Ahead of the final season premiere of Pose this Sunday May 2nd on FX, The Queer Review attended a virtual press conference with the creators and cast of the groundbreaking series. Here’s what they had to say when asked what they hoped young LGBTQ+ folks watching the show would take away from it.
Billy Porter: “To be empowered inside of yourself. Even when everything and everybody around you says the opposite, do it anyway, and dream the impossible.”
Indya Moore: “To love yourself unapologetically and be inspired to grow. Don’t let anyone take family away from you, but you are capable of creating anything that you need for yourself even if they tried. My hope for what I want them to walk away with is basically, you are magical and powerful and beautiful, and you are capable of creating everything for yourself that this world refuses to give you or allows you to have or access. We are capable of creating the love we don’t often get for ourselves and each other. I hope that example resonates for our audience.”
Dominique Jackson: “I would tell them that you are more than enough from the beginning, and those struggles, those hardships, the stuff that you think are the things that are supposed to stop you, the stuff that you think are barriers, is what is telling you that you have the power and the strength to overcome. So never, ever give up. Never, ever look at a barrier as something that’s debilitating or stopping you. Look at it as a challenge that you can overcome because when you overcome those challenges, when you strive and you push forward, the greatness that you can achieve is in the example of five trans women and one amazing trans woman who is a director. Never, ever, ever feel like you cannot make it.”
Janet Mock: “I have a quick one. It’s just something that I’ve viewed in Blanca and Elektra. They say it often, ‘You are everything, and you deserve everything this world has to offer.’ It’s a line that I’ve written over and over again into the scenes when either Blanca forgets it and Elektra has to remind her or Angel doesn’t know and Blanca has to remind her. It’s that matriarchal power and lineage that I think the ballroom is and what trans women are to one another that then feeds everyone else and enables them to shine and have all the things that they want in the world. I think that it is essential that we uplift the women on this show, that we know and make it very clear that Mj Rodriguez, without that blueprint that she helped us pave in that first season, all of the other storylines would fall through. For me, it is that celebration, that centering and loving and appreciation of Black trans women, that they’ve created this space, that they brought everyone else in with them, and that, at the end of the day, they are often the ones most often forgotten. With this season I want everyone across the industry, the audience, to realize that. I think it’s essential and it’s important. So, it’s that you are everything, and you deserve everything this world has to offer.”
Hailie Sahar: “That was beautiful.”
Dominique Jackson: “You are everything and then some.”
Hailie Sahar: “Amen to that. I can’t top what Janet said. She spoke the words out of my heart. I would hope that our audience feels seen and validated in our stories, which Janet has said oftentimes go unnoticed or pushed to the background. I hope that with this body of work, people can go back and replay it and view a scene and be encouraged to go after everything they’ve ever wanted.”
Mj Rodriguez: “With us having had a multitude of seasons leading into the finale—and this is specifically to the youth—now you know that it is extremely possible. Now you know that it is reachable and it is obtainable to not only be a part of an amazing show that encompasses not just the G, but the L, the B, and the T, but also knowing your worth, not just through the work that you see on television, but in actual real life, knowing how much you are worth to keep going and that each and every last one of our stories through these characters is a testament to how possible it is to really obtain and achieve your dream. I was a girl who was working hard in the industry and really trying to make my stamp, and my first little stamp was actually getting noticed in Playbill, auditioning for Peggy Schuyler in Hamilton. Now I can sit here and say I’ve actually solidified my roots and actually been a leading lady next to the leading man of a great show. It’s possible, it’s obtainable, and you can achieve it simply by all of our stories right here, watching us right now. And I just hope that it carries through. So, know your worth.”
Sandra Bernhard: “I just want to jump in real quickly to say—having been in the business for a very, very long time and seeing so much evolve from being involved with Paul Mooney in The Richard Pryor Show and being really aligned with not only people of color but, obviously, the whole gay movement and having been in the trenches during the AIDS experience—to see everybody on this show just explode and blossom not only as actors, but as people, has been such an inspiration to me. No matter how long you are in this business, to still be affected and to grow as an artist, being inspired by new, fresh, dedicated, hard-working people has just been such an incredible journey for me, and I’ve seen a lot over the years. So, I just want to say I really love all of you, and it’s just been so great to get to know you and to have you open your hearts to me and be able to bring a little bit of my magic to you, I hope, as well. So, it’s just been an incredible experience. You are all so talented, and I look forward to seeing everything you are going to be doing.”
