Michaela Jae (Mj) Rodriguez is among
the 12 women included on TIME's Women of the Year list.
Rodriguez won a Golden Globe for her
portrayal of Blanca Evangelista
on FX's Pose, making her the
first transgender actor to do so. She is also recognized for being
the first transgender woman to earn an Emmy nomination in a leading
Rodriguez told TIME
that she wants to be the AfroLatina transgender role model she lacked
I was younger, I didn't have representation for anyone of color in
the LGBTQI community,” she
said. “Now, I want to be the example. I want to show them that
Pose ending last year,
Rodriguez is gearing up to release her first EP, a collection of pop
and R&B tracks, later this year.
“Now I feel, as a
person who identifies as trans and also as a woman, that there are no
barriers for me,” she said. “Instead, there are barriers to knock
down for others.”
TIME's annual list
also honors Tracy Chou, Amal Clooney, Allyson Felix, Adena Friedman,
Amanda Gorman, Sherrilyn Ifill, Jennie Joseph, Zahra Joya, Kacey
Musgraves, Amanda Nguyen, and Kerry Washington.