Frankie Shaw

Rachel Frances Shaw (born 1981[1][2]) is an American actress, writer, director and producer.[3][4] She is best known for playing Bridgette Bird on the Showtime series SMILF, based on the 2015 short film of the same title, which she wrote, directed and starred in.[5] Shaw is also known for playing Mary Jo Cacciatore on the 2010–2011 Spike TV series Blue Mountain State, and her recurring role as Shayla Nico in the first season of the USA Network television series Mr. Robot.[6]

Frankie Shaw
Shaw in November 2015
Shaw in 2015
Born1981 (age 39–40)[1][2]
Alma materBarnard College
  • Actress
  • writer
  • director
  • comedian
Years active2005–present
Zach Strauss
(m. 2016)

Early life and educationEdit

Shaw was born in South Boston,[7] and also grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts.[8] Her mother, an Irish Catholic[citation needed] from South Boston,[9] raised her Jewish.[citation needed] Shaw's parents divorced when she was four years old. She grew up in a single-mother home with an older half-brother, who owns a bar in Boston.[3]

Shaw attended Michael Driscoll School and Brookline High School.[10] At Michael Driscoll, Shaw played full court streetball at a nearby neighborhood park.[9] Shaw said that basketball was a constant of her childhood, and she incorporated it into the pilot and third episode of SMILF.[11] After receiving a scholarship in her junior year,[3] Shaw transferred to the private school Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts, where she graduated in 2000.[12] In 2007, she graduated from Barnard College with a degree in literature.[13]


After college, Shaw decided to move to Los Angeles, but discovered she was pregnant. Much of her struggles to work as an actor while being a single mother are the loose inspiration for SMILF.[9][14] A role in the 2014 ABC's ensemble series Mixology was a breakout role, providing Shaw with her first sense of financial stability since giving birth to her son.[9][15]

In 2009, Shaw first received recognition in the completely improvised Katie Aselton-directed film The Freebie and then as the oddball drunken cheerleader Mary Jo Cacciatore in the 2010 sitcom Blue Mountain State.[14]

In 2013, Shaw appeared in the HBO's TV series starring Stephen Merchant called Hello Ladies.[16] She had roles in the 2013 independent film The Pretty One, which starred Zoe Kazan and Jake Johnson, and the 2014 romantic comedy film Someone Marry Barry. Also in 2014, Shaw appeared in another independent feature, the drama Lullaby, which starred Garrett Hedlund and Amy Adams.[17]

In 2015, Shaw had a recurring role on the first season of the television series Mr. Robot as Shayla Nico, the drug dealing love interest of Elliot Alderson, for seven episodes.[6][18]

In 2015, she appeared in the ABC Family pilot Tough Cookie as well as on the 2015 Fox TV series Mulaney.[19] In 2016, Shaw reprised her role of Mary Jo Cacciatore from the 2010 series in the movie Blue Mountain State: The Rise of Thadland. Also in 2016, Shaw appeared in the Netflix series Flaked. She was a series regular on the 2016 TV series Good Girls Revolt.[3]

Shaw's 2014 short film SMILF, which she wrote, directed and starred in opposite Thomas Middleditch, won the 2015 Short Film Jury Award for U.S. Fiction at Sundance.[20][21]In 2015, SMILF was picked up by Showtime as a half-hour comedy television show with Shaw as showrunner, writing, directing, starring in, and producing the series.[22] The first season, which was shot on location in South Boston as well as Los Angeles, received generally positive reviews,[23][24] with her portrayal of single mother Bridgette Bird notable for its realism, insight, and biting humor.[25][26] "Frankie Shaw, it [SMILF] marks the arrival of an important and original voice."[27] SMILF co-stars Connie Britton and Rosie O'Donnell,[28][9][29] and tackles subjects like eating disorders and sexual abuse.[30] Shaw said that the show was a way to discuss and portray the role of women on screen.[31] In November 2017, Showtime renewed SMILF for a second season.[32] In December 2018, it was reported that Shaw and the series had been accused of workplace misconduct.[33] In March 2019, the series was cancelled after two seasons.[34]

