'Pose' Star Angelica Ross: I Chose Authenticity Over Ex-Fiancé

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday June 17, 2021

"Pose" and "American Horror Story" star Angelica Ross once had a "handsome" fiancé and says it "would have maybe worked had I chosen to be stealth, live in his shadow and protect his image of being a straight male in the world or whatever." But she dumped him after eight years, choosing to live authentically instead as an out trans woman.

Ross made the revelation during the virtual ATX TV Festival, where she accepted "the festival's inaugural Breakthrough Award," Page Six reports. Though she "did not disclose when the couple dated or broke up," the actress "said that for many people in the trans community, a situation like that can seem as good as it's going to get."

"Even with the fact that he won't really take you home to see his family or they honk outside the door and take him to dinner or ... threaten your relationship all the time or whatever, this is the best it's going to get," the actress continued. "The audacity that I had to say that I deserve more and to love myself enough to leave that and bet on myself after years of having to figure it out."

Ross had not always had such audacity. She also recalled being "terrified of being found out" during her years in college: "In my acting classes... I was just so nervous. My teachers didn't know, no one knew because for my safety on campus."

Ross also intuited that she would never fulfill her potential in acting as long as she was "hiding parts of myself in the sense that as an actor you need to be able to let go into the role and not be worried about what I look like, what I sound like."

Now that she lives openly, Ross put the world on notice, saying, "Even though I'm 40 years old, you are seeing me just break the surface."

Last year, Ross walked away from another relationship when she discovered that a man she'd begun dating had a fianceé and child she knew nothing about.

Thanks to the "AMAZING" capabilities of social media, Ross was tipped off to the man's existing relationship and told her followers: "I've been talking to the mother of his son and fiancé all morning. #PlotTwist!"

Ross played Candy on "Pose," which was created and produced by Ryan Murphy and centers on New York's ballroom scene in the 1980s. The FX show had its third and final season earlier this month. The series bid farewell to Candy in an emotional Season 2 episode in which Ross' character is murdered, a scene that mirrors the real-life violence that is too often directed at trans women of color.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.