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MJ Rodriguez Makes History By Signing First Ever Beauty Deal With Olay Body As Trans Woman

Actress and singer MJ Rodriguez is having an incredible whirlwind year. In 2019, she continued her role as Blanca Rodriguez in the history making series “Pose.” Her moving and capitalizing performance won her “Best Actress” at the Imagen Awards; the first time an openly trans women has ever received the honor. She also became the first transgender woman of color to play the role of Audrey in a major production of “Little Shop of Horrors.” Rodriguez even preformed the play’s popular love ballad “Suddenly Seymour” on the “Late Late Show with James Corden” ⁠— wowing the TV audience with her powerful vocals. In addition to all that success, this week, her activism, advocacy and talent was celebrated when Rodriguez was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 NEXT.

Now, Rodriguez officially has one more win to close out her successful 2019.  

Twitter / @outmagazine

This week, Rodriguez made history by securing her first ever beauty campaign. The “Pose” star announced her new partnership with Olay Body at the 5th Annual Diversity Summit where she gave the keynote speech. She will officially be one of the label’s brand ambassadors — making her the first trans Afro-Latina to fill this role with Olay. 

“Olay Body is leading by example for other brands by opening doors for trans individuals like myself,” Rodriguez said during her speech. “I am so excited to work with Olay Body on this campaign leading up to my speech at the Diversity Summit. This is officially my first ever beauty campaign — I am so thankful to have the opportunity to show other trans women of color everywhere that they are seen and that they are worthy.”

Rodriguez’s campaign joins other trans women like Laverne Cox, Tracey Norman, Lea T and Geena Rocero — who have all recently worked with hair, makeup, and skincare brands in public roles. 

Twitter / @pedro_a

Rodriguez isn’t the only one excited about this new opportunity. Olay Body also expressed their eagerness to explore the new partnership and the diversity and inclusivity that Rodriguez brings to the brand. In an email to “Out,” the body care company shared their excitement over their new brand ambassador.

“Olay Body is excited to work with Mj Rodriguez on this campaign, as Mj is truly a recognized trailblazer,” the brand wrote. “She has transformed not just personally and professionally, but also as a leading advocate for diversity and inclusivity. This makes her the perfect fearless partner, where she is able to share her authentic journey of feeling confident in her own skin. As we begin to plan for future programs, Mj is definitely top of mind. We can’t divulge specifics at this time, but stay tuned for what’s coming next!” 

For the first act of their partnership, Rodriguez did Olay Body’s 14 Day Transformation and posted the results on her Instagram. 

Instagram / @mjrodriguez7

While she’s incredibly honored to have been selected as a brand ambassador, the call from Olay caught her off guard. Rodriguez even doubted if she was up to the task.

“When they called me, I screamed on the phone, because Olay is one of the leading forces in beauty,” she explained to “The Cut” of her new project. “I was like ‘Oh my god, am I really being considered for this, am I worthy?’”

Rodriguez explained that for trans women and women of color, these opportunities don’t usually come around so she was overwhelmed yet honored with the responsibility. 

“For starters, I’ve never been able to be considered for a partnership like this,” she told “The Cut.” “A lot of girls like myself — trans women — we don’t get the opportunity to have open dialogue, let alone be in partnership with organizations like this. As a woman, as a black or Latina or trans woman, we have to constantly give words of affirmation to ourselves. It’s just hard for us. I’m just focusing on amplifying my voice, trying to get it out there as much as possible.”

Of course, Rodriguez’s online fans showered her with love and affirmation for her new role with Olay Body. 

Twitter / @outioflove

Rodriguez’s mentions are full of fans congratulating her and wishing her the best for her career. One tweet by @guida told the star, “You deserve every good thing coming your way, I’m so happy for you!” Another by @nel_mamaboho thanked the actress, saying, “I actually truly love you just because YOU ARE SEEN. Your visibility makes so many more of us unavoidable. Thank Y.O.U.”

Rodriguez is truly paving the way for the visibility of other trans people and people of color. As an Afro-Latina, a trans woman and a member of the LBGTQ+ community, she represents many groups of marginalized people. As such, her role with Olay Body will set the precedent that these groups can and should have a visible place in our society.

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Puerto Rican Model With Down Syndrome Stuns At New York Fashion Week

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Puerto Rican Model With Down Syndrome Stuns At New York Fashion Week

sofiajirau / Instagram

The world of fashion is notoriously a parade of homogeneity. While certain brands make valiant attempts to diversify the faces and designs that represent their lines, it’s true that there is a world of progress to be made. Which leads us to our praise and worship for Sofía Jirau.

Sofia Jirau is a 22-year-old Puerto Rican model with Down Syndrome.

