Indya Moore’s Interview for Influencer Intelligence
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Indya Moore’s Interview for Influencer Intelligence

Actor and model Indya Moore currently stars in the acclaimed Ryan Murphy series Pose. Earlier this year it was announced she is set to star in and executive-produce new anthology series Magic Hour – an homage to Frankenstein. We sat down with the hot new talent to discuss opportunities for trans people in the entertainment and fashion industries, homelessness, her experience on SNL and what she loves about The Bronx…

For those who haven’t yet had a chance to watch Pose, can you tell us about it and your character, Angel?

POSE is an incredible TV show set in the late 80s about love, family, community, connection, social class and social clash. It tells a story about belonging through people that society says don’t belong. Angel, is a young woman of trans experience who dreams of a future where she is seen and treated with the same love and respect as cis women. She is estranged from her biological family because of her identity and survives as a sex worker. Angel is supported by a chosen family unit of other people facing similar circumstances as hers. Together they compete in Vogue competitions through which they become very popular in the ballroom community.

Do you prefer modeling or acting?

Oh, man, this is a tough one. I really love acting because I get to fully submerge myself into different worlds and experiences. It’s kind of like interdimensional travel or something. I get to exercise more of my creative skills as an actor. Modeling is similar because I get to be different people but the acting is taken down a notch. Well, unless it’s in a fashion show which can be pretty dramatic. With acting you’re taking advantage of all your senses to tell the story, whereas with modeling it’s mostly focused through sight. Modeling is used as an advertising form and doesn’t really expand outside of those confines. I guess that’s what makes acting more interesting to me – but i love both.

Do you think there are enough opportunities for the LGBTQ+ community in the entertainment and fashion industries?

I think in fashion probably so, but not really so much for trans people. Trans people have always been a spectacle for existing outside of popular preference, but we aren’t often seen as much more than that in the entertainment industry. Producers don’t take the same risks with trans artists as they do with our cis counterparts and it’s even more difficult when you are a person of color. The farther away from a Eurocentric straight cis man you are, the less serious you are taken as far as your intellectual or creative capacities are concerned. Things are changing though. Our voices and impacts are becoming louder and clearer.

What is the best thing about The Bronx?

Corner stores, bodega cats, Bronx zoo, botanical garden, passion, strength, ‘survivor intellectualism’ ( the ability to create something from nothing to survive), our community, our family, our art, our music (hiphop), our language (slang) and the spirit of classic New York. We also the realest borough in NYC. Hehehe!

Tell us about your experience on SNL!

It was dope! I was really nervous about landing the job but once I did I couldn’t believe it. I was just excited to work with Katy Perry, Migos and other members of the Haus of Xtravaganza. We had rehearsals the same day I was hired by the really sweet casting directors. Katy brought her cute lil’ doggie and was excited to see what choreography we had come up with. We showed her what we were capable of and the next day we had a brand new dance arrangement. We learned the new steps and finally it was SNL day. I remember walking into the building feeling very important, ha – nobody could tell me nothing! I was going back to my group home afterwards but, honey, I was gonna be on TV with Migos and Katy Perry in my fab ass Marquise Foster dress, bitch. So, finally we got dressed and it was time for us to line up. One of the dancers had a stain on her outfit so I ran over to the nearest hair and makeup booth to grab a napkin. When I looked up to see who was sitting there I was so shook I almost vaporized. It was Leslie Jones!! After apologizing profusely for invading her space for a tissue I told her I loved her (she was so sweet!) and ran back to the dancer to quickly remove her stain. I’d just seen Dwayne Johnson do a skit about Jurassic Park and it was incredible. After the performance I was so proud. I felt low key like a star and was very thankful to the Haus of Extravaganza, Mother Gisele and Father Jose for including me.

What kind of brand collaborations are you open to and is there any brand in particular you’d like to work with?

I’m open to collaborations with brands of products I love to use – electronics, phone companies, fashion, foods, clothing, jewelry and essential oils.

Specific brands I love are Telfar, Dior, Virgil Abloh, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Marquise Foster, Nicky Zimmerman, Calvin Klein, Under Armour, Free People, Anna Sui, Josefinas and D&G among others. I would like to explore vegan leather with Coach. Fenty and Pat McGrath are two makeup lines I really enjoy. Samsung, Verizon, Essential Water, Apple, Eden Botanicals and Starwest Botanicals are all cool companies.

