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Name: Steven Canals
Role: Pose Co-Creator, Co-Executive Producer and Writer
Previous Work: Dead of Summer, Afuera
What’s the experience been like for you to finally see the world watch and react to Pose?
Steven Canals: The response to Pose has been so positive. I’m glad the story is resonating with viewers at home. All I’ve ever wanted as a storyteller is to create art that allows others to be seen and heard. What a privilege that I get to do just that.
Can you talk about your journey from writing the pilot to seeing your vision come to life?
It’s been an emotional journey. I wrote the original draft of Pose in 2014 while completing my MFA in screenwriting at UCLA. A year later I signed with managers on the strength of that pilot and began taking general meetings. The feedback at the time was, "it’s too niche." Most network executives questioned who the audience for the show is. I placed Pose in my "passion project" pile and assumed it might never get made. That I’m now collaborating with Ryan Murphy and FX is a dream.
What have been your favorite moments from this season?
There have been so many. The very first day of filming was special—to know that this story and these characters would be entering homes for several weeks is beyond. Live tweeting during the pilot airing with our Pose Family and seeing the love pour in from around the world was also incredible. Our last day of filming the season was also very emotional and special. Mj [Rodriguez] and Dominique [Jackson] gave beautiful, heartfelt, speeches to the crew and producers. There were no dry eyes!
The show is set in the ‘80s but it’s still incredibly relevant today. Why do you think that is?
The themes of Pose are universal. This is a show about (chosen) family. We’re exploring themes like resilience, ambition, loss and hope. The stories are relatable.
Who or what inspires you? What has inspired you during your creation of the show?
Inspiration is everywhere. I’m inspired by nature, art, music, my friends and family. Pose was inspired by the ballroom community. Ballroom members are intrepid and have verve. I thought it would be important for audiences to see people of color, who also happen to be LGBTQ, thriving.
Why do you think FX was the right home for Pose?
Simply put: FX is fearless. They aren’t afraid to be bold. And they allow creators to tell an authentic story.
What is your reaction knowing that Pose has had such a huge impact around the world?
It’s warms my heart to know that we have an active audience loving what we’ve created. Pose was created with the intention of celebrating the beauty and breadth of Trans and Queer, Black and Brown, experience. Pose accepts, embraces, and affirms identity. I’m humbled that our audience is responding to, and spreading, this important message of love.
What have you learned about yourself since beginning work on this project?
I’ve learned quite a bit—what my strengths are as a storyteller, and what areas I can make improvements. I’ve learned that I should never make apologies telling an authentic and truthful story. I’ve learned how to be more kind—to myself and others. I’ve learned how to be a better active listener. And I’ve learned how to be 2 percent less neurotic. Haha.
If you could have your own house, what would its name be and why?
The House of Prime. I’m too embarrassed to tell the real reason so I’ll just say I love the word and what it means, whether used as an adjective (of first importance) or a noun (a time of great strength or success).
Watch every episode of Pose on FXNOW.