In a new interview, Pose star Indya Moore opened up about doing sex work in the past and admitted they were worried it would hurt their acting career.
Moore told Jane Mulkerrins of the Evening Standard, a daily tabloid based in the U.K., that their role as Angel, a trans sex worker on FX’s Emmy-winning series, has been liberating. “It has really destigmatized sex work, not only for people watching the show, but for me, too,” they said. “I had internalized so much shame, I felt really ashamed of having been a sex worker.”
Before joining the hit show about 1980s ballroom culture in New York City, Moore said they were concerned that being involved in the sex work industry would limit their opportunities in Hollywood. “It was something that I feared I would be outed for and that it would harm me,” they said.
Being able to talk about it openly has been “really beautiful and liberating” for Moore and is something they never thought they’d be able to do.
Plenty has been said about how Pose is helping trans people, queer people, and Black and Latinx queer and trans people be seen, but not as much has been said about the work the show is doing to destigmatize sex work.
Until a few years ago, when audiences would see a trans woman on screen, she’d almost always be a sex worker, often a nameless one who gets assaulted, murdered, and quickly forgotten. Pose is flipping that on its head. Several characters on the show have done sex work, including Angel (Moore), Elektra (Dominique Jackson), and Candy (Angelica Ross), but instead of being ridiculed or mocked, all of these characters are treated with respect and dignity.
We also get to see what it’s like being a trans sex worker through the eyes of these trans women, not the eyes of their cis customers or the police who investigate their murders. Even when one of them is murdered, she isn’t erased; her memory lives on, with the character coming back to the other characters in visions.
Moore is far from the only trans person who’s engaged in sex work, and as there are more positive depictions of sex workers on screen, that makes it easier for other trans people to talk about it.
Moore loves being a part of a show that helps to do that, saying the experience is “beautiful.”
“I work in a place where people are really intentional about using their power and access to uplift creatives who are marginalized and would otherwise not be given a chance,” they said.
The first season of Pose is currently available for streaming on Netflix, and Season Two recently finished airing on FX.