Shukri Abdi: Producer, Writer and Performer
We are always interested in hearing from women who are making their way in demanding and stressful situations, especially those who manage to do so with humility, perspective and humor. Enter our fifth guest, Shukri Abdi! Shukri is not afraid to talk about what it's like to make your way in Hollywood while also maintaing relationships and being excited for other women who are, in Shukri's words, "Blowing out the damn sky!" Get to know Shukri in the episode below.
WD: What is your work/occupation?
SA: TV Producer/Writer/Performer[improve and sketch.
WD: Is your personal life currently changing?
SA: In theory , I'll get married this year. Originally, it looked like I was gonna do it last year, but time can get away from ya and other things come up. I love John to pieces, but I'm not interested in planning a wedding. I just want to show up to the altar and be like "yeah",and keep it moving. I threw a fake wedding for myself a few years ago, and got the wedding bug out of my system, so it's probably why I am over it. I also want to save my money for other things like burritos.
If I can get my act together, I'd like to start trying for a kid next year. Late next year. Like December 31st.Not sure if my body can host a baby, but we'll see.If it can't i'll be sad, but i'll continue to go hard in the paint of my career, and feel less pressure to start a family, and then I can adopt somebody at a later date. Maybe in 5 years.
WD: What is the most satisfying aspect of your personal life?
SA: 1. Making sure John [my SO] doesn't feel like he's getting garbage time with me. [See, when I'm not MIA working on a TV show, I'm constantly in class or doing stage shows, or watching stage shows, or in practice with teams,or in rehearsal with teams, or prepping for auditions,or putting myself on tape etc.] My friends rarely see me. I used to have all the free time in the world to hang. There is currently no balance.
2. Having to negotiate a timetable [with myself] re: starting a family, because I feel like I have momentum going professionally and I don't want to mess with it.
3. When I have free time, I'm always playing catch up on responsible adult stuff...paying bills...maintaining a home...financial planning...I"m not the greatest at it, but I'v been working on it. This is a challenge, because I'm still trying to grow, but there isn't much time to do it.Sometimes,I'd rather sleep or stare into the void. My day planner [witch is an extension of myself] is nuts.
WD: What is the most satisfying aspect of your personal life?
SA: Having family and a significant other who believe in me. Sometimes more than I believe in myself. They help me be comfortable being uncomfortable. We talk things out, support one another. Even though I met John after decided to switch up my career, I know I stuck with it, in large part because of his support. I'm surprised I met a guy like John, especially in Los Angeles, and we met in real life. Dude is so solid. And f(*&ing smart. And easy on the eyes, I'm so happy I ended up with someone who is good looking. Yeah, thats the most satisfying aspect of my personal life. I got a tasty ginger I get to snack on when the world is shitting on me.
WD: What is your biggest challenge professionally ?
SA: When it comes to producing TV: Not completely losing myself when I sign on to do a show. Sometimes it feels out of my control, because the culture of many of these shows is that they own you. But on Black Card Revoked (BCR), I let them have all of me, because it was a tight timetable, and I wanted to give the powers-that-be the best end product possible.Also, in terms of responsibilities, it was a great opportunity for me, so I wanted to do a good job, but many other things suffered.
When it comes to performing: 1. Self promoting. It feels narcissistic and I don't like it. 2. Owning my greatness. Feels even weird to type out that I'm great.I hate that I can be a shrinking violet. When I come to full terms with my badassery and sharing that unapologetically with the world, I will be unstoppable.Sigh. I'm working on it.
WD: What part of your life comes easiest to you?
SA: Telling people what to do. Strategizing. Problem-solving. Being a producer, you are a professional problem solver and solution implementer. It can be hard to turn that off. Sometimes I need to turn it off, because it isn't/shouldn't be my responsibility to produce everything. Also, it's a side of me that isn't "fun, fun, fun, Shukri!!", it's more like a "get shit done Shukri", and she's INTENSE AF.
WD: How has your professional life been impacted by your personal life?
SA: I chase things harder now. I want to have kids soon, so I'm trying to make enough gains before having to make the huge shift. Right now, I feel like those songs in Hamilton where they ask, "why do you write like you're running out of time"...Um...BECAUSE I AM! I GOTTA GET SHIT DONE!! AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
WD: What part of each day do you look forward to most?
SA: Getting home to John. Hearing about his day and telling him about mine. We usually have a very small window of overlap.
WD: Who are the women who are most inspiring to you?
SA: Not to get all Sarah Palin-level of folksy on ya, but I'd have to say I'm most inspired by every day women who are just trying their best and getting shit done, because that's most of us*. I find inspiration all around me every day. How do many of us move forward -THRIVE-when society tells us we are not equal? When we are limited with support? When they demand we fend for ourselves while giving opportunities to and uplifting others (see, men)? We juggle...we nurture...we have to work 10x as hard. It's ridiculous. I could go into detail, but it'll sound campaigny. I just love women and all that we do. I can't wait to live in an all-women retirement home. I'll just throw a wig on John, and it'll be fine because he has high cheek bones and a pouty mouth.
*Yes, even Beyonce and Michelle! They have every day women moments, too!!
WD: Was there a defining moment that set you on your current path?
SA: My mom and her passing has influenced a lot of my life. My majors, my living abroad...and even when I lost my way in entertainment, it was my way of getting back on track. I would constantly count down the number of years I had that separated me and my age from the age at which she passed. I was so scared I was gonna die without having tried to live the way I really wanted. Eventually, it helped to light a fire under my butt. My mom always wanted me to perform. She really believed in me. I would have had such a different life if she were still around.
Honorable mention: Defining moments via trash bosses I've had on shows that have made working for them so awful, that the thought of doing another show made me physically ill. They ultimately left me with no choice than to pursue my dreams. Thanks, assholes!
WD: Do you have a secret talent?
SA: SECRET?!?!?! I'm a performer! I'm in a constant state of telling people all the bullshit I can do. Someone yesterday told me they were looking for an unknown actors for a possible collaboration, and I heard myself yell, "Oh yeah! Nobody knows me!!!"...like you want me to be a singer? Here's a few notes. You want me to be a painter? Hand me that brush. You want me to be a donkey? "Hee-fuckin-haw!"
To learn more about Shukri, head over to the UCB site!