What does success look like to you?

Growing my own food.

Which influencers do you follow on social media?

Colin Kaepernick, Ava DuVernay, Morgin Dupont, Dev Hynes, Jamila Woods, Gabrielle Union, Steven Canals, Janet Mock, Tiffany Haddish, Patrisse Cullors- Brignac, Issa Rae, SZA, Taylor Bennet, Kehlani, Devin Michael Lowe and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez amongst so many others!

What causes are you most passionate about?

Freedom, safety, equity, education, healing, differentiation, honesty, exchange, equality, integrity.

Do you have any special skills or superpowers?

I’m really good at thinking. I heal extremely fast and I can help people heal themselves. I am really good at finding and creating connections.

What really bugs you?

Existential narcissism.

Who would play you in the film of your life?

Likely Yara Shahidi

What is your personal mantra?

Be honest, be kind, be patient, be supportive and be free.

Do you have any tattoos?

Just one, I got it at 16 or 17. It’s a star.

What would be your last meal on earth?

Sautéed spinach, brussel sprouts, dhal and buckwheat.

Are there any photographers or directors you are dying to work with?

So many! The Wachowskis, Luc Besson, Ming Smith, Jordan Peele, Denis Villeneuve, Spike Lee, Deana Lawson, Bradford Young, Alejandro Inarritu, Alex Garland, Greta Gerwig, Ana Lily Amirpour, etc.

What’s your most prized possession?

My faith and my home.

Describe your dream holiday?

24 hours Tax-free Day where we engage in conversations about homeless and the causes of it – from criminal history and poverty to identity respectability politics and foster care. During this tax free day people are encouraged to give back to the homeless and people in need of existential support.

What’s your favorite Disney movie?

Prince of Egypt.

Which beauty product could you not live without?

Water/shea butter. Sundial Brands makes great Shea Moisture products.

What’s next for you?

My own personal growth as a human being, continuing to work and build with creatives that reflect/affirm my inspirations.


Indya Moore Makes History by Signing With WME
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Indya Moore Makes History by Signing With WME

She already is repped by the agency’s sister firm IMG Models.

Pose star Indya Moore has signed with WME in all areas, The Hollywood Reporter has exclusively learned. She already is repped by the agency’s sister firm IMG Models.

The Bronx-born beauty has been a breakout for her role as Angel on Ryan Murphy’s groundbreaking drama, which features the largest cast of transgender series regulars in scripted television history. FX has renewed the show, which centers on 1980s New York City’s underground ballroom scene, for a second season.

As a model, Moore has worked for brands including Dior, Marquise Foster and Gucci. Prior to Pose, the acting newcomer made her feature debut in Damon Cardasis’ indie Saturday Church.

This past year, Moore founded intermedia production company Beetlefruit Media, which aims to tell stories about disenfranchised groups in a variety of genres, including sci-fi, horror and comedy. The company already has projects in various stages of production in Tokyo, New York and Atlanta.

WME also will support Moore’s social activism, focusing on philanthropy, holistic living and advocating for marginalized communities around the world.

Moore continues to be repped by manager Boston Fielder at URB ALT Media and Del Shaw.


Categories interview Pose Press

Indya Moore talks about her journey from foster care to breakaway success on FX’s “Pose”

During the formative days of high school, math class seemed like the only thing keeping Indya Moore from a career in acting.

“I wanted to go to LaGuardia High School for acting, but my math grades weren’t high enough,” Moore says. “So I didn’t get to go to a school that was geared toward the art that I was interested in because I wasn’t good enough at math.”

Fast-forward nine years and algebra couldn’t be more irrelevant. The 23-year-old’s breakout TV show “Pose” was just renewed for a second season, less than a week after she returned home from a film shoot in Tokyo.

Moore, a native of the Bronx, stars as Angel on the hit Ryan Murphy FX series, which examines the Eighties underground ballroom scene in New York. Angel is a transgender sex worker and ballroom competitor with the House of Evangalista who finds herself tangled in a secret relationship with a Wall Street financier.

“What I loved about Angel, what I instantly connected to her from, was I think her pursuit to find love and to be loved and to find someone who would reciprocate her love for them also,” Moore says. “But also her yearning to be seen as an authentic person — as a real human being. As a real woman.”

