Dominique Jackson is really in her prime, with only greater things down the line. She came to the fore on FX's Pose, the Ryan Murphy-backed, Steven Canals-created show about the ballroom scene. Jackson stood out from the show's other leads as she is a long standing member of, and icon for, that community, now with the chance to help shape its perception in the mainstream. In the midst of that success, Jackson has booked gigs with Valentino, walked the runway for Marco Marco, and even picked up work on season three of Starz' American Gods. Now, she's telling the story of how she got there.
"You know, for quite a while I really didn't get into holidays and stuff like that because there was so much more going on, I really couldn't put up photos before, " Jackson said on the first episode of the Hulu Original Defining Moments with OZY series. "I didn't value my life so I didn't celebrate myself by putting up photos because I was living in survival mode."
In the feature, Jackson describes growing up in Trinidad and Tobago. She explains that she would have never come out on the island as the only person they ever saw that was trans was discarded by society. She experienced homophobia and transphobia from her family and those around her after knowing that something was wrong at age four. While things have certainly been a journey with Jackson and her family, even in the feature, her mother with whom she has recently reconnected, still refers to her with he/him pronouns repeatedly.
While in Tobago, Jackson also describes being sexually assaulted by a priest of the Anglican Church while she was an acolyte around the age of 11. At the time, her mother had relocated to the United States and Jackson was living with her grandmother. Shortly after the incident, she moved to America as well where ballroom saved her literal life.
In the ballroom world, Jackson is known as Tyra Allure Ross Margiela. She's likened to Janet Jackson and Naomi Campbell in regards to her stature in the scene as ballroom historian Michael Roberson explained. While she was building this influential, celebrity status though, she was falling on hard times personally being estranged from her family, in addition to being without work as she had no green card.
"Sex work made me feel like I was nothing, I was dirt," she said.
Later in the feature, Jackson reconnects with her mother and other members of her family, and talks about her extensive work in activism, namely with Destination Tomorrow.
"It's a place where people of color can come to and actually feel like they are being serviced by people who have actually lived the experiences they are going through," she said. Jackson is now able to help those who are currently in positions she once was in.
But this new visibility, though welcome, does not come without drawbacks. It brings with it, new dangers, and for that reason she keeps her personal security, turned personal manager, and now boyfriend: Edwin.