Beyond the Bio — TEDxBroadway Speaker Shakina Nayfack

Before we meet up at New World Stages on Tuesday, February 27 for TEDxBroadway (get your tickets here!), we wanted to take you beyond the bio to meet this year’s speakers. First up, meet Shakina Nayfack:
  • She’s originally from Southern California.
  • She enjoys an eclectic career as a performer, director, writer, producer and social activist.
  • She plays Lola on the Hulu comedy series Difficult People and is the founding Artistic Director of Musical Theatre Factory (

We asked Shakina …

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
A: “My dramatic theories professor at UC Santa Cruz, Peter Mostkoff, told me before I started graduate school: ‘At every great professional transition in your life, you have to face the fear that you’re going to be exposed as a fraud.’ This quote, which speaks to what might be commonly known as ‘Imposter Syndrome,’ has emboldened me through many moments of insecurity when I found myself at a career break-through.”

Q: What’s the last song you listened to?
A: “‘This is me’ by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul from the movie musical The Greatest Showman. Performed by Keala Settle as a bearded lady, the song spoke directly to the attitude I often have to cultivate to face the world as a non-binary transgender woman.”

Q: What’s on your bucket list?
A: “I really want to see the Northern Lights in person and finish my full-back tattoo.”

Q: What’s a talent you wish you had?
A: “For all the work I do in developing new musical theater, you would think by now that I would have learned to read sheet music and/or play piano. Nope, not yet.”

Q: What’s your personal motto?
A: “A friend made a poster of a motto I’m known for and it hangs in my office at Musical Theatre Factory: ‘the quality of work you do as an artist is only as valuable as the person you become while doing it.'”

Learn more at, on Twitter @shakeenz and Facebook.

See Shakina and more amazing speakers at TEDxBroadway 2018! Grab your tickets here, before they sell out. 

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