The show is groundbreaking for its casting of a number of trans women and its depiction of the lives of trans people, something that drew Moore to the experience.

“Seeing so many trans women acting and performing was something that was major and amazing to me,” Moore says. “Knowing that we have a trans writer also made me feel safe about the stories that I would portray. I didn’t have to worry about recycling stigmatic ideas through the stories that I was telling, because there were people who shared the experiences that the stories were about writing them.”

George Chinsee/WWD
Moore began her career as a model at age 15, while she was moving through foster homes and enduring bullying at school. After dropping out in the 10th grade, she worked various shoots for the likes of Dior and Gucci, but never felt comfortable signing with an agency.

“These agencies, they saw me as a risk to take, as opposed to ‘oh wow, let’s build this human,’” she says. It’s not her only quarrel with representation in the industry. “I always believed that clothes should be designed to conform to our bodies, and not our bodies to conform to the clothing. And I think that’s what I think the fashion world had projected a lot of times,” she adds.

Moore soon found a more nurturing environment through the acting community. One day she met legendary dancer and ballroom veteran José “Xtravaganza” Gutierez while she was doing background for “The Get Down,” who brought her on to the House of Xtravaganza and later sent her to an audition that he heard about for “Saturday Church,” the 2017 indie film that gave her that first major role. Later that year, Moore stumbled upon an audition for “Pose.”

Moore believes the series highlights a shift in viewers’ openness and reception to familiar themes that are being told through voices they aren’t used to. “I think ‘Pose’ is really a groundbreaking television show because we’re telling stories about family and love through people that society has always believed were incapable of having that, or being a part of that,” she says.

George Chinsee/WWD


Categories interview Pose Press

Indya Moore on ‘Pose,’ Working With Evan Peters and Angel’s Red Pumps

On the third episode of Pose, FX’s scripted drama about the 1980s New York ballroom culture told through the lens of transgender women — primarily Blanca (Mj Rodriguez), Elektra (Dominique Jackson) and Angel (Indya Moore) — and LGBT youth living under the banner of two houses, a story about a pair of red patent pumps unfolds. It’s Christmas time, and a sullen Angel, a ballroom performer and sex worker who has fallen for one of her clients, Stan (Evan Peters), explains why she doesn’t celebrate the holiday.

“I had never seen anything quite so beautiful,” Angel recalls, growing emotional, about a pair of shoes she had seen at a store, before revealing that she stole a single pump and hid it in her room. “My father slapped me across the face for stealing — but more so for what I chose to steal.” By the end of the episode, Blanca, mother of the House of Evangelista, gifts her daughter a pair of red patent pumps for Christmas.

While the episode was co-written by Janet Mock and Our Lady J, the story comes from co-creator and executive producer Ryan Murphy’s childhood, when he got into trouble for doing the same exact thing.

But the moment was not an isolated experience, Moore tells ET, recalling a story about trying to sneak out of her home to go to school with a tighter pair of pants in her backpack. Just as she was about to leave, her mom stopped her and found the jeans. “I had chosen to take them even though she told me not to and I got in big trouble for it,” she says, adding that it helped her connect with what unfolded in the episode.

It turns out those are just a couple of the many personal details of the cast and crew that have been channeled into the groundbreaking series, which features five transgender actresses in series regular roles — the most for any prime-time TV series — while also having the largest LGBT recurring cast in TV history. Not only that, Pose is largely written and produced by gay and transgender people, including co-creator Steven Canals, executive producer Nina Jacobson and director Silas Howard.

Angel’s relationship with Stan, which is both romantic and sexual, is a major element of season one and part of Mock’s effort to rewrite the narrative for transgender women seen onscreen, especially when it comes to love, romance and sex. “She touched on the issues that trans women experience around desirability,” Moore says. “She really touched on the reality of how affected we are by people who are afraid of being ostracized just by being in proximity to us.”

It’s something that a lot of transgender women are still navigating today, especially the idea of “settling for less … for what little they give us,” Moore says, adding: “This is something that I felt recently through Angel and it was an experience I also had. Learning to want more myself is something that Janet, Our Lady J and I experienced growing up to who we are as adults.”