In 2016, Shaw returned to the Sundance Film Festival with another short film she wrote and directed, a dark comedy titled Too Legit, which stars Zoë Kravitz, Teresa Palmer, Nate Corddry and Clark Gregg.[6] Too Legit is inspired by a satire of Congressman Todd Akin's controversial 2012 remarks about rape and pregnancy:[35] "It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, [rape resulting in pregnancy is] really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down."[36]

In 2017, Shaw had a supporting role as Gail Hurley in the feature film Stronger, which was directed by David Gordon Green, and starred Jake Gyllenhaal as 2013 Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jeff Bauman.[3][37]

Shaw is attached to write, executive produce, and direct the first episode of an adaption of Wifey by Judy Blume for HBO.[38] She is also attached to direct an adaption of Ultraluminous based upon the novel by Katherine Faw Morris, produced by Steven Soderbergh.[39] She is also attached to star in Kill Switch, directed by Soderbergh.[40] She is also attached to direct an adaption of Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls by T Kira Madden.[41]

Personal lifeEdit

In August 2016, Shaw married writer–producer Zach Strauss.[42]

Shaw has a son, Isaac Love, from a prior relationship with director and actor Mark Webber.[4] Shaw and Webber share joint custody of Isaac.[43]



Year Title Role Notes
2005 Night Swimming Amber
2006 Just Like the Son Brenda
2007 One Night Clarice
2008 Explicit Ills Michelle
2008 Altamont Now Karen Kennedy
2009 The Northern Kingdom Shauna
2009 Falling Up Gretchen
2009 Red Hook Deena
2009 The Freebie Coffee Girl
2011 Coffee Snobs Customer Short
2011 The End of Love Evelyn
2012 Spoonful Mac Short
2012 Knife Fight Samantha
2013 The Pretty One Claudia
2013 This is Where We Live Lainey
2014 Lullaby Janice
2014 Someone Marry Barry Camille
2014 SMILF Bridgette Bird Short film; writer and director
2016 Too Legit Jess Short film; writer and director
2016 Joshy Crystal
2016 Blue Mountain State: The Rise of Thadland Mary Jo Cacciatore
2016 Dreamland Lizzie
2016 Tough Cookie Heidi Short film
2017 Stronger Gail Hurley
2017 Bad Peter Rachel Short film
2018 Fluidic Emlyn Post-production
2019 Jay and Silent Bob Reboot Prosecutor
2021 No Sudden Move Paula Cole


Year Title Role Notes
2005 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Marrissa "Unchained" (season 5, episode 4)
2006 The Bedford Diaries Simone "I'm Gonna Love College" (season 1, episode 1)
2011 Glory Daze Gina "Hit Me with Your Test Shot" (season 1, episode 9)
2010–2011 Blue Mountain State Mary Jo Cacciatore Main role (seasons 2–3), 15 episodes
2011 CSI: NY Kelly Rose "Brooklyn Til I Die" (season 8, episode 12)
2011 2 Broke Girls Keefer "And the High Holidays" (season 2, episode 12)
2013 Hello Ladies Nikki "The Limo" (season 1, episode 2)
2014 Mixology Fabienne Main role
2015 Mulaney Julia "Ruby" (season 1, episode 12)
2015 Tough Cookie Heidi "Pilot" (season 1, episode 1)
2015 Mr. Robot Shayla Nico Recurring role (season 1), 7 episodes
2016 Flaked Natasha 2 episodes
2016 Good Girls Revolt Naomi 8 episodes
2017–2019 SMILF Bridgette Bird Lead role; also creator, director, producer, and writer
2018 Homecoming Dara 4 episodes
2018 Hollyweed Brookline Mass / Janet Online pilot
2019 Drunk History Hedy Lamarr "Fame" (season 6, episode 11)

