“If I was a menu item, I’d be a superfood bowl of rainbow quinoa, chicken tikka, rice and beans”
I grew up with a Mexican mamá and a Pakistani pops in a Black’a’Rican neighborhood in inner-city Chicago. I’ve also spent some of my childhood in bordertown Brownsville, Texas – where I got a bit of southern twang among a ton of other wild experiences. After some time in Texas, we headed back to Chicago where I dove into tech and the arts – dance, music, theater and writing, to navigate life within inner-city Chicago.
To cope with being bicultural, my sisters and I played around with our Mexican & Pakistani identities, which led me into sketch comedy while trying to be pre-med in college. After my #PreMedFail, I began training at Second City Conservatory and other acting schools in Chicago and LA. I’m super proud to have been a part of Teatro Luna, co-founded by Tanya Saracho and Coya Paz – where I created and performed the first version of Mexistani in August 2004. I’ve also worked with with Salsation! Latinx Sketch Comedy Troupe, Steppenwolf’s Sketchbook Comedy Festival, Rasaka South Asian Theater Company, CASA 0101 and LA’s Funny Women Festival.
Most recently, I’ve been virtually performing excerpts of my one-woman show MexiStani: Growing Up Mexican and Pakistani in America since its sold-out, award-winning premiere at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. I’ve also been writing, my short film, “Ground Nuts,” was the official selection for the Lakeview and Hyderabad International Film Festivals and has won awards for Best Comedy and nominated for Best Actress at the Couch Film Festival and Toronto’s Alternative Film Festival, respectively.