Indya Moore and Evan Peters in a scene from the pilot episode of ‘Pose.’ | FX
When it comes to Angel and Stan in particular, their relationship — which starts after he picks her up at the pier and takes her to a hotel and progresses to the two playing house in an Upper West Side apartment Stan has rented for Angel — plays out in the opposite way it might have on a show like Law & Order or other ‘90s police procedurals, where transgender women were often victims of violence or ridicule by cisgender men. (Only recently has that portrayal evolved on shows like Orange Is the New Black, Sense8,Transparent, the short-lived Doubt, and now, Pose.) However, an overwhelmed Stan freaks out before the end of season one, which concludes on Sunday, July 22, and runs back to his wife and kids.

“We deserve the same things that cis women do, the same things that other humans do, from our social lives to our families to love,” Moore says.

When it came to the casting of Peters, who is known for his darker, more violent roles on Murphy’s American Horror Story anthology series, Moore was initially unsure what it would mean for Angel. “Just knowing I would be playing opposite of him, I had fears my character was going to be killed,” she says. “I just felt like, ‘Wow, it wouldn’t be far off at all. It would actually be very parallel to the reality of what life is like for Angel.’” Ultimately, though, Moore says Peters’ character helps humanize Angel, and she’s incredibly thankful to have worked with a screen partner like him. “His comfort level was really affirming for me and helped me to perform better.”

Still relatively new to acting, Pose is a career-making moment for Moore. The 23-year-old performer born and raised in the Bronx, New York, only recently made a splash as a budding model — she made her debut at 2017’s New York Fashion Week, was photographed for Vogue España and served face in Katy Perry’s Saturday Night Live performance of “Swish Swish” — and actress, appearing in her first screen role as Dijon in the 2017 independent film Saturday Church.

“She was a total natural,” director Damon Cardasis recalls of Moore’s Saturday Church audition — her first ever — during which she wore an “amazing” purple wig. She even pretended to put lipstick on the casting director. “You hear people tell stories about someone walking in the room and you know instantly that they are the part. It was that way with Indya.”

In the musical film about young LGBT outcasts who find solace and support at a church that opens its doors to them every Saturday evening, Dijon and others, including Ebony (played by her Pose co-star Rodriguez), encourage their new friend Ulysses (Luka Kain) to explore his budding passion for vogueing.

A standout, Cardasis says Moore is “funny, gives amazing reactions, draws the camera to her and has a natural charisma and rawness that can’t be learned. That ‘it’ factor. Sounds clichéd, but there’s no other way to describe it.”

It’s also what draws audiences in to Pose. As Angel, Moore is almost hypnotic, capturing not only Stan’s attention but the show’s dedicated fans with mere looks. “I’ve always been impressed by her presence, confidence and intelligence. She has a special ability to portray equal parts strength and heartbreak — sometimes without ever speaking a word,” says Mock, who also directed her in episode six. Referencing a scene in which Angel is confronted by Stan’s wife, Patty (Kate Mara), Mock says, “She makes choices that elevate the words we write, which is all you wish and hope for in an actor.”

Kate Mara and Indya Moore in a scene from episode six, which was directed by Janet Mock. | FX
If it weren’t for Saturday Church, Moore says, she would have never gotten Pose, which she first learned about through Lisa Kain, mother of her co-star Luka. She was brought in to audition for the roles of both Angel and Blanca, a ballroom performer who breaks away from Elektra to form her own house. As a former member of the real-life (and legendary) House of Xtravaganza — members of which have appeared in the documentaries Paris Is Burning and Strike a Pose and serve as consultants on Pose — Moore could appreciate the family dynamics and what it’s like to want things to be different. But it was after reading for the former that she won over the room, including Canals, with whom she instantly bonded after they realized they’d grown up near each other and went to the same middle school. “It was really dope to feel a sense of home in that audition room.”

Now that she’s made her mark on the series, which was recently renewed for a second season, Moore is not only appearing in the likes of Vogue and W magazine, but also expanding her acting résumé with Magic Hour, a gender-bending retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein she recently shot in Tokyo with filmmaker Che Grayson. It’s her first sci-fi role, which happens to be one of her favorite genres.

With a penchant for connecting the dots between one project to the next, Moore says “it was all written in the stars.”


Categories Pose Press

‘Frankenstein’ Retelling to Star ‘Pose’ Actress Indya Moore

The anthology series pilot is a passion project of up-and-coming filmmaker Che Grayson.

