Transgender actress MJ Rodriguez talks about role in TV show 'Pose,' Pride March

MANHATTAN, New York (WABC) -- Actress and singer M.J. Rodriguez has made history as part of the largest transgender cast ever assembled for a scripted TV series in "Pose," and she knew at her audition that this was more than just another gig.

"You want people to see you as who you are, but also to see your talent," she said. "And when I went into that room and they fully saw me for who i was, they didn't tag any titles to me. They just saw the actress that was in front of them."

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"Pose" takes place in the ballroom culture of the city 30 years ago.

Rodriguez, who was named one of the grand marshals in the Pride March, is one of five trans performers of color to be featured on the show.

"That's a huge title to carry and I feel like I will hopefully carry it pretty well," she said. "And I'm just going to try and be a beacon for the people I will be seeing that day. It's going to be a lot of love, a lot of excitement, a lot of energy."

It's hard to imagine that just before she got casted, Rodriguez struggled for half a dozen years and thought about giving up.

"And I was like 'OK, when is my life going to start?'" she said. "I'm putting in all the work. Maybe I should just give this up and actually go back to my normal life and go stealth and not say anything and just blend into the crowd, which is something I didn't want to do, because I don't like to blend in."

It was her mom who urged her to keep going.

"She said, 'Something's got to give. It's just around the corner,'" Rodriguez said. "Three days later, that's when 'Pose' happened."

Her mom was part of the original scene shown in the FX series that has just started its second season and has already been renewed for a third.

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