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
2015 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Grand Jury Prize SMILF (short film) Nominated
Short Film Jury Award for U.S. Fiction Won
2016 Short Film Grand Jury Prize Too Legit (short film) Nominated
South by Southwest Film Festival SXSW Grand Jury Award for Narrative Short
American Film Institute Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women[44]
2017 Writers Guild of America Showrunner Training Program[45]
Golden Globe Awards Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy SMILF Nominated[46]


  1. ^ a b Feldman, Dana. "Showtime Is Betting on New Frankie Shaw-Helmed Comedy Series 'SMILF'". Forbes. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Sarner, Lauren (December 7, 2017). "Actress Frankie Shaw takes a page from her own life on 'SMILF'". New York Post. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e Press, Joy (November 3, 2017). "The Single Mom's Guide to Sex, Love and Basketball". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 22, 2018. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Pirnia, Garin (November 3, 2017). "There's More to This SMILF Than an Attention-Grabbing Name". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on December 10, 2019. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  5. ^ Poniewozik, James (November 3, 2017). "Review: 'SMILF' Tallies the Costs of Motherhood". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 22, 2018. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c Adamson, Stephen (January 25, 2016). "We Interviewed Mr. Robot's Frankie Shaw and Spoke About Her Sundance Short Film 'Too Legit'". Moviepilot. Archived from the original on April 2, 2019. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  7. ^ Trahan, Erin (September 13, 2018). "Why Frankie Shaw Set Up Home Base in Boston For Season 2 Filming Of 'SMILF'". The ARTery.
  8. ^ Sullivan, Jim (September 26, 2018). "Frankie Shaw's Boston: The TV Star Unpacks Her Home Town". WhereTraveler. Morris Visitor Publications, LLC.
  9. ^ a b c d e Rao, Sonia (November 2, 2017). "Boston's Frankie Shaw Does It All on 'SMILF'". The Boston Globe.
  10. ^ Slane, Kevin (March 27, 2018). "4 surprising things we learned about 'SMILF' star Frankie Shaw".
  11. ^ Turchiano, Danielle (November 19, 2017). "'SMILF' Creator Frankie Shaw on Bridgette's Hoop Dreams, Dealing With Trauma and Running Her First Series". Variety.
  12. ^ "Alumna Frankie Shaw '00: Empowering Women in Film". Centre Connection: Parents' Newsletter, Milton Academy. 2016.
  13. ^ "3000 Miles From Broadway: Barnard in the Entertainment Industry". Barnard Alumnae. Barnard College. December 2, 2015. Archived from the original on December 10, 2019. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  14. ^ a b Wagoner, Mackenzie (October 27, 2017). "Frankie Shaw on What a 'SMILF' Is, and How She Became One on Showtime". NYLON.
  15. ^ William Hughes (March 8, 2019). "Showtime kills SMILF amid allegations of inappropriate behavior against creator-star Frankie Shaw". News. Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  16. ^ Bacle, Ariana (November 3, 2017). "How Frankie Shaw's 'SMILF' explores the messiness of motherhood". Entertainment Weekly.
  17. ^ Kenigsberg, Ben (June 6, 2014). "Film Review: 'Lullaby'". Variety.
  18. ^ The Deadline Team (November 3, 2014). "Frankie Shaw Joins 'Mr. Robot'; Nick Westrate in 'Turn'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on August 4, 2015. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  19. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (May 11, 2017). "Showtime Picks Up 'SMILF' Comedy to Series From Frankie Shaw". The Hollywood Reporter.
  20. ^ "2015 Sundance Film Festival Announces short Film Awards". January 28, 2015. Archived from the original on May 3, 2015. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
  21. ^ Ali, Lorraine (November 4, 2017). "Showtime's 'SMILF' Goes Where Most Shows Don't—Working-class, Single Motherhood". Los Angeles Times.