In the film industry, new minds are necessary to keep the ball rolling and to foster innovation in storytelling. Magic Hour, the first installment in a new sci-fi anthology series in the vein of Twilight Zone, is a perfect example. The production’s website describes it as such:

On the 200th year anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein,’ ‘Magic Hour’ is a gender-bending retelling of the classic story with a modern twist; in this psychedelic-macabre portrait of a mysterious young woman who wakes up one morning without a soul, and roams the streets of Tokyo in search of one.

This intriguing story comes from the mind of a young, black filmmaker who already has award-winning shorts and a comic book series under her belt. Brooklyn-based writer, director, and TED Talk speaker Che Grayson is delivering exciting new approaches to familiar ideas, as Magic Hour, her NYU thesis project, promises to be. This is the most ambitious production of her career so far and hopefully will be the first of many ingenious stories coming from her.

Grayson provided me with further clarification on the nature of the project by phone, saying the thesis project comes from a 30-page script meant to serve as a concept for a television show. Magic Hour is the intended pilot for this anthology series, which she says will center around the “strange and magical things that happen” during what is known as the “Golden Hour” in her universe. Each episode will feature its own contained story, meaning the events and characters seen in Magic Hour will be the only ones based on “Frankenstein.”

In recent news, Magic Hour added Indya Moore from the FX series Pose to its cast and crew. Moore will play the character Bella as well as serve as executive producer. She is another on-the-rise talent, and as a trans actress of color could be an especially inspiring force in the industry. Future roles in film could help open the door for Moore’s career as well as the careers of other LGBTQ entertainers.

Grayson confirms that Moore’s character is meant to parallel the pseudo-Frankenstein’s monster of the story, but not in the way one would think based on Mary Shelley’s source material. When asked how true to the novel the short would be, Grayson explains how her feelings towards the dynamic between monster and creator affected her adaptation.

She says Magic Hour has a great deal of respect for both the story and for Shelley, describing it as “a huge, pivotal piece of literature.” At the same time, she’s always found the plight of Frankenstein’s monster sad and says she believes the monster to be more human than the doctor, in fact. Grayson wants the monster to finally get that chance to show this side, and firmly says that “humanity comes from not being born a human but through actions.” A powerful sentiment indeed, and one which appears to be the guiding principle throughout the project.

By saying Moore’s character will be discovering her soul, Grayson actually means that she will be discovering her humanity. Bella, in the shoes of Frankenstein’s monster, will set out to “break free of the man who created her” and will thus become empowered throughout the tale. Grayson hints at Bella’s fateful meeting with another woman, and the love she will find with her.

Another actress credited alongside Moore is Yuka Taga, who will play a character named Eiko. She is likely the mysterious woman Grayson mentions — a source of salvation and life-changing romance for the wayward Bella. Of course, the filmmaker didn’t want to give away too much concerning the plot, but Bella’s journey feels as if it will be a beautiful look at self-discovery and first love.

Besides wanting to give a voice and humanity to Shelley’s creature, Grayson says she also wanted to avoid the trope of making the woman a monster in the horror sense. Frankenstein’s creation’s 200-year-old existential crisis feels still-appropriate in a modern film setting as well, made all the more inviting with the added supernatural elements. Moore’s Bella searching for purpose in Magic Hour perfectly reflects the confused and tortured journey of the original creature. As for the mad scientist trying to control their creation, and later reconcile their actions, this would also play out uniquely against the neon background of Tokyo’s city streets.

For years we’ve seen the original, infamous gothic horror replicated and extrapolated upon in film and television. Now, based on what Grayson was able to tell us, Magic Hour seems to be playing just loose enough with the source material to create something that is still able to feel new and engaging.

This first installment in Grayson’s expected anthology is shaping up to be a real knockout of contemporary sci-fi, and it sounds as if we can expect great things to come of the series should it get picked up. Netflix seems like a great place for the series. Or FX, home of Pose. No matter where the project takes Grayson’s career, she describes Magic Hour as a labor of love. “A lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into this,” she says.

Magic Hour was set to finish filming in Tokyo last week. Once we know, we’ll be sure to tell you how to check it out.