She is, to say the least, a true jefa whose recent appearance on the runway at a New York Fashion Week show is undoubtedly a game-changer. While walking the runway this past week, the model lived out her dream of not only modeling in New York but also shaking up its fashion scene.

“When I was little, I looked myself in the mirror and said, ‘I’m going to be a model and a businesswoman,’” Jirau told People in a recent interview.

And just look at her now.

Jirau got her start back in 2019 when she signed with INprende, an agency that works to represent models and faces like Sofia. Since making her deal, Jirau has gone on to model for designers like Kelvin Giovannie and Marisa Santiago. 
“I was born for this and I want to show the world that I have everything a model needs to shine,” Jirau wrote in a post about her NYFW debut on Instagram.

Here’s to hoping for more of this!

This Woman’s Disability Was Holding Her Back From Posting ‘Sexy’ Photos Until The Internet Gave Her A Big Collective Hug

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This Woman’s Disability Was Holding Her Back From Posting ‘Sexy’ Photos Until The Internet Gave Her A Big Collective Hug

More often than not, when posting something on social media, we assume that people’s reactions will be mostly negative. We hit ‘publish’ and brace ourselves for the negative outbursts. That’s what Nila Morton did when she posted a photo of herself, all done up and ready to party. She was worried about posting pictures that were a little more ‘sexy’ than her usual photo because she felt she didn’t embody the standard of beauty. But instead, the internet came through with messages of love and support. 

Nila Morton of Greenville, South Carolina was born with a rare muscular condition called Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy.

Nila’s condition causes impairments in muscle growth and strength, and leads to severe muscular weakness and exhaustion. She was worried about posting pictures that made her feel good about herself, or that were ‘too sexy’, because she felt she didn’t embody the standard image of beauty.

Morton uses a wheelchair but does what she can to express herself with her appearance.

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Oh so pretty! #prophytestatus💕💚

A post shared by Nila Morton (@nilanmorton) on

This includes styling her hair, doing her makeup, and dressing well. She likes to dress up when she goes out for an event, but she always shied away from sharing any of the “sexy” photos taken of her, because she feared the criticism of living with a disability.

Finally this past weekend, Morton decided to post two photos of herself, wearing a cute, little black dress.

“I usually don’t post pictures of myself when I have a nice dress on or when I go out…because I get nervous about comments since I’m not society’s view of disability,” Nila Morton told BuzzFeed News. “I decided that I should just post it because I felt beautiful and sexy.”

Over the weekend, after getting dressed up and going out, Morton decided to post the photos. 

It was in the early hours of Sunday morning and she figured she could just go to bed right after, “just in case it backfired,” she said, laughing. 

But to her surprise, the reaction was entirely different to what she’d expected

By the time she woke up, her tweet was already going viral. It’s currently been retweeted over 36,000 times and liked over half a million times. Mostly, Morton has been reading floods of extremely supportive comments from people on Twitter.

As a result, Morton realized:

“Getting that much positive feedback made me smile and anxious at the same time. I know that some people had negative things to say, but I saw how people had my back, which made me realize that I should never be nervous to show off myself.”

In the comments, Twitter users had Morton’s back.

Many users expressed how beautiful she was and hoped she would continue to share. “Out of your comfort zone should be your New Zone,” someone wrote. And the positive comments keep on coming!

Seeing so many positive comments on one young woman’s vulnerable post is such a heartwarming experience. 

The tweets included memes professing users’ STAN status. People hyped her up, thanked her for sharing and for being a role model. All in all, this post taught Nila, and many others, that sometimes, the internet actually has our back. 

Nila’s rare form of muscular dystrophy causes the muscles in her legs to deteriorate, and she can only travel short distances without needing her wheelchair.

It made her the target of cruel classmates who told Nila ‘no-one would love her’, but the brave woman refused to let their comments thwart her dreams of becoming a beauty queen – and she’s already won two titles after competing alongside able-bodied contestants.  

Morton has competed against able-bodied contestants in beauty pageants and has won several titles!

As a tenacious teen, she managed to turn the criticism into something positive by pursuing her childhood dream of becoming a model —after noticing a lack of models with disabilities. Since then she’s competed against able-bodied competitors in pageants and been named Miss Mauldin Teen USA and Miss Congeniality at Miss South Carolina Teen USA 2017.

‘I’m a girl who has been bullied for having a disability and being different,’ said Nila in a 2017 interview with The Daily Mail.

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Shea Butter Baby🧡✨🥰 📸: @lynnnspiration

A post shared by Nila Morton (@nilanmorton) on

“I’m embracing that I have a difference and want to show others that they don’t need to change for society.”