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Transgender actress Shakina Nayfack joins Hulu's "Difficult People" cast
From a press release
2016-04-08

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"Difficult People" hails from the comedic minds of Julie Klausner ( "Ugly Americans" ) and Billy Eichner ( Emmy-nominated "Billy on the Streets" ), who star as themselves. As best friends living in New York City, their typical, irreverent behavior lands them in some very awkward situation. Ms. Nayfack joins the cast as the opinionated Lola, a new waitress at D's Café. In Lola's debut episode, Epstein struggles with fears of being labeled transphobic on social media by rebutting some of Lola's more controversial opinions.

"Shakina is an accomplished performance artist and an incredibly impressive theater producer, performer, writer and director," says Difficult People creator and star Julie Klausner. "We connected to her raw sense of humor, her tenacity, her eagerness to use comedy to tackle social injustice, and, of course, her love of the show already! We were impressed right away by Shakina's academic pedigree, her combination of irreverence and emotional warmth, her sense of adventure, and her kindness." Nayfack worked closely with Klausner to further define the character. "Shakina is responsible for some of Lola's funniest and most outrageous lines. We are so lucky to have her," she says.

"In the quest for transgender visibility we've only been introduced to sympathetic roles that rely on victimization or stereotypes in order to elicit empathy from our audiences," Nayfack says. "I am thrilled that Julie Klausner and Hulu have created the character of Lola. It is so refreshing to be able to play a trans woman who is funny, confrontational, and just as difficult as everyone else on the show. You're gonna love Lola because she's strong and opinionated and crass, not because she's getting bashed, locked up, or wrestling with coming out."

Difficult People season 2 begins later this year. Season 1 is available now on Hulu.

Shakina Nayfack is 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. Her autobiographical rock musicals One Woman Show ( 2013 ) and Post-Op ( 2015 ) both premiered to sold-out houses at Joe's Pub, and will be returning to the Public Theater for encore engagements in June, 2016. The shows bookended her groundbreaking KickStartHer campaign to crowd-fund gender confirmation surgery. Shakina was also recently seen in Manuel Versus the Statue of Liberty at the New York Musical Theatre Festival, where she was presented with an Outstanding Individual Performance Award for her portrayal of Lady Liberty. This summer she will be joining the cast of the Hulu original comedy series "Difficult People". Shakina is also the Founding Artistic Director of Musical Theatre Factory ( MTF ), a volunteer-based organization dedicated to helping musical theatre artists develop and present new work. The New York Times calls MTF "Heart Healing Musical Theatre" in "Broadway's Back Yard." More information can be found at www.MTF.nyc. MFA, PhD, SAG-AFTRA, SDC.

For more information on Shakina Nayfack please visit shakina.nyc .


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