Categories interview Press

Is Angel From ‘Pose’ A Real Person? Indya Moore Intimately Understands The Experience Of Her Character

Ryan Murphy’s television empire is expanding further with Pose, premiering on FX on June 3. Set within the ball scene in ’80s New York, Pose stars a record-breaking five trans actors in lead roles, per The Hollywood Reporter, including Mj Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson, and Indya Moore. The series is based on a real subculture, but are these actors playing real people? Moore’s Pose character Angel isn’t based on a real person, but the show’s creator aimed to make the new show as authentic as possible.

According Emily Nussbaum’s recent New Yorker profile of Ryan Murphy, the series creator originally wanted to make a show based on subjects of Paris Is Burning, the 1990 ball documentary from filmmaker Jennie Livingston. But as luck would have it, he met a screenwriter named Steve Canals, who had already written a promising script called Pose. And although Canals’s characters were fictional, they were set in the same world Murphy was already envisioning.

However, after Murphy picked up the script, Canals ended up rewriting the pilot with Murphy and his creative partner, Brad Falchuk, per the same article. Currently, the Pose writers’ room also includes Our Lady J (who’s written for Transparent) and trans activist Janet Mock. And while Canals told the New Yorker that he was initially concerned that his Pose characters would be sensationalized or exploited, his fears were soon assuaged. “I knew that I was not going to be just a brown body in the room,” he said. And Murphy seems to understand the importance of a show like Pose, too — especially in this political climate. “It’s television as advocacy,” Murphy told Nussbaum. “I want to put my money where my mouth is.”

JoJo Whilden/FX

So while Angel may not be a real person, she was inspired by the 1980s LGBTQIA+ community in New York. “We’re standing on the shoulders of so many people who have already broken down so many barriers,” Moore told Entertainment Tonight of her role in Pose. Moore described Angel as “definitely unapologetic.” She continued, “She’s brave, she knows where she’s going, has a strong sense of self, and is staying true to the future she sees herself in.”

Indeed, Angel already knows who she is — she’s just waiting for everyone else to catch up. “What do you want out of life?” Evan Peters’ character, Stan, asks Angel in the trailer. “I want to be treated like any other woman,” she answers. “That’s my dream.”

On Twitter, Moore dedicated her performance to Naomi Hersi, who was found murdered earlier this year, according to Broadly.

As for her past work, Moore played a character named Dijon in the film Saturday Church, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. But as recently as March 2017, Moore was living in a group hostel in Queens, where, she explained to NBC News, “Your bed is free when you’re not here. If someone else is in need, your bed needs to be filled.” At the time, she was an unsigned model and had just appeared in her first music video.

However, according to the same Entertainment Tonight interview, Saturday Church was Moore’s first audition, which she heard about through her house father, Jose Xtravaganza. “I felt super confident,” she recalled of her audition. “I thought, ‘Nicki Minaj is going to knock on my door any moment now.’” And the actor wasn’t exactly wrong, because here she is today, starring in a Ryan Murphy show, playing another trans woman of color. “It’s really exciting to be one of the people this story is actually about,” she told ET about Pose.

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It’s clear that Moore has the utmost respect for Angel and is taking her Pose role very seriously. “When you see the life of Angel.i want you think of the countless black trans women who were purposelessly destroyed simply for daring to exist and live in their truth,” the actor tweeted on May 19.


Categories interview Pose Press

Indya Moore Hopes Pose Will Help Trump’s White House ‘See Our Humanity’

Indya Moore has been striking poses well before landing her role on Ryan Murphy‘s new show. The New York City native (she attended the same Bronx high school as rapper Cardi B!) got her start as an independent model.

“I’m grateful for the experience,” Pose‘s Moore, who identifies as transgender, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, on stands now. “I have often been many companies’ first experience with a gender variant model. I am proud of that because I think I have broadened their horizons in my own way. I would love to see all agencies connect to models more for who they are and can be as opposed to what they’ve done.”

Joining the Pose cast, which boasts the most transgender actors ever on one show, allowed Moore to continue exploring her identity. “Pose has basically been a trip for everyone,” she says. “We’re all in different phases of our individual evolutions, but we’ve embarked on the journey together.”

Moore plays streetwalker Angel, who falls in love with both her client Stan (Evan Peters) and New York City’s ballroom scene — something the Pose star can relate to. “As a black person of non-gender-conforming experience, my first existentially reciprocal and affirming experiences were in the New York ballrooms,” the 23-year-old says.

