This Week’s Most Devastating “Pose” Reads: “In My Heels” Edition

The shadiest shade and most scorching burns from the season finale.

The Pose “Reading Is Fundamental” Library is open. This week: “In My Heels”
Previously: “Life’s a Beach

Well, after last week’s super-fun, neon-colored girls trip, Pose jumped to May 1991. Blanca (Mj Rodriguez) is now a sad, old, childless woman doing nails out of her apartment when Pray Tell (Billy Porter) finds her and checks her into a hospital. Mom’s sickness is getting worse, so Pray gathers Blanca’s family, with the exception of Damon (Ryan Jamaal Swain), who’s still in Europe.

With Blanca ostensibly on her deathbed, leave it to Elektra (Dominique Jackson) to worry about the important things.

With the family gathered by Blanca’s side, Pray wonders why no one’s been showing up to the balls lately. For the girls, anyway, it seems there’s not much for them there, Elektra explains. The ballroom scene, like the rest of the world, is male-dominated, and the women justly feel some type of way about being judged by cisgender men who don’t know, and therefore can’t appreciate, the effort they put into their presentations.

So at the emcee council-kiki we’ve all grown to love and expect, Pray brings up these grievances, which is met by the only solution anyone on Pose ever seems to have.

In all fairness, a stunt/caper/heist may not be the best or most practical option here, but it’s certainly the most fun. The emcees decide to literally walk a mile, or rather, the runway, in the shoes of the women they sit back and judge ever so harshly, in a classic category.

Pray, however, doesn’t want to “trivialize what these women go through, how they live, who they are,” but his fellow emcees reassure him that throwing on a heel would at the very least humble them, create empathy, and foster solidarity. And thus, Pray seconds that emotion and the council approves.

Honestly, I wish Congress was this efficient, fly, and color-coordinated.

Meanwhile, the shit has finally hit the fan in Angel’s (Indya Moore) modeling career—and wouldn’t you know it, the one who threw the poo was none other than some bitter queen from within the community.

And not that pervy photog who tried to blackmail Angel. We’re supposed to be uplifting each other, sis! Thankfully we get this stunning and severe Robert Palmer “Addicted to Love” photo shoot before the walls come crashing down.

To her credit, Ms. Ford (Trudie Styler) is not as much of a monster as everyone else in the industry, who has dropped Angel quicker than she (allegedly) dropped her cocaine habit.

But Lil Papi (Angel Bismark Curiel) won’t let Angel give up, and takes it upon himself to start his own talent agency, with the backing of Eileen Ford, which exclusively serves trans women. Say hello to Esteban Martinez Management! The only bit of advice Ford gives him is not to knock on people’s doors while they’re eating dinner.

You know he would, has, and will. But that persistence pays off when he lands Angel a modeling job in Berlin, for which she doesn’t have to hide who she is. But then—twist!

Angel and Papi already have an unconventional relationship, so when Angel gets down on one knee to propose…

Papi doesn’t even give her a chance to pop the question, and the two of them end up proposing to each other, which is the cutest thing that ever happened.

As Blanca is finally, thankfully, feeling better, Damon comes home from Europe, where he’s started his own chapter of the House of Evangelista.

That’s right, little Damon is a father! And daddy came back just in time to help Blanca make her triumphant return to the ballroom, where she pulls quite the stunt, lip-synching to one of the greatest vocal feats in history: Whitney Houston’s “Star-Spangled Banner.”

As we all know, this is the only version of our national anthem, and here it is given the dramatic treatment it deserves—reveal and all.

Then, once all the wigs have been snatched, the butch queens take the stage. Ricky (Dyllón Burnside) is serving you Janet Ms. Jackson If You’re Nasty.

The emcees are your Dreamgirls, boy, they’ll make you happy.

And Pray is, naturally, Miss Ross.

Ricky, for one, is here for it.

Finally, I don’t even know why I bother giving this award out every week since Elektra is always the winner, so in that spirit, I’m renaming the Reading Is Fundamental Excellence in Shade Award the Elektra Abundance Reading Vanguard Award, which was cemented with this masterpiece:

At the last ball of the year/TV season, Elektra Abundance justly claims the title of Mother of the Year—in one of her best looks to date.

Wintour, indeed, came.


Karma is a shady-ass bitch.

A shady-ass bitch who will blast your age all over the newspaper.

Frederica Norman will not NOT be rich!

Also, bravo for the two fags who wrote this episode (Ryan Murphy and Steven Canals, with noted heterosexual Brad Falchuk) for giving Patti LuPone this completely unnecessary and uncalled-for monologue about female empowerment to justify her burning Blanca’s nail salon to the ground. But, like, you didn’t strike a blow for women’s lib, sis—you just set a trans woman of color’s business and her biggest dream ablaze. Still, this entire season of Pose has been Patts LuPone grandstanding, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.

Speaking of Miss LuPone, the dress Angel wore in the ballroom scene is the same one she wore when she won the Tony for Evita.

Which may be the gayest sentence that ever existed. Also, hey Bea!

Shout-out to Ricky for saying what a lot of these masc-for-masc queens need to hear.

In a fringed, slingback, hot pink cowboy boot, no less. Hot.

And how cute are these new kids Blanca picked up off the street?

Gaying it forward!

Though we took a break last week to honor the undiluted hotness of Adrian, let’s give it up one last time for the ultimate boyfriend (get it, Janet Mock!) Lil Papi.

Yes, Papi be foine, but the fact that he took it upon himself to use his hustling superpowers to represent trans women speaks to what a mensch he is. Here’s to the Martinezes!

Well, kids, that’s the last Reading Is Fundamental Library session of the year. To catch up on the rest of the season’s literary highlights, check out our very special recap Library here.

Lester Fabian Brathwaite is an LA-based writer, editor, bon vivant, and all-around sassbag. He's formerly Senior Editor of Out Magazine and is currently hungry. Insta: @lefabrat