Tribute to Mothers: Dominique Jackson


Actress and advocate Dominque Jackson just wrapped shooting the third and final season of the FX drama “Pose.” In March 2021, she appeared on the Mugler runway in an iconic sheer design next to fashion staples like Bella Hadid and Alek Wek as well as Euphoria’s breakout star Hunter Schafer. She appeared in Vogue España and guest-judged on HBO’s “Legendary” in season one.

In “Pose,” Jackson brought to life the fictional character of Elektra Abundance based on her immigration experience from Trinidad-Tobago to the United States as a non-gender conforming minority. Jackson lived through homelessness before being introduced to the ballroom scene, which launched her modeling and acting career. Jackson’s Elektra is a stern, funny, charismatic house-mother to her children – younger orphaned or abandoned fledgling artists who found love and acceptance in the ballroom community of New York City.

Elektra’s position in the ballroom scene is largely linked to her ability to provide for her children, which is, in turn, intrinsically linked to her season one relationship with Dick Ford (played by Christopher Meloni) who finances her lifestyle but ultimately rejects Elektra following her gender-confirmation surgery. To provide for her family, Elektra turns to the dark side of sex work, a feat that Jackson manages to make equally entertaining, shocking and humorous. Ultimately, Jackson’s Elektra founds a second house, the House of Wintour, a sanctuary for grooming for success in the ballroom world.

House-mother Elektra is the main antagonist on “Pose,” and Jackson struggled to separate her character’s approach to life, which often pins her children against her or in uncomfortable situations, from her own. She eventually became clinically depressed.

“When I first read for the auditions, I saw the power in her, but when we actually convened on set and I had to deliver those lines to beautiful Blanca and speak to my children that way—it was so far off from me,” Jackson said.

Fans of the series oftentimes are also unable to separate her personality from Elektra’s. “I was outside of Saks [one day] and this woman comes up to me and she says to me ‘Oh, you play Elektra!’ and she just goes off on me!” she said. “She’s like ‘How could you do that to Blanca?’ And she read me to filth. But in that instance, I had to stop and think, you know what? She’s not separating Elektra from Dominique.

“So I smiled and said ‘Well thank you, ma’am. You’re letting me know that I’m doing a good job,’ and that was how I was kind of able to overcome that.”