet was named best actress in a limited series for the crime drama Mare Of Easttown, Ariana DeBose won best supporting actress for Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story, and Jane Campion became the third woman to win best director for her work on the acclaimed Netflix drama The Power Of The Dog.