Shawkat was born in Riverside, California, to Dina Shawkat (née Burke) and film producer Tony Shawkat. She grew up in Palm Springs. She has two brothers. Her father is an Arab, from Iraq. Her mother is of Norwegian, Irish, and Italian descent.
From 2001–2004, Shawkat played Hannah in State of Grace. As Maeby Fünke, Shawkat was a regular cast member of Arrested Development for the entire run of the show from 2003 to 2018. The series received nearly universally positive reviews, with Shawkat's performance occasionally singled out for praise. Pop-culture commentator Brian M. Palmer remarked that she was "one of the brightest lights on a show populated solely by bright lights," and Scott Weinberg of eFilmCritic described her as "one funny young lady." In an interview with The A.V. Club in 2010, Shawkat remarked that many of her "formative moments" as an actress took place on the Arrested Development set: " [Show creator] Mitch Hurwitz was like a father figure to me. In a way, it was great to be around [the cast], because I feel that my understanding of comedy was able to grow really well during that time."
In 2009, Shawkat appeared in Whip It co-star Har Mar Superstar's music video for "Tall Boy", which also featured Eva Mendes and Eric Wareheim. In October 2009, it was announced that Shawkat, Har Mar, and Whip It co-star Ellen Page would produce and write a show for HBO called Stitch N' Bitch. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show "follows two painfully cool hipster girls as they relocate from Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood to Los Angeles' Silver Lake enclave in hopes of becoming artists—of any kind."
Shawkat, along with Arrested Development co-star and close friend Mae Whitman, sang guest vocals on a number of tracks from indie-punk band Fake Problems' 2010 album Real Ghosts Caught on Tape.
Six years after the series was canceled by Fox, filming for a revived fourth season of Arrested Development began on August 7, 2012 and Shawkat reprised her role as Maeby Fünke. The season consists of 15 new episodes which debuted at the same time on Netflix on May 26, 2013. Each episode focuses on one particular character, with Shawkat's Maeby, now a high school senior, featured in episode 12, "Señoritis" and appearing in several other episodes of the season.
In 2015, Shawkat guest-starred on Broad City, portraying the romantic interest and look-alike of Ilana Glazer's character for one episode; the two were only attracted to one another due to their similar appearances. Leading up to the episode, many had remarked on the physical similarities Shawkat and Glazer bear to one another.
Shawkat plays the role of Tyler, a high-living American partier in Dublin, in the 2019 film Animals, directed by Australian director Sophie Hyde. It is a film made by women and starring women as lead characters, about a friendship which changes after Laura (played by Holliday Grainger) gets engaged to her teetotalling boyfriend. Shawkat said that she had never played a character like Tyler before, with her previous characters more relatable, and she was "excited to play someone who was so fun, but so damaged".
When not acting, she likes to paint; she has participated in gallery shows in Los Angeles, Mexico City and Paris. She also likes to make music and sing in jazz bars. Ever since the filming of Whip It, she has been best friends with fellow actress Ellen Page. She is bisexual.
Shawkat is the granddaughter of actor Paul Burke.
|1999||Three Kings||Amir's Daughter|
|2005||Queen of Cactus Cove||Billie||Short film|
|2006||Deck the Halls||Madison Finch|
|2008||Bart Got a Room||Camille|
|2008||Prom Wars||Diana Riggs|
|2009||Whip It||Pash Amini|
|2011||The Oranges||Vanessa Walling|
|2011||Our Deal||Night Creeper||Short film|
|2012||Damsels in Distress||Mad Madge|
|2012||That's What She Said||Clementine|
|2012||The Brass Teapot||Louise|
|2012||The Golden Age||Janice||Short film|
|2013||May in the Summer||Dalia|
|2013||The End of Love||Alia Shawkat||Cameo|
|2013||Setup, Punch||Dottie Kaufman||Short film|
|2013||The To Do List||Fiona Forster|
|2013||The Moment||Jessie Jamil|
|2014||Life After Beth||Roz|
|2015||The Final Girls||Gertie Michaels|
|2015||The Driftless Area||Carrie|
|2015||Adam Green's Aladdin||Emily|
|2015||Me Him Her||Laura|
|2016||Pee-wee's Big Holiday||Bella|
|2016||Paint It Black||Josie|
|2016||20th Century Women||Trish|
|2017||Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town||Agatha Benson|
|2018||Duck Butter||Naima||Also writer|
|2019||First Cow||Woman with Dog|
|2019||I Lost My Body||Gabrielle (voice)||English dub|
|1999||JAG||Young Sarah MacKenzie||Episode: "Second Sight"|
|2000||The Trial of Old Drum||Dee||TV film|
|2002||State of Grace||Young Hannah Rayburn||Main cast; 40 episodes|
|2002||Presidio Med||Tara Wegman||Episode: "Good Question"|
|2003||Without a Trace||Siobhan Arintero||Episode: "Maple Street"|
|2003||Boomtown||Denise Stein||Episode: "Home Invasion"|
