Fawzia Mirza’s Triple-Threat “Signature Move”

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By Emma Levine, Editorial Staff Writer

Writer, actress, and producer Fawzia Mirza is a triple-threat force to be reckoned with. She has worked in theater, film, and television; she aims to use storytelling, performance, and comedy to break down identity stereotypes. Mirza identifies as a “lesbian, Muslim, Pakistani, actor, activist, writer, producer, lawyer, [and] creature of passion,” Mirza often focuses her projects on LGBTQ issues, women, and stories of people of color.

She co-wrote, produced, and starred in her upcoming film Signature Move, which has gained traction on the festival circuit. It centers on a Muslim Pakistani lesbian who falls in love with a Mexican woman and tries to find her identity through love and professional wrestling. The film is inspired by Mirza’s own life experiences and explores the ways in which people can connect across cultures. Mirza explained: “Part of my job is connecting seemingly different communities together through art and stories.”

Mirza said that she feels responsible to “bring in authentic voices” through Signature Move and tell a different, lesser known story about the city of Chicago: “When people tell stories about Chicago, they talk about jazz, shootings, or mob life, but they don’t talk about how Chicago has one of the country’s largest populations of South Asian and Mexican people.”

Mirza has effectively combined entertainment and political activism on numerous occasions. She got her start in the theater world at Catharsis Productions, which produced her one-woman show called Me, My Mom and Sharmila. The piece tells the story of Mirza’s relationship with her mother through a shared love for actor Sharmila Tagore, and it was subsequently produced at the International Theatre Festival and Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre.

Mirza is also known for her web series following the adventures of Kameron Kardashian, the fictional lesbian sister of the Kardashian family. The series was named Project of The Week by Indiewire and has been applauded for its representation of LGBTQ characters. Mirza also appeared in Her Story, which is a six-part series on the lives of trans and queer women. In her political mockumentary The Muslim Trump, Mirza also recently created the character of Ayesha Ali Trump, who is Donald Trump’s fictional, illegitimate Muslim daughter. According to Jezebel, the “darkly satirical” piece “delivers an unconventional study on intersectionality, multiculturalism, and what it means to be American – which is something we desperately need now, more than ever.”

Through all of her work, Mirza is committed to dispelling the myth of the “model minority.” Her work humanizes people and breaks down stereotypes regarding race, religion, gender, and identity, refusing to create “safe” minority characters created to cater to the majority. Mirza believes that “all of us – whatever kind of minority or category we fit into or identify with – we are all flawed and we’re all just human beings… I just want to be able to portray people and those people end up being whatever identity they are.”

Look for Mirza’s stereotype-busting, humanizing feature film Signature Move, which hit theaters on October 13th. To hear more about the co-writer, producer, and star of the film, attend Fusion’s screening of Signature Move on Thursday, October 26th and stick around for a conversation with Mirza herself!