photographed by natalia mantini for use by 360 magazine

Julio Macias & Michaela Jae Rodriguez –LATINA Magazine

Michaela Jaé Rodriguez and Julio Macias are LATINA’s latest cover stars. MJ, the multi-hyphenate talent makes history again as LATINA’s first-ever trans cover star and Julio Macias graces his first-ever cover. The dual cover feature celebrates two rising figures in Hollywood that are paving the way for the new generation of Latinx talent in the entertainment industry. LATINA is committed to amplifying the diverse voices across all spaces, championing the next generation of Latinx creatives.

See Rising Mexican American actor Julio Macias‘s cover HERE.

Macias knew early in his career that he did not want to become pigeon-holed into roles that were placed in films to depict hostility and inflict fear. Macias gained a lot of gratitude and admiration after starring in the character of Oscar Diaz, a tough, East LA cholo that goes by “Spooky” and is committed to guarding his younger brother on the Netflix show “On My Block.” Macias said goodbye to the life-altering character in October. Oscar was able to shed light on and represent numerous Chicano fans that saw themselves in the character.

Macias has continued to share his experience of being a Mexican American in the entertainment industry. He continues to discuss themes surrounding his journey of immigrating to the US, the process of adapting to American culture and just the overall challenges that he’s had to face from his childhood to the present. When discussing the entertainment industry, Macias states “in retrospect, I look at it and I’m like, wow, the community as a whole wasn’t diverse enough for me to feel comfortable easing into it. It was very much, adapt or be an outsider.”

While chatting with Laura Sanchez on his path to where he is today, he reveals an experience from when he was cast in the Latino Theater Co.’s production of “A Mexican Trilogy,” written by Evelina Fernandez and directed by Jose Luis Valenzuela. Part of the production for “A Mexican Trilogy” was compromised of Chicano players, and this permitted Macias to discover more about his culture. The experience allowed for him to learn more about his culture that he hadn’t while growing up. He states, “I consider myself part of the Chicano culture…I want to teach it, I want to be a part of it and hold it truthfully. And even though I’ve never necessarily felt like an outsider, I understand that people still see me as an outsider, so how can I bridge that gap?”

Starring in LATINA’s surprise second cover, this is, too, Macias’ first cover moment. The dual cover was led by Latina’s Chief Content Officer, Camila Legaspi. Legaspi aimed to highlight innovators and rising forces in television. Legaspi discusses Macias, stating “”LATINA continues to amplify diverse individuals across all industries and it’s really exciting to have Julio Macias as our surprise dual cover star. He is an incredible rising talent in Hollywood and we are proud to highlight the next generation of creatives.”

Earlier this year, the beloved actress, singer, and activist Michaela Jaé Rodriguez smashed the glass ceiling by becoming the first trans actor nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her work on Pose. The multi-hyphenate talent makes history again as LATINA’s first-ever trans cover star.

Themed around Michaela Jaé Rodriguez’s ability to tell stories and real-life role both on and off-screen as a protector, the rising force opens up about her journey breaking into the industry, repping her hometown in Newark, NJ, and her Afro-Latinx identity, “One thing that I learned as an Afro-Latina, is that I should never, ever, ever be afraid — which I never was — but it was always instilled in me, to never be afraid of your heritage.”

See Michaela Jaé Rodriguez’s cover HERE.

Michaela Jaé reflects deeply on her Emmy achievement: “I feel like it was an ode to my ancestors on how hard they had to fight within the trans community. ​I feel like it was also an ode to my Latino and Black ancestors who never got a chance to see, you know, the ones thrive before them or see the ones thrive after them.”  And how she sees her beloved character, Blanca, as an inspiration. “I had my mother, I had my father, I had my second dad. I had the LGBTQIA community. I had all of those beautiful opportunities to be loved on. Blanca had none of that, and yet she still created it.”

It’s no surprise that the wunderkind has Hollywood and now the music industry buzzing. The self-proclaimed “regular girl from Newark” has captured the hearts of many and along the way has brought marginalized voices to the forefront.

Examining how her family support system, her Afro-Boricua identity, and her deep desire to entertain, have all intertwined beautifully in her life, LATINA uncovers that Ms. Rodriguez’s family is the life force that elevates and guards her, especially her mother. “She celebrates and embraces all of her intersections: Black, Latina, Puerto Rican, a Newarker; a performer, a woman, and a trans girl; all fluidly.”

photographed by natalia mantini for use by 360 magazine

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