MJ Rodriguez on Pose, tk and tk
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MJ Rodriguez On Ending 'Pose' And Why Blanca Is Hopeful In Season 3

“‘Pose’ means a tremendous amount to me because we’ve laid down so much work.”

As the quietly determined Blanca on FX’s Pose, MJ Rodriguez anchors the ballroom series whose colorful cast of characters live through pivotal moments in LGBTQ+ history.

After being diagnosed with HIV in the series’ first episode, Blanca decides to start her own House Evangelista, becoming a mother to Damon Richards, Angel and Lil Papi and in the process, a mother to herself. As the groundbreaking series comes to a close with the airing of season three, Rodriguez spoke with NYLON about where we find Blanca and where she might go next.

“We see Blanca in a place now where things are finally looking up for her,” Rodriguez says. “She has a lot of opportunity now, and I would say even she's a bit more stable. There's still a lot, obviously, that's going on — she's the matriarch of this house, and she's really trying to keep things together; there's obviously the AIDS and HIV pandemic that's still going on.”

As the world reckons with another pandemic, the time period Pose examines — 1980s and 90s New York City — proves surprisingly prescient. And while the series has never shied from difficult topics, it’s also maintained an aura of hope that continues in season three.

“With all of that,” Rodriguez says, “there are also some new medications that obviously happened, so there's hope for a future. And I think now Blanca has hope for what can happen with her in the future, and her living and achieving the goals that she never thought she would be able to achieve, because she thought that there was a death sentence knocking on her door. So I think that what's happening to Blanca, is she's now in a place where she's much more hopeful.”

As for Rodriguez, wrapping the series is bittersweet. “[Pose] means a tremendous amount to me because we've laid down so much work,” she says. “We've laid down even so much education, and so much performance, that it now finally feels like it's come all together. I mean, yeah, I'm a little bit emotional that it's the third season and that it's ending, but I'm glad that it's ending on the highest note that we've ever expected, and that the work that we laid down will be great for anyone who is looking for a show that they need to find some kind of resilience or find some kind of hope, or find some kind of strong values that they can gain from. I think Pose definitely does that.”

Read on for Rodriguez’s NYLON-19 questionnaire, conducted ahead of the season premiere.

1. What’s your astrological sign and does it resonate with you?

I am a Capricorn all day. Let's start these off right. Moon and rising is Libra.

2. Do you believe in ghosts?

I do believe in ghosts and spirits.

3. Have you ever seen one?

I haven't seen one, but I've definitely felt energy before.

4. What’s your go-to drink order?

My favorite drink order would definitely be a mimosa.

5. Who would be the three headliners of the music festival of your dreams?

Giveon, for sure. That boy can sing. Oh, and Leon Bridges. Definitely can sing too. And I don't know if she's doing opening acts anymore, but it would be such a pleasure just to get that as a little present — it would be Doja Cat too. Because I love that girl.

6. What’s a bad habit of yours that you've been meaning to fix?

Stuttering, girl. I hate stuttering, and I do it a lot. You probably don't hear me. See I just did it right there.

7. Describe your worst date in three words.

Disrespectful, uneducated, and I want to say one other thing, but I can't say it on here. So disrespectful, uneducated, and rude. But it was literally two years before my boyfriend. And girl, he was just the worst. The worst.

8. If you could be in any music video, what would it be?

I would definitely be in one of Doja Cat's or SZA's videos.

9. What was your first concert or show?

My first concert was actually ‘NSYNC.

10. What are your memories of it?

It was amazing, because I was dancing to “Bye Bye Bye.” I knew all of the choreography to “It's Gonna Be Me.” It was so problematically amazing.

11. What was your favorite movie as a kid?

FernGully. Ooh yes, FernGully. It's literally about these fairies and everything. I could go into a whole story about it, it's an amazing movie.

12. What was your AIM name if you remember it?

I do, I actually still have it, I’m such a nerd. It’s nikkifresh17, ew! It's so cheesy.

13. What is your go-to break up song or song for when you're feeling sad?

“Normal Girl” by SZA. When I'm feeling sad, I just go there, because I'm like, "I just wish I was a normal girl."

14. What is one thing everyone should buy that is under $10?

Oh, child, clear nail polish. That's so important.

15. What is one question that you never want to be asked again?

So when it comes to my hair, I hate it when people ask, "Is that yours?" Girl, I just feel like it's so intrusive.

16. What reality show would you most like to appear on?

The Real World. And Love & Hip Hop, for sure.

18. What is your best beauty tip or trick?

24 carat gold eye patches. They’re everything.

19. What is your favorite pair of shoes that you own, and why are they your favorite?

This is a hard one. I would say right now, my favorite ones are my New Balances They're so beautiful, they're so comfortable, and they go with every single outfit I’ve got.