Originally from Southern California, Shakina enjoys an eclectic career as a performer, director, writer, producer, and social activist. Most recently, Shakina played a guest starring role in the series finale of Amazon’s Transparent, a Musicale Finale on which Shakina was also a writer and producer. Her fans know for her work as Lola in Hulu’s cult-comedy series Difficult People. Shakina can also be seen on Marvel’s Jessica Jones (Netflix) and The Detour (TBS). Shakina’s autobiographical rock musicals One Woman Show (2013), Post-Op (2015), and Manifest Pussy (2106) all premiered to sold-out houses at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater in New York City. She has performed on Broadway in 24-Hour Plays and Gypsy Of The Year, as well as Off-Broadway in M.J. Kauffman's Masculinity Max at The Public Theater, and in Manuel Versus The Statue Of Liberty (As Lady Liberty).
Shakina received international attention for crowdfunding her gender confirmation with her 2014 KickStartHer campaign as well as her 2016 “Rebel Tour” of North Carolina, where she performed in protest of the anti-trans law HB2 (“The Bathroom Bill”). Shakina is also the Founding Artistic Director of Musical Theatre Factory (MTF), a non-profit artist service organization dedicated to developing new work. Through MTF Shakina has supported the development of numerous new musicals by the next generation of Broadway composers. Before starting Musical Theatre Factory, Shakina served as Associate Producer for Barrington Stage Company.
In 2015 Shakina received a Lilly Award recognizing the remarkable contributions to the American Theatre made by women. She is also a two-time Drama League fellow, having been selected for the New Musical Directing Fellowship (2011) and the Beatrice Terry Fellowship for women playwright/directors (2017), supporting the development of her new play, Chonburi International Hotel and Butterfly Club.
Shakina roots herself as a Butoh-inspired artist trained beneath Diego Piñón, founder of Body Ritual Movement. With an MFA in Experimental Choreography and a PhD in Critical Dance Studies (both from the University of California at Riverside), Shakina has pioneered her own Butoh for the Actor method, developed through master classes at the University of California at Santa Cruz, the Chicago Cultural Center, Casa del Teatro in Mexico City, Barrington Stage Company, The Drama League, the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, and most recently as adjunct faculty at NYU Tisch Drama. Shakina has written about her work with Diego Piñón in the anthology Dancing Across Borders (University of Illinois Press, 2009) and is a featured artist in The Routledge Companion to Butoh Performance (2018). She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Community Studies and Graduate Certificate in Theatre from UC Santa Cruz.