  22. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (April 17, 2015). "Frankie Shaw's Sundance Short "SMILF" to Be Developed as Showtime Comedy". Archived from the original on December 31, 2015.
  23. ^ "SMILF: 63 Metascore". Metacritic. November 5, 2017.
  24. ^ Gilbert, Matthew (November 2, 2017). "In 'SMILF,' Shaw's Southie Mom Has Room to Grow". The Boston Globe.
  25. ^ Goodman, Tim (November 3, 2017). "'SMILF': TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter.
  26. ^ Patterson, Troy (November 5, 2017). "'SMILF,' a Rude, Nimble Comedy of Sex and the Single Mother". The New Yorker.
  27. ^ Nicholson, Rebecca (March 15, 2018). "Shocking, Raw and Fun: SMILF and TV's new generation of single mothers". The Guardian.
  28. ^ Marine, Brooke (November 6, 2017). "Connie Britton, Rosie O'Donnell, and Frankie Shaw on 'SMILF', Their Stealthily Subversive New TV Comedy". W Magazine.
  29. ^ Travers, Ben (October 30, 2017). "SMILF Review: Frankie Shaw's New TV Series Brings Meaning to Season 1". IndieWire.
  30. ^ Saraiya, Sonia (November 20, 2017). "'SMILF' Creator Frankie Shaw on Her Own Story of Harassment and Bridgette's Craigslist Misadventure". Variety.
  31. ^ Dowd (February 28, 2015). "Dirty Words from Pretty Mouths". Sunday Review. The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 27, 2015. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
  32. ^ Schwartz, Ryan (November 29, 2017). "SMILF Renewed for Season 2". TVLine. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  33. ^ Masters, Kim (December 17, 2018). "'SMILF' Creator Frankie Shaw Investigated Over Misconduct Claims (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  34. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 8, 2019). "'SMILF' Canceled By Showtime After Two Seasons". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  35. ^ Melton, Siân (January 21, 2016). "Sundance 2016 Women Directors: Meet Frankie Shaw – 'Too Legit'". IndieWire.
  36. ^ Jaco, Charles (August 19, 2012). "Jaco Report: Full Interview with Todd Akin". Archived from the original on June 6, 2017. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
  37. ^ Lincoln, Ross A. (April 30, 2016). "Frankie Shaw Joins Boston Marathon Bombing Drama 'Stronger'". Deadline Hollywood.
  38. ^ Otterson, Joe (March 6, 2020). "Frankie Shaw to Develop Judy Blume Novel 'Wifey' as HBO Limited Series (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved May 23, 2020.
  39. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (November 14, 2019). "Jennifer Fox Inks First-Look Deal With Platform One, Steven Soderbergh-Produced Indie Film 'Ultraluminous' Among First Projects". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 23, 2020.
  40. ^ Perez, Rodrigo (May 19, 2020). "Steven Soderbergh Has Written A 'Sex, Lies & Videotape' Sequel; Says George Clooney & More Set For 'Kill Switch'". The Playlist. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  41. ^ Patten, Dominic (March 20, 2020). "Frankie Shaw To Direct T Kira Madden's 'Long Live' Memoir; Bow & Arrow Financing The Feature". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  42. ^ Palmer, Teresa (August 28, 2016). "A magical weekend to celebrate the incredible love between Isaacs Mama @frankieshawisag & Isaacs now step-dad Zach Strauss! Thank you for including us in all the beautiful ways you did; asking us to do a speech (!!), including us in the wedding party and having Bodhi as a "flower boy" (he was very proud), we love you guys! #family #coparenting #tgifandz #love". Teresa Palmer. Instagram.
  43. ^ Cohn, Beverly (March 21, 2013). "Mark Webber Discusses "The End of Love"". Santa Monica Mirror. Retrieved December 24, 2013.
  44. ^ "2016 Participants". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on April 1, 2016. Retrieved April 21, 2016.
  45. ^ "Showrunner Training Program Alumni". Writer's Guild of America.
  46. ^ "Golden Globes: Full list of nominees". BBC. Archived from the original on August 27, 2019. Retrieved January 9, 2018.

External linksEdit