Originally from Southern California, Shakina has enjoyed an eclectic career as a performer, director, writer, producer, and social activist. In 2015 she became the first transgender woman to receive a Lilly Award recognizing the remarkable contributions to the American Theatre made by women. In 2016 she joined the cast of the Hulu original comedy series Difficult People as the first transgender actress in a comedic role on Television. She also serves as a consulting writer on the show.
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 received international attention for crowdfunding her gender confirmation with her 2014 KickStartHer campaign as well as her recent “rebel tour” of North Carolina, where she performed in protest of the anti-trans law HB2 (“The Bathroom Bill”).
In 2014 Shakina founded Musical Theatre Factory (MTF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing new work for which she serves as Artistic Director. In 2016 MTF became a resident company at Playwrights Horizons in New York City. Through MTF Shakina has supported the development of more than 90 new musicals.
Shakina is also a third generation Butoh artist trained beneath Diego Piñón, founder of Butoh Ritual Mexicano. With an MFA in Experimental Choreography and a PhD in Critical Dance Studies (both from the University of California at Riverside), Shakina has written about her work with Diego Piñón in her book, Butoh Ritual Mexicano: Alchemy is Dancing and the anthology Dancing Across Borders (University of Illinois Press, 2009). Shakina is also co-writing a rock opera entitled JUNK with the Swedish rock band Brainpool, and has blogged for Playbill.com and BrokeAssStuart.com.