Michaela Jaé Rodriguez : the new icon of the LGBTQ + community

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Michaela Jaé Rodriguez receiving the Konbini Commitment Award. © Camilla Canalini / Canneseries

Present in Cannes for the seventh edition of the Canneseries festival, the 33- year-old American transgender actress received the Konbini Commitment Award on Tuesday, 9th April. An award for her incredible career.

“I would say to the young people listening to us, whether you are queer or not, simply if you are different, never stop being yourself ». The message is clear. The person delivering it is determined. As Michaela Jaé Rodriguez explained in an interview with Konbini, people who are different from others, particularly the younger generation, should not be ashamed of who they are. On the contrary, they should embrace their difference, and above all, not stop dreaming: « Compassion, love, inspiration and art always win. Continue to celebrate them, and you will win all your battles« , the actress promises.

The birth of a leading figure in the LGBTQ+ movement

Born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1991, America’s new darling came out at the age of 14. Her journey is a vibrant testament to resilience and authenticity. Attracted to the world of film and television from an early age, the young woman set her sights on fulfilling her dream. Little by little, « MJ », as she is known, gained confidence and gradually managed to make her mark on the world stage. Alternating between a career as a singer and an actress, she gained international recognition thanks to the series Pose, which portrayed the queer and transgender community in New York in the 1980s. She plays Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista, a transgender woman who adopts young gay and trans people from working-class neighbourhoods who dream of a career in the arts. The actress delivers a performance full of grace and power that has helped to shed light on the representation of transgender people on screen. In 2022, her performance enabled her to become the first transgender woman to win the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama Series: « This is the door that will open another door for so many talented young people. They’re going to see that it’s more than possible« , she said just after winning the award.

Michaela Jaé Rodriguez on stage at Canneseries 2024. © NC

An influence that extends beyond the audiovisual world

But beyond her professional success, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez has established herself as an essential voice in the fight for equal rights and visibility for LGBTQ+ people, much like Elliot Page. By fully embracing her identity and using her networks to promote social change, she encourages millions of people to embrace who they really are. Her influence is so great that in 2022, Time magazine named her one of the twelve most important women of the year. Through her courage and commitment, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez embodies the hope and strength of an entire community. She is an ardent defender of the rights of LGBTQ+ people and works tirelessly to create a more inclusive and caring world for everyone, whatever their gender or sexual orientation. In this respect, her ‘masterclass’ in Cannes also aims to contribute to this project. The star of Pose is creating a legacy that is that of a true pioneer. A legacy whose impact transcends the boundaries of the entertainment industry to touch hearts and minds around the world.

Nino CLAUDEZ