Michaela Jaé Rodriguez's Off-Duty Looks Still Deliver High-Fashion

Never not serving.

michaela jae rodriguez off-duty style

Never one to shy away from an extravagant ensemble, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez has quickly mastered the art of commanding a red carpet. Her formal looks to date are the stuff of couture dreams. We all remember when she graced the 2023 Golden Globes in a navy Balmain creation, featuring a full-length frontal bow. Although recent, the bold gown is one that stands out to Rodriguez among her robust repertoire of major style moments. “It was one of my favorite looks,” she says at TZR’s annual ZOEasis event in Thermal, California on April 15. “I was surprised that I was even able to snag that. But just the whole look of it, it was very avant-garde. It was couture. It looked like a present mixed with an aquatic butterfly, and I wanted to look different. I don't think I could ever forget that. That was the night.”

This moment simply scratches the surface of the risks and bold moves the actor is willing to make in the name of fashion. And while one might assume Rodriguez’s everyday wear might be a bit more understated, rest assured TZR’s cover star still serves. “I would say off-duty Michaela Jaé is definitely in a T-shirt and some cute little short shorts with a label boot,” she says. “A Louis Vuitton boot, a Gucci boot, but very simple. Nice flats. Still giving body.”

Monica Schipper/The Hollywood Reporter/Getty Images

Giving body indeed. In fact, on that hot desert day during Coachella weekend, the Pose star was doing just that, donning an all-denim ensemble complete with cropped corset, roomy wide-legged pants, and coordinating handbag. “I wanted to give denim dreams,” she says playfully. “I haven't worn denim on denim in a long time and I wanted to really accomplish that in Coachella. I mean, I feel like it's the vibe for it, so why not?”

If you feel like you’re getting ‘90s supermodel from the statuesque Rodriguez, you’d be fair in your analysis as the covergirls of yore are actually who inspire her present-day style. In fact, there’s one in particular who she holds in especially high esteem. “I'll say Naomi Campbell is a very big inspiration and an icon,” she says. “You look at her in all these campaigns and you're just like, ‘Wow, how do you continue to still manage to look like that and still manage to just be fabulous?’”

Shutterstock by BDG

In the same breath, Rodriguez pays homage to another fashion icon: the late André Leon Talley. “He's always been my go-to when it comes to traditional fashion,” she says with a tone of reverence. “Very eloquent, very unique, very abstract.”

With such aspirational influences, it’s no surprise Rodriguez’s style journey has been so intentional, daring, and unique. She has a true respect and thoughtfulness about the way she dresses and the designers she chooses to work with. And while she’s rarely met a trend she wouldn’t try, there’s one specific style essential that will never have a place in her wardrobe.

“A cardigan,” she says without hesitation. “I don't know if a cardigan is the kind of garment for me, but I've strayed very far away from it. I've tried them on, I've gone back and forth and I'm like, ‘Yeah, we're going to just release that.’ I love being cute and sexy and fun. And I feel like it does give a bit [too much] conservative for me.”