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

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

mjrodriguez7 / Instagram

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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This Is What Cardi B Thinks Of Instagram Taking Away ‘Likes’ And Here’s Why She’s Right

Entertainment

This Is What Cardi B Thinks Of Instagram Taking Away ‘Likes’ And Here’s Why She’s Right

Iamcardib / Instagram

Earlier this year, Instagram began trialling the removal of likes in Canada. In a bid to reduce stress and anxiety surrounding the user experience with the platform, Instagram has announced that the social media will be test hiding likes in the US, too —And Cardi B had some thoughts. 

Instagram announced that the platform will be hiding ‘likes’ in the US this week.

Instagram’s CEO Adam Mosseri, announced last Friday that the platform will be hiding the number of ‘likes’ on posts this week. The new feature is being met with strong backlash, especially many influencers and celebrities —among them, the opinionated rapper, Cardi B.

Cardi B took to Instagram to protest the feature, arguing that removing likes wouldn’t make Instagram any less toxic because “the comments affect more than the likes.”

The rapper posted a video on Instagram, explaining how she believes that the comments section is more toxic to users than seeing likes or not. She said: “If anything is affecting Instagram right now, I really feel it’s the way the comments have been done or have been changing these past few years.” 

Cardi voiced her concerns of the comments section, pointing out how many trolls will post triggering comments just to get reactions.“That’s when I feel like when people started sayin’ nasty things … somebody would just say something so vile because … they want comments back,” she explained.“Because I feel people been saying the most weirdest shit, been starting the craziest arguments, been starting to race bait, all because of comments, because they want to get to the top, they want to get the most reactions.”

The feature was already been tested in other countries, and now that it’s coming to the US, celebrities are sharing their take.

Credit: nickiminaj / Instagram

The feature has already been tried out in seven countries including Australia, Ireland, and Canada in recent months. When it was rolled out there, influencers complained that hiding likes would give them less leverage over brand deals and sponsored content now, celebrities are calling out the app for experimenting with removing likes, with some threatening to stop posting to Instagram.

Nicki Minaj says she won’t be posting on IG anymore.

Another rapper known for not holding back on sharing her opinions, threatened to stop posting on Instagram if the feature were to take effect. What indeed would we do with all the time we’d have without Instagram?

Nicki has a sort of conspiracy theory to explain what’s behind Instagram’s new move.

Minaj went on to tweet about her speculation that Instagram is hiding likes to manipulate what posts users get to see in their feed, regardless of how much engagement posts are getting. Nicki’s speculations might have some grounds. She referred to the well-documented phenomenon of YouTube view counts fluctuating after videos are posted, which can happen when YouTube determines views come from bots or other fraudulent sources.

Juicy J also had something to say about the new IG feature.

The rapper predicts backlash against the change, tweeting that he expected people to leave Instagram and go “back to real life.”

Others however, think that the decision to hide likes is a good thing.

Credit: kimkardashian / Instagram

Despite having more than 151 million Instagram followers and the platform being crucial to making some of her $350 million personal net worth, Kim Kardashian West seems to agree with Instagram’s decision to hide ‘likes’. “As far as mental health, I mean it’s something that taking the likes away and taking that aspect away from it would be really beneficial for people,” Kardashian West said during The New York Times’ DealBook conference last week.

Tracee Ellis Ross also voiced her support for the change.

Credit: traceellisross/ Instagram

Everyone’s favorite person on IG right now, Tracee Ellis Ross, is also in support of removing likes. She said that the like count had “adverse effects.” “It creates a culture that isn’t helpful for well-being and isn’t fruitful for creative energy,” during a panel discussion with Instagram’s CEO Adam Mosseri.

The popularity-contest-style pressure associated with Instagram likes will probably just shift to another one of the many metrics measured on the platform —or who knows, maybe the move will actually make everyone happy? Either way, the social media platform will be rolling out the new feature on a small group of users this week, whether we like it or not. And we’ll be keeping our eyes open to see what the change brings.