‘Pose’s’ Mj Rodriguez lost loved ones to coronavirus. Art has been her refuge

Mj Rodriguez in a scene from "Pose."

Mj Rodriguez in a scene from “Pose.”

(JoJo Whilden / FX)

In the second episode of The Times’ new TV podcast, “Can’t Stop Watching,” host and staff writer Yvonne Villarreal asks “Pose’s” irrepressible house mother, Mj Rodriguez, about handling her fears of exposure to the coronavirus during the early stages of the pandemic:

I’m an extreme hypochondriac. If I get a cut, I think I have the worst deadly disease ever and it might just be a regular paper cut. I was definitely on edge in the beginning stages of everything happening. I was taking all precautions — putting gloves on, taping around my gloves — so I wouldn’t either be infected or infect other people ... I don’t want to hurt anyone. I don’t want to put them in the line of fire if I do have this.

Production on Season 3 of the Emmy-winning FX drama halted over coronavirus concerns just eight days into shooting. We caught up with Rodriguez to discuss her most important TV influences, drawing anime to stay sane under self-quarantine and confronting the death of her grandmother and her aunt from COVID-19. Listen to the full interview in Episode 2 of “Can’t Stop Watching,” and be sure to listen to our conversations with “Stranger Things’” David Harbour and “This Is Us” star Milo Ventimiglia.