The category is: live, work, pose!
FX groundbreaking series Pose has ended after three seasons, but its legacy lives on as proof that stories about underserved communities are not only universal but a powerful and necessary tool for representation.
Creator and executive producer Steven Canals was turned out multiple times while pitching the idea for a show about the Black and brown transgender community and their influence on New York’s ballroom culture.
“There were 166 meetings in this industry where I was told some version of, ‘We love the writing and the story is interesting, but I don’t know who the audience is for a show like this. We don’t know where a show like this lives.’ And I just had to keep being persistent to get it on air,” Canals said during the series’ panel at Deadline’s Contender Television: The Nominees awards-season event. “I was fortunate enough to meet an executive producer in Sherry Marsh who said, ‘This is so much more than just a sample, this is a show.’”
Contenders Television: The Nominees — Livestream, Schedule, Lineup
He added, “I can’t help but reflect on all those times I was told no. I’m really proud of the work and everyone that’s involved that put so much heart and care into creating it.”
Pose is nominated for nine Primetime Emmy Awards for its final season, including Best Director for Canals, Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actor in A Drama for Billy Porter, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama for Mj Rodriguez and Outstanding Writing For a Drama series, among others.
Porter, who won the Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series Emmy for Pose’s sophomore season, also reflected on the past three years of working on the show and how portraying Pray Tell changed his life.
“Art imitates life, and life imitates art,” he said. “I got into this business in the ’80s and I came out in ’85 in the middle of the AIDS crisis. To have been able to live through the AIDS crisis and then all these years later revisit that trauma through a creative lens, that presented a road to healing has been very powerful for me.”
Fans were certainly sad to say goodbye to so many beloved characters, including Blanca, who was looking ready to be next down the aisle as she celebrated Angel’s (Indya Moore) marriage to her beloved Papi (Angel Bismark Curiel).
Both Rodriguez, who is the first trans woman to be nominated in a major Emmy category, and writer-producer Our Lady J, agree Blanca would’ve married Christopher (Jeremy Pope).
“I think she’s definitely next to get married,” said Rodriguez. “Blanca says in one of her scenes, ‘Oh, Christopher’s not ready for that yet.’ I think as time passed, Christopher definitely would’ve been ready for it. They probably would’ve just buried that hatchet and went and got married. I think she’s just living her life now and fully receiving everything she deserves. For a long time, Blanca was living for other people —not in a bad way, she had to do it. She was living for her kids and the people in the community.”
She added, “With the third-season finale, all of the women coming together and having that Sex and the City moment, it goes to show how they all — specifically Blanca — were able to carry on and just live a life of normalcy. Whatever that means.”
Check back Monday for the panel video.