Professional Unicorn. Queer Iraqi non-binary Brit.
I graduated from the University of Cambridge with a BA and M.Phil in the History of Art; I specialised in avant-garde attempts to queer mainstream institutions, which is something I now strive to achieve in my own work. After Cambridge, I studied at the Stella Adler Academy of Acting as well having trained in Comedy and Writing at the Soho Theatre, and screenwriting at the National Film & Television School.
I am the creative director of my musical comedy live-singing drag troupe Denim; Denim is sponsored by MAC Cosmetics & Bumble and Bumble, and is represented by United Agents. We last year achieved a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where we received a 5* review from The Scotsman - this subsequently transferred to The Soho Theatre in London, where we received 4* in The Guardian. We are currently developing two shows for Edinburgh this year, both at the Assembly Piccolo tent - Denim: The Reunion Tour, and our first show for children, The Denim Juniors.
I am a filmmaker and screenwriter, and was selected as one of the 6 emerging LGBT filmmakers by the BFI/BAFTA mentorship programme this year (and am being mentored by Russell T. Davies). I am the co-creator, co-writer, and lead actor of a TV Comedy Series in development with Big Talk Productions and Channel 4 called Nefertiti, the co-writer, co-star and co-creator of BEARDS with Ellie Kendrick, in development with Playground, as well as the creator, writer, and lead actor of feature film, Abigail & Gabriel, currently in development with Sarah Brocklehurst Productions, and which has secured a script commission with BBC Films. As a writer/director, I have a feature script commission with Film 4 for Layla (w/t), produced by Fox Cub Films, as well as a feature script commission with the BFI for GlAMROU, a drag musical that I am set to star in.
I am the writer/director of four shorts that all share a focus on queer intersectional people of colour. The latest, ANEMONE, was made with the support of BBC Films and Film London - it tells the story of a non-binary second generation teenager who uses the magic of marine life to express their gender identity to religious relatives. The second is a commission for NOWNESS (available here), an exploration of how female-bodied drag queen Victoria Sin transforms social space through their drag - this has just gained official entry into the BFI London Film Festival. The second is an autobiographical short film entitled Run(a)way Arab - which thinks about the relationship between drag culture and Middle-Eastern femininity, and a genderqueer Arab boy's memory of their Muslim mother. Both are produced by Savannah James-Bayly of Fox Cub Films - this has screened at the London Short Film Festival, BFI Flare, East End Film Festival & OutFest LA Film Festival. The third is an experimental short documentary commissioned by the BFI & BBC, called CLASH, critiquing how period dramas erase the diverse reality of Britain. It is told through candid interviews with queer people of colour, and staged parodic period drama sequences. It was broadcast on BBC 4 on the 24th of September 2017 to 125k viewers, and is available on BFI-player here.
I am writing my debut book, a memoir about intersectionality - UNICORN - with 4th Estate Books (Harper Collins). This will be published in 2019. I am also a freelance writer for various publications - I am writing a column for The Gay Times & Attitude Magazine, and two/three a month for Independent Voices. I have written freelance for the following publications - The Guardian, The i-Paper, i-D Magazine, Little White Lies, Gay Star News, Hunger Magazine, CNN, HUCK Magazine, Visual Verse, Zed Books, Saqi Books, the BFI, Cause & Effect Magazine & The Inkling Magazine.