If you have been following The L Stop in the past year, the name Fawzia Mirza should definitely ring a bell. In 2012 she made our list of Top Lesbians to look out for and she has been on fire ever since. On the heels of starring in the first season of her webseries,“Kam Kardashian,” which she writes with Ryan Logan, Fawzia talked to me about her character, the influence of pop culture and the Kick Starter campaign that they are wrapping up to make the next season bigger and better.
Your new webseries- Kam Kardashian- is hilarious. What is it that made you take this national obsession and add this resentful, gay, “lost” sister?
One of the things about the Kardashian’s is that they are everywhere, you know you can’t escape them whether you like them or not. They can shift an entire culture- Kim Kardashian has more Twitter followers than our President Barack Obama at something like over 14 million. So to deny their ability to set trends and even their power that they have is almost impossible, no matter what some people think. It’s one of those things that Kam, as a character, is someone who- I mean, why wouldn’t the Kardashians have a gay sister? They have everything-sex tapes, 72 hour marriages, babies out of wedlock- of course there is going to be some sort of Aunt, Uncle, daughter that would be gay- it’s like the least of their problems. The purpose of having her be a gay Kardashian-the idea behind Kam herself- she is just this person who is funny and fun and may drink a little too much sometimes and get into these situations. At her core, Kam is just someone who is trying to live up to her family name-whatever that is-which I think is something that is very relatable for a lot of us.
Well definitely, as a performer and a woman of color, you can’t avoid going into parts that are more vague, racially ambiguous roles. But something I really crave as an artist is the ability to work for women of color and diverse communities. Something I value in the series is being a woman of color, who doesn’t necessarily look like a stereotypical Pakistani woman, is able play someone from an Armenian, Dutch, German family like the Kardashians. Being able to represent someone out of the “norm” of the family and be able to touch on certain issues is something I value. Even with other characters in the show, it is very important to myself and Ryan to be able to have people who are not cookie cutter. Diversity on all accounts is key for us- height, style, weight, sexuality- the idea being that is what makes all of our lives really robust, we all have so many different people in our lives and it is important to reflect that in the series.
Speaking of characters that defy the norms of pop culture, your BFF in the series, Mary Hollis, is an absolute riot and I cannot wait to see more of her. Who IS she?
Mary is a Chicago improviser, writer, actress who does lots of comedy. She co-wrote and starred in a “Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche;” a play where she worked with Beth Stelling, which has taken on a life of its own. The play has been featured at the New York City Fringe Festival, and been all over the place with some great success. She also had a recurring role as a reporter on “Boss” which has sadly been cancelled but she has had some great stuff going on- I am really excited for her play she conceived with The New Colony “The Warriors”.
Good for her- I am kicking myself for not going to see that play a few months ago! So on to the next big project- raising $5,000 for production of Season 2 of Kam Kardashian. You started a Kickstarter campaign to raise this money grassroots style. What can we expect to see come out of this project?
Well what’s exciting about Season Two is that we are going to do a full 8 episodes, with the same format as the first season, and then we want to do a bunch of mini-episodes. So the goal is to do an episode every other week with a mini-episode in between where we might get things like a little snippet of Kam’s love life. We would ideally like to have the season run February through May. Things change, of course, but the first episode is going to start out with this secret GLAAD-type organization that corners Kam and is giving her a hard time for being the kind of gay that she is and if she wants to make it big she has to change the way she is, and the season kind of goes from there.
The first season has been centered around getting to know who the character is, and this next season is going to be a much more cohesive, complete season which is very exciting. We have gotten lots of support from organizations like Indiewire, which picked us as a project of the week just recently and has us in the running for project of the month. So we have until January 10th to donate. What people don’t really understand about Kickstarter, is that it is really based around a lot of people making donations of whatever they are able- it is about establishing a community of supporters who all have a stake in the project, truly every $5.00, $10.00, $15.00 counts. Group energy is what it is all about.
Thank you so much for all of this- it is a very cool project to support and I can’t wait to see who we can rally for you in the last couple of days.
Thank you guys!
Now I have a task for all of you readers: check out the webseries. Each time you laugh, commit $1.00, ONE DOLLAR to the cause and keep this hilarity coming. Each artist you support will continue to provide material that will last forever in our community- start this New Year out right ladies and help keep our resources strong!
Lauren was born and raised in South Minneapolis and like many other innocent midwesterners got sucked into the black hole of Chicago politics 4 years ago. As the LGBT Coordinator for the Gery Chico for Mayor Campaign she attempted to take on the entire city and hasn’t looked back since. Now working for a communications firm, she spends her extra time running around with cases of PBR playing in different sports leagues, hosting couchsurfers from all over the place, and deciding how she is going to change the world. A simple lady at her core, she has decided that the first person to send her an edible arrangement must be the one.