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Actor / Voice actor / writer
Shawkat was born in Riverside, California to Dina (née Burke) and actor Tony Shawkat. She grew up in nearby Palm Springs. She has two brothers. Her maternal grandfather was actor Paul Burke. She is of Kurdish descent on her father's side and Irish and Norwegian descent on her mother's side.
Shawkat, along with Arrested Development co-star Mae Whitman, sang guest vocals on a number of tracks from indie-punk band Fake Problems' newest album Real Ghosts Caught on Tape.
Shawkat made her acting debut in both film and television in 1999. In that year, she played the daughter of the character Amir in the feature film Three Kings, in which her father Tony Shawkat played a member of the Iraqi Republican Guard, and appeared as a young Sarah "Mac" MacKenzie on one episode of JAG. She landed her first starring role in 2001, playing Hannah Rayburn in the television sitcom State of Grace, which aired in the United States on the cable television channel Fox Family (subsequently renamed ABC Family) until 2002.