|Arrested Development||Mae "Maeby" Fünke||Main cast; 79 episodes|
|2006||Veronica Mars||Stacy Wells||Episode: "The Rapes of Graff"|
|2006||Not Like Everyone Else||Brandi Blackbear||TV film|
|2007||The Business||Screenwriting Manicurist||2 episodes|
|2008||The Bad Mother's Handbook||Charlotte||TV film|
|2008||The Starter Wife||Robin||3 episodes|
|2010||The League||April||Episode: "The Expert Witness"|
|2013||'||Gail||Episode: "Burn After Killing"|
|2014||Drunk History||Frances Cleveland||Episode: "First Ladies"|
|2014||Robot Chicken||Minerva McGonagall (voice)||Episode: "G.I. Jogurt"|
|2014||Getting On||Colleen Hoover||4 episodes|
|2015||Adventure Time||Betsy Poundcake (voice)||Episode: "The Diary"|
|2015||Broad City||Adele||Episode: "Coat Check"|
|2015||Drunk History||Virginia Hall||Episode: "Spies"|
|2016||Portlandia||Mayor's Kid||Episode: "Shville"|
|2016||Animals.||Sharon (voice)||Episode: "Rats."|
|2016–17||Adventure Time||Charlie (voice)||2 episodes|
|2016–present||Search Party||Dory Sief||Main cast; 20 episodes|
|2016||Drunk History||Alexander Hamilton||Episode: "Hamilton"|
|2017||Big Mouth||Roland (voice)||Episode: "Pillow Talk"|
|2018–19||Summer Camp Island||Blanche/Cinnamon Raisin Toast (voice)||6 episodes|
|2019||Living with Yourself||Maia||Recurring role|
|2020||The Old Man||Angela||Upcoming series, main cast|
Awards and nominations
|2002||Young Artist Award||Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series – Leading Young Actress||State of Grace||Nominated|
|2004||TV Land Award||Future Classic||Arrested Development||Won|
|2005||Young Artist Award||Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) – Supporting Young Actress||Won|
|Screen Actors Guild Award||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2006||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2014||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2017||Gracie Award||Actress in a Breakthrough Role||Search Party||Won|
- "Arab American Stories – Alia Shawkat Interview". YouTube.com. 2012-05-24. Retrieved 2015-05-31.
- Cheirif, Samantha (October 1, 2012). "Alia Shawkat Talks THE ORANGES, Cut Scenes and Alternate Ending, and Returning to ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT". Collider.com. Retrieved January 9, 2013.
- "Alia Martine Shawkat was born on April 18, 1989 in Riverside County, California". California Birth Index.
- "Alia Shawkat – DVD – Interview". Avclub.com. Retrieved 2015-05-31.
- "Internet Movie Database – Alia Shawkat – Biography". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2015-05-31.
- Alia Shawkat (2013-05-28). The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. CBS. Event occurs at 34:52.
(Shawkat) "I'm half Iraqi, my dad's from Baghdad"
- "Alia Shawkat lands new Comedy Central project". June 12, 2016. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
- "Internet Movie Database – Alia Shawkat". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2015-05-31.
- "Interview with Brian M. Palmer". Brianmpalmer.com. Archived from the original on 2014-10-15. Retrieved 2015-05-31. Unknown parameter
- "eFilmCritic – DVD Review: Arrested Development Season 1". Efilmcritic.com. Retrieved 2015-05-31.
- "Interview". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2015-05-31.
- "Ellen Page, Arrested Development's Alia Shawkat, and Har Mar Superstar (!) working on HBO show". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2015-05-31.
-  Archived August 21, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
- Silman, Anna (March 12, 2015). "Alia Shawkat on her hot "Broad City" doppelgänger romance: "It was one of the best makeout scenes that I've had"". Salon.com. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
- Andreeva, Nellie (July 31, 2016). "TBS to Strip New Comedy 'Search Party' Thanksgiving Week, Sets 'People of Earth' Premiere – TCA". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
- McLennan, Cindy (April 23, 2018). "Search Party: Season Three; TBS Renews Dark Mystery Comedy Series". tvseriesfinale.com. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
- Frangos, Daniela (1 April 2019). "Alia Shawkat, Animals and Reaching Adulthood". Broadsheet. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
- on YouTube
- Marsh, Walter (3 April 2019). "Animals star Alia Shawkat is not your ingenue". The Adelaide Review. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
- Osenlund, R. Kurt (May 11, 2017). "Actress Alia Shawkat on Bold Projects, Broad City & Being Queer in America". Out. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
I was a tomboy growing up, and I remember my mom asking me when I was 10, 'are you attracted to boys or girls?' I said I don't know. Now I consider myself bisexual[.]
- "Alliance For Women In Media Foundation Announce The 2017 Gracie Awards Winners". fox34.com. Archived from the original on 13 April 2017. Retrieved 12 April 2017. Unknown parameter