Not long after landing a best actress Emmy nomination for Pose, a history-making first for a transgender performer, series star Mj Rodriguez, 30, dropped the nickname in favor of going by her full name, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez.
“People have called me Mj ever since I was a child because I got it from Spider-Man, but at this point in my life, becoming a grown woman, I need people to see the person that is behind Mj. I want them to know that there’s more to me than just the characters I play,” she says, referencing her Pose character Blanca and the upcoming Apple TV+ comedy series on which she’ll star opposite Maya Rudolph.
“That was why I am now going by Michaela Jaé. I want people to see who I truly am.”
Rodriguez, who next stars in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s tick, tick … BOOM!, was recently named Advocate’s Person of the Year. She posed for the mag’s cover and is also featured on the cover of the new issue of Latina. She added to THR that she hopes to telegraph the type of performer she is through acting work as well as with the forthcoming release of a music EP following the recent debut of her single, “Say Something.” She added: “It’s time to get to know me as an artist.”
A version of this story first appeared in the Nov. 17 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.