Popular Girl: Abigail Shapiro
Jun 26, 2020
Ready to meet “The Chief’s” daughter?
Doom Patrol is finally back on HBO and we finally get to meet Dorothy Spinner aka The Chief’s daughter and she’s being played by none other than Popular Girl: Abigail Shapiro. The series follows a group of five seemingly unrelated, outcast superheroes, assembled and led by modern-day scientist Dr. Niles Caulder AKA “The Chief.” Part support group, part superhero team, these superheroes have all suffered traumatic, near-fatal accidents that have given them newfound superhuman abilities and they band together to fight for a world that wants nothing to do with them. On top of that they will now all have to figure out how to take care of Dorothy (probably not the easiest tasks judging by that premiere).
Aside from her using her perfected British accent to voice Dortohy, Abigail is actually well-known for her stage work alongside her younger sister Milly. The pair, sometimes known as “The Shapiro Sisters” became the first minors to both write and perform their on show at Feinstein’s/54 Below in NYC! Trust me… it’s a HUGE deal. Performing on stage since the age of 12 Abigail has appeared in shows from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical” as Cindy-Lou to the lead in the off-Broadway production of “Liberty: A Monumental New Musical”.
Leading up to that three-part premiere, Abigail spoke to PopularTV about her role as Dorothy, how her and her sister ended up with a show at Feinstein’s/54 Below, and how she advocates for others with CCD!
1. Tell us about your role as Dorothy Spinner in “Doom Patrol”!
Dorothy is the daughter of Niles and the primitive woman he had an affair with during his expedition to the Yukon in 1917. She has the face of an ape and can bring to life anything she can imagine. She has a group of imaginary friends, some good and some evil, who manifest whenever she is very emotional in some way. She doesn’t have much control over her powers and because of that she has the potential to become a threat to the end of the world
2. What was the audition like for DC’s Doom Patrol?
I actually had a really interesting audition process. A lot of strange synchronicity. The day before I got the email for the self-tape one of my friends told me to watch the show. A few days after I sent in the self-tape, I had the impulse to watch the season 1 trailer, and as I was watching the trailer, I got the email for the callback, which was so funny! The callback went pretty well. When my agent called and told me I got the role, I was in a café called Argo Tea, and right when she said it, I turned around and saw a poster of Diane Guerrero (she plays crazy Jane in the show) promoting her book on the wall.
3. What is something that you’d like to see in season 3?
I’d like to see more of Animal Vegetable Mineral Man. He’s definitely one of my favorite characters in the show.
4. Favorite DC character?
Wonder Woman. We love powerful woman!
5. You’re not just experienced on the screen, but on stage as well! What is your preference between working on a show and working live on stage?
That’s a great question. They are very different worlds, but I love them both in their own ways. I honestly don’t have a preference, but as of now, I’d like to do more screen work because I’m newer to that world, and there’s so much more for me to learn, and I LOVE it. I’m so grateful to finally be doing something on camera.
6. You and your sister Milly actually wrote and performed in your show titled “The Shapiro Sisters: Live Out Loud!” at 54 Below and were the first minors to do so! How did this come about and is there any way for fans to watch?
Milly and I decided to do a cabaret back in 2014 (I was 13 and my sister was 11) because we both have a very interesting and unique story about how our careers began. We were both cast in two different Broadway shows at the same time after our very first auditions ever, which is a very rare kind of situation, so we wanted to tell our story, and did that through a cabaret.
7. What would be your dream Broadway role?
I honestly don’t have one. I’d love to play a new role and see what it’s like to be a part of a play or musical from one of the very first drafts of the script. It would be so cool to see how the role and the show change as it is developed.
8. What has been your toughest role to date?
This role! I’ve never really played a role like Dorothy before. Dorothy has such a complex mind, so that was very interesting to explore. I also wore full-face prosthetics with fake teeth while doing a British accent, so that was definitely a challenge!
9. What is the last text that you sent?
I texted “when u free?” to my friend. Haha.
10. What was the last thing you watched, bought, and listened to?
The last thing I watched was Euphoria (I’m watching it for the second time with one of my friends). The last thing I bought was a water bottle (Gotta hydrate). The last thing I listened to was “Reaper” by Sia.
11. Cleidocranial dysplasia (CCD) has gotten more attention recently as actor Gaten Matarazzoo also has this condition. How do you use your platform to advocate and or inform your fans about it?
It’s a very rare disorder – one in a million people have it, so when I found out Gaten had it I was so surprised, and it was so cool to see someone outside of my family who has it. I’ve decided to use my platform to advocate for it because it would’ve been helpful for me, as a little girl, to see someone like me who has gone through the same pain and turned out okay. Also, the beauty standard for women is impossible to reach, so it would have been helpful for me to see someone like my sister, Milly Shapiro, a beautiful young woman with a rare disorder. It would’ve given me hope and would’ve allowed me to embrace and learn to love my imperfections sooner. Also, I’ve been trying to bring awareness to an act that was introduced in February 2019 called the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act, which states that anyone with a congenital anomaly of some sort will be able to get the treatment they need and be covered by insