“Pose” Star Indya Moore Takes Her LGBTQ Fight to the Streets

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Indya Moore in FX's "Pose"

Indya Moore’s impossibly glamorous face currently graces the cover of Elle magazine. Theirs is the first trans face ever to do so. Today, that face is also all over social media for going aggro on a Trump supporter yesterday.

Moore plays Angel Evangelista, one of the central characters on the ballroom drama Pose, which begins its second season tonight on FX.

TMZ posted a video of the altercation, which reportedly took place Monday morning outside the studios where the series is shot. According to those present, the partisan positioned himself outside with a poster advocating the president’s re-election. That intentional confrontation incensed Moore. After a few words were exchanged, the actor crushed the sign underfoot and then attempted to then cart it away. That’s when things got physical.

The Pose performer is happy to let anyone know that they (Moore identifies as non-binary) come from scrappy origins and doesn’t intimidate easily.

Yesterday’s disrespect has been a part of Moore’s life for years — even from beloved family members. “By religious law or idea or beliefs,” the actor says, they “misconceptualized the way I experienced my gender — the way they saw me performing; my identity or who I was — as bad behavior. So I got my ass beat. All my siblings; we all got our asses beat. My beatings were unique, because it wasn’t just about stealing. Or lying. Or just talking back. It was, ’Stop standing with your hand on your hip.’ It was behaviors. And this is not just our family. This is a lot our families, religious families who beat their kids. A lot of this is indoctrinated belief systems that are generational.”

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In Transit

As a result, much of Moore’s early life was spent in a string of foster homes. By adulthood, they had lived in every one of NYC’s five boroughs. “Navigating that was really tough because I moved from foster home to foster home a lot,” the actor confides. “I didn’t get to stay in one place long enough to develop a structure. So the people who were in my community? I didn’t have a really stable relationship with anyone. Someone was always talking bad behind my back, or doing things that were triggering enough for me not to feel safe for too long. I didn’t even have a very stable component of chosen families. I seemed to have tension with any space that I felt safety in just for a little bit.”

Reconciliation has happened since, and Moore says that in retrospect, it’s not hard to understand. “It’s a generational issue,” is the explanation. “My family had to forgive their family, too. It’s intention versus impact, you know? We mean well, but we still cause harm. My family did intend to protect me. I think that they that they loved me very much and that’s why I ended up in the position that I did. I don’t think it’s necessarily their fault, because they thought they were being spiritually righteous. I think that what they thought of as queer behavior would block or prevent me from having access to God.”

We Are Family

Eventually Moore found a spiritual family who were embracing, accepting and empowering. Moore gratefully remembers “those of us who were lucky enough to find a space or a group of people that were actually there for one another no matter what: That helped them to survive.”

Now Moore feels fortunate to be in a position to make a difference — not just in the world of entertainment, but in the global conversation taking place about gender conformity.

“When I was little, I wanted to be a star and all of that,” Moore admits. “But as I’ve gotten older and more mature, I’ve stepped out of self and stepped into more of who I am as a human and the things I’m doing. And how is that going to contribute to the world? So I feel blessed. It sounds redundant saying that, but there’s no stronger word.”

Ryan’s Hope

When Moore auditioned for Pose, the goal was to play Blanca Evangelista, the house mother who strikes out to build a new family while fighting HIV infection and poverty.

“They were happy with my audition,” Moore recalls. “I wanted to go for Blanca. I didn’t know what the characters were going to be, but I related with her feeling like she wasn’t as pretty as the other girls in the ways that she felt. And I related to her not feeling comfortable or happy with the dynamics in the house because I had that experience myself in the ballroom scene, not feeling that it was family enough. So I thought I’d love to contribute to that character.”

Series creators Ryan Murphy and Steven Canals saw the model and actor differently: “I think they had a vision of what Pose would look like before I came in,” muses Moore. “I won’t take away the possibility that in some way I may have influenced some of what they were inspired to write, or the way they developed our characters to be. But I already related to a lot of what Angel’s story had been.”

Angel Takes Flight

In the first season, Moore’s character falls for a married man (Murphy mainstay Evan Peters), and teeters between turning tricks on the piers of New York and wanting to believe life could offer something better. Maybe, More says, that explains how the creators made their casting choice.

“I’m dabbling in the fashion modeling world, and Angel’s aspiring to do that,” they say. “I think to some degree I may have inspired that. But I also believe Tracey Africa has inspired that, because Tracey Africa was the first trans woman to do that around the same time. She’s also black, and really important. She was the first trans person to be on the Clairol box in the pharmacy.”

Yes, grants Moore, there is brilliant sheen to Pose — and its costumes, dancing and ballroom beauty can leave the impression that it’s one big party. But there’s also a good deal of pressure to make the most of every moment on set.

“It’s often really fun,” says Moore. “We get the work. we do it and it’s really incredible and beautiful to be here. But I feel the most humble when it gets tough — when we all of a sudden are bombarded with a collage of work, when we’re working 17 hours in a day. When it’s 1 am and we gotta get those lines like it’s 9 am.”

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Last modified: July 23, 2019