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Mj Rodriguez on How She's Feeling & Her Mirror Pep Talks | Feel Better

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– I always tell myself that I'm special I tell myself that I have a lot to give and a lot to offer

If this is too much to say, but I'll stand in the mirror completely naked and I just look at myself and I take in everything about me and I say, "You're beautiful" It doesn't matter what any one says whether they say I've gained this, or I need to change that or you should do this I always look at myself in the mirror and say, "Girl, you are just fine the way you are" The moment I truly realized I was a star, it didn't even hit me first season when I saw my picture on the billboards 'Cause I was just like, "Oh, this is an ensemble show, "we're all doing this together," which was beautiful

And, it is an ensemble show but second season, I felt solidified as a leading actress And I saw that through the pictures that were posted all over Instagram and on billboards in New York City and on billboards in LA And I was like, "Oh my God, Whoa! "This is like happening, I'm actually being taken serious, "I'm a lead on the show "Like, you're doing the damn thing! "Shoot, you actually making it happen like, "you're leading not only a show "but you're also leading people "and you're teaching them through your art

" And I also feel there's a lot more of responsibility that's on my shoulders which, I live for so it doesn't matter to me You know, I love speaking, I love making sure people are uplifted, I like to be a little bit of a motivational speaker And a lot just changed for me and I think it's changed for the better One, I've received so many supporters, supporters that I've always dreamed of having Regina King came up to me and she was like, "Girl, I like your show

" And I was like, "Whoa!" Baby, that is never, you never expect anybody like of that caliber who is a Golden Globe winning actress to come to you and say, "I'm a fan of your show" The people who I never thought would watch who are in the industry, who are working all the time to know that they're so busy but they actually take time to actually hear a story that has never been told on a broad scale before, it's pretty awesome Blanca has the confidence to really fight and fight hard I mean I'm someone who is out there making sure I did the work so that I could be seen but there was always that thing in my mind like, am I really worth it? And are people really gonna take me seriously

Am I gonna be ostracized because of who I am and are people gonna say that, you're not gonna get any work simply because you're a transwoman And that kinda deterred me a little bit and when I would go into certain auditions, I would feel that in my head and almost feel like I wasn't worthy enough But it's moments like now where I'm like really relating to Blanca and I look at her I'm like, Girl, I wish I had the confidence this woman has 'cause she does not back down – Ballroom is about to be more popular than Studio 54 ever was – We about to go mainstream

– Put away your glass slipper transirella, it ain't never gonna happen – Believe it or not Steven Canals has opened up that door for us to actually be able to just be seen and not be judged based on our transness, like we can actually have seats at the table And I mean, granted, I haven't had a lot of time to have a seat at the table 'cause you know 'Pose' has been number one priority but um, those doors are open And people are willing and understanding, they're saying, "Hey, can you come and do this," and its for an ad But its not strategically tied to the transness, it's just, they want me there because they saw the talent and they saw the person and they tied those two together

And so the doors have opened more and I don't feel restricted as much as I used to and it's pretty liberating – All right, all right it's all happening for us! "Vogue" has hit number one on the charts and the word is out, Ballroom is in! – I think we're people who of the Ballroom scene, we have cultivated a lot of the things that a lot of people are doing in mainstream today And I think the only way to do that is, actually go to the source itself and show, who actually did it I truly believe that's what Madonna was trying to do with "Vogue" She knew that there were a lot of people that were ostracized in that time

She was always fighting for people like that because you know, they were her dancers, they were people who were around her all the time She really showed homage to that But there are some people out there who take and do not, like they don't give back They'll take and make it seem like it's theirs and I think that's the beauty of Madonna, she actually really said, "I'm gonna see this, "I'm gonna put you guys on a scale "'cause I know the platform that I have "and I'm hopefully, hopefully this will push you guys "a bit forward and it'll help you out" And I think that's beautiful and I'm glad that Ryan's doing that too

And I love that he's showing that through him, but he's also showing it through what happened through Madonna A lot of our history's been erased due to people who just don't wanna speak about it or you know, simply because of people who are just bigoted around the world But I'm glad that we can actually have a show like 'Pose' to highlight the things that actually happened, it feels good because it means our history is repeating itself and we get to tell the stories fully and completely how they need to be told The history that you feel like you haven't gotten a taste of, 'Pose' is giving you that taste of it in its entirety And I think that's great

The younger generation need to see that and it needs to just constantly circulate and it will This is gonna be a show that goes down in history, it's gonna be here forever You know, people can look at us and see we were the monumental women who actually paved the way for younger women like ourselves to really look up to

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