Angel Bismark Curiel: “For me, before I even stepped foot on set, I didn’t know what “trans” meant. I didn’t even know the vocabulary definition of it and let alone the complexities and the traumas that follow very soon after that word. So, what I hope to see and to indulge in is, a young man sitting on a couch, flipping through his TV, looking for something to watch, and he stumbles upon this show, starts watching the show, sees himself reflected in Papi and says, “Oh, that looks like Rico over there across the street. Oh, and she’s trans? What is he doing over there? But I don’t understand, man. But he loves her. He loves it, and he appreciates it. I get that. Shit. I’ve got my shawty too. I love my mom. That’s the way I see him loving on her.” Turns the TV off. Goes out with the boys. And because he has that already in him, he’s with the boys and the boys want to be toxic, he can say, ‘No, no, no. Hold back, bro. Hey, I’m going to put you on to this show, man. It’s called Pose. Let me tell you something. That boy, he could teach you a thing or two about how to love a woman.’ I genuinely see that as a possibility. I know it’s happened a lot for me back home with my friends. I’ve had a lot of interactions with them. They’ve had a lot of questions, and I welcome them. And that’s all because I stepped foot on this set, and now they have some insight. They can further develop their own knowledge through watching the show, picking up some books, reading some articles, and then that just spreads like wildfire. That’s what I hope they will take from this or that some folks can.”
Dyllón Burnside: “There was a time when folks thought that no one could break the four-minute-mile barrier. I
think Roger Bannister was the first man to break the four-minute barrier and I think that was in 1950-something. Since then, tens of thousands of people have run a mile in under four minutes. My hope is that folks who see this show, young people, older people, will recognize what is possible and will recognize their own superpowers and recognize that they can do the things that the world believes are impossible, like breaking a four-minute barrier. I believe that when people get to see folks achieve the impossible, that they recognize the power that they have within themselves. My hope is for young, Black, queer men, queer folks all over the world, that they will recognize that they have the ability to stand in their truth and to take up space and to celebrate who they are and achieve anything and everything that they can imagine and find love in the process, love for self and love for community, love for one another.”
Jason A. Rodriguez: “For me, I feel my message definitely goes to the queer youth, the trans youth, because they are our future, especially us on this show; writers, directors, the actors. If it is safe to do so, speak out loud. Speak it. After you’ve spoken loud, cultivate it, articulate it, strengthen it, grind it into a diamond that everyone can see and then let everybody love on that, see you. But then let that reflect. Let that light reflect unto others because I feel like power and strength means nothing if you can’t pass it on. It becomes limited. I feel we all want to push to be limitless, and to do so is to let that shine. So I definitely say that to the youth because we’ve all accomplished and have so much more and have platforms that we’ve reached and so many other platforms to jump on top of and change narratives and create, but then for the youth to see us and see that strength, to just know that if we can do it, so can they.”
Steven Canals: “There’s a lot on my heart, and I’ll simply say this; Pose was created out of a selfish act. It really
was. It came from a place of my wanting not only to be seen and heard and affirmed, but also to center and honor Black people and Latinx and Afro-Latinx people and queer and trans people because those are my family, those are my friends, those are the identities that they hold and that I hold. So to be a part of the storytelling process has been so incredible. While I know that Pose has been both entertaining and educational, and that it has moved so many folks who don’t happen to hold those identities, it will not be and never will be lost on me that—alongside my friend, my sister, my love, my collaborator, Janet Mock, as well as Ryan Murphy—for us, this show was created by and for our community. I hope, if nothing else, that all of the folks out there who happen to be part of the LGBTQ+ community and all of those folks who also happen to be Black and brown, that they always know that I and all of my collaborators and this wildly talented and beautiful cast, that we will always have your back, that we will always see you, that we will always affirm you, that the work will always be to honor you.”
Pose season 3 premieres Sunday May 2nd at 10pm ET/PT on FX with its first two episodes. Subsequent episodes air Sunday nights on FX until the series finale during Pride month, on June 6th 2021. Episodes will stream the following day on FX on Hulu.
Read James Kleinmann’s Pose Season 3 review, and his review of the Pose season 2 finale.