Moore dedicated her performance in the ’80s-based drama to Naomi Hersi, a Somali trans woman who was murdered in London in March at age 36.

“Naomi’s murder in that London hotel this year could have been Angel’s story,” Moore explains. “No one wants to be alone and everyone wants to be loved. Her favorite thing to do was watching television. It pains me to know that Naomi is no longer here and that she will not get to see herself represented in Pose.”

The actress does hope that the series will help change “people’s idea of love and family” to encompass “the existences of communities they would not have normally considered.”

“Our current administration is the biggest threat to LGBTQ rights that I’ve seen in my lifetime,” she says. “Non-gender-conforming people already struggle with having the personal support of the cisgender community and family members. Having policymakers in Washington attack our right to exist by law is frightening on a level that is difficult to describe. Pose will hopefully help them see our humanity if they truly want to see it.”


Categories interview Press

The cast and creator of Pose on bringing authentic trans POC stories to TV

“Live! Work! Pose!” cries Broadway mainstay Billy Porter in the opening-title sequence of Pose, evoking the magic words of the queer ballroom scene. For the cast of this FX show, which premieres on June 3, this three-word directive is a command—on and off camera—for an unprecedented assembly of gay men and trans women of color. They have been held back from opportunity in the entertainment industry for too long. Now, it’s their time to shine.

Like American Crime Story or any Ryan Murphy pop spectacle, Pose covers a lot of ground. The show focuses on 1987 New York at the peak of Trump Tower hetero excess, the AIDS crisis and the rising black ballroom scene, most widely known from Madonna’s “Vogue” music video, the documentary Paris Is Burning and RuPaul’s Drag Race. But the show is about families, specifically those formed by black and Latinx trans women, drag queens and artists. In spotlighting the stories of five trans women of color—played by Dominique Jackson, Indya Moore, MJ Rodriguez, Hailie Sahar and Angelica Ross—Pose far surpasses its TV predecessors in sharing a multitude of stories about life at the intersection of race, class, sexuality and gender. And when the five women are gathered together, they waste no time in telling their stories.

In casting trans women, executive producers Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals challenged the actors to bring their own experiences to the series. Many, like Jackson, have storied histories in the ballroom scene; Sahar is a seasoned pageant pro, and Moore worked as a model before she was an actress. They have struggled just like their characters—and too many trans POC women today—experiencing homelessness, harassment, abandonment and sex work in hostile environments.

“You can’t pull this out in acting class,” Indya Moore says of how her experiences with homelessness have informed her role as Angel, whose sex work leads to a tempestuous romance with a client (Evan Peters). “I don’t have to feel like there’s something wrong with me for not having the privileges that [other performers] have had in their lives, that kept them safe in the ways that I wasn’t. I feel really fortunate to have gone through what I’ve gone through, to use my vessel to encompass the spirit of [this character] in a way that I probably otherwise wouldn’t be able to. ”

Angelica Ross, a seasoned TV actor who plays the opportunistic Candy, revisited painful memories to bring the character to life. “She’s going through some things that definitely bumped up against my own traumas: dealing with body issues, beauty standards, being a dark-skinned black girl trying to find her beauty spotlight in the ’80s, when they weren’t lighting us right. The struggles that Candy has are things I face to this day.”

With the cultural conquest of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the mainstream fascination with Club Kids and black culture, Pose ran the risk of being just another exploitative product, telling the stories of starving artists in the Bronx via a soundstage in Glendale, California. But the producers chose to make this an NYC community affair, populating the writers’ room, costume department and set with veterans from the most-beloved ballroom houses.

Further legitimizing the show in the community was the appointment of Janet Mock, the first trans woman of color to write, produce and direct episodes of a TV series, along with trans writers like Our Lady J and Silas Howard. “When I stepped into the ball scene on that first day and saw the team assembled on Connolly and 24th Street, I was moved to tears,” Mock says. “You see these legends who were featured in documentaries like Paris Is Burning, who survived the 1980s, HIV and crack [cocaine], and all these ills and poverty, and you see them up there in full glam, on the stage—it’s surreal.”

“Even though it is fictional, Pose has really tapped into some realities that I know would come from someone who really took the time to investigate ballroom,” Jackson says. And she should know: She’s been hitting balls since 1993. “Some of the lines that I have to deliver as Elektra are lines that mothers of mine said to me. We’re not masking it. We’re giving you the truth.”

FX is putting its money where it’s mouth is, a rarity for queer productions, and can afford to deliver the fantasies of the vogue scene, with beglittered sequences set to the songs of Donna Summer and Gwen Guthrie. But the show must also confront the hard realities of what trans women faced in 1987 and how little has changed for the community since then, including its cast members. “Every day that I’m on set, I’m reminded of the struggles, the hardships, the deaths and the murders that all of my brothers and sisters have endured and are still enduring,” Sahar told me.

As the five women huddle up for Time Out New York’s photo shoot, SZA and Kendrick Lamar’s “All the Stars” comes on Moore’s playlist. A chilling silence falls over the room. “I can feel our ancestors,” Moore says, as stylists and makeup artists who have worked in ballroom for years nod in agreement.

Regardless of how Pose is received by mainstream audiences, its cast and creators intend to honor their forebears—this time on a more spectacular stage than ever.

“This is an honor that I can pay to women who have paved the way,” Jackson said. “They had to create something that would give the community of color a place to gather and have fun and compete. We are fabulous, so why not do what we do?”

Photographer: Justin Bettman
Styling: Israel Mejia
Location: Hudson Yards Loft
Special thanks: Aurelia, Onarin, Levi’s, James Chan, IRO, Rachel Antonoff, Dolce & Gabbana, Joanna Lara Constantine, Christian Louboutin


Categories interview Press

Indya Moore Is Ready for Her Closeup

“I’m on the phone,” transgender model Indya Moore shouted after hearing a knock on her door. “No, can you please not come in right now.” Moore sat nude, freshly out of her group home’s shower, as a staff worker ignored her request and entered her room without consent. She had just given NBC Out a taste of what life can be like in the not-so-glamorous life of an up-and-coming model in New York City.

The 22-year-old stunner, who’s been modeling since she was 15, got her first big break last month during New York Fashion Week (NYFW), where she participated in the OAK fashion show. “It was an invigorating and encouraging experience,” she said. “I didn’t make a lot of money, but I was respected.”

But when the “phenomenal” experience of NYFW came to an end, Moore returned to a life that she describes as less-than-ideal — particularly her hostel-style living situation in Queens, where she resides due to the high cost of rent in New York City.

“If you stay out for more than 24 hours, you become what they call ‘AWOL,'” she explained. “Your bed is free when you’re not here. If someone else is in need, your bed needs to be filled.” Moore describes having to “deal with that anxiety” of losing her shared room while at work.

But her modeling career keeps her hopeful. Despite not being signed to an agency, Moore told NBC Out she is still able to find fulfilling work. Aside from her NYFW gig, she recently wrapped up her first appearance in a music video. The video is for the song “Don’t Pull Away” from the album “401 Days” by J. Views and featuring musical artist Milosh. Moore described the experience as “dope,” and said it features her first-ever on camera kiss, which was with androgynous model Elliott Sailors.

“I’m not interested in women, but it exercised my acting dynamic. It was also exciting,” she said. Moore added that she’s tired of seeing the same transgender stereotypes and felt this opportunity was a way to push the narrative in a positive direction. “Almost every film or movie, the trans person is always depicted as …. a sex worker with no way out,” she explained.

Working as a model is not always easy, particularly for trans models of color, Moore said. After her audition for a NYC-based modeling agency, Moore received a rejection letter stating, in part: “Very often the world of fashion depends on having the right look at the right time.” This sentence left Moore worried about whether it will ever be the “right time” for models who look like her. “Trans women of color are waiting,” she said.

Vogue Paris recently put Brazilian trans model Valentina Sampaio on the cover of the March issue. While thrilled and supportive of the magazine’s decision, Moore pointed out Sampaio’s European features while looking at a photo of the model.

“I want to see designers capitalize on a beauty that is not only white. I need them to stop acting like beautiful black and brown women do not exist,” she added.

The representation she presents as a trans black model is one she does not take lightly, but she lamented the presence of colorism in the fashion industry.

“Maybe my complexion makes them more comfortable, but I’d like to see darker women than me,” she said. “Eurocentric women are beautiful, but they are not the only ones out here that exist.”

Moore hopes modeling agencies and designers are inspired to be even more inclusive of women of color, transgender women and those at the intersection of those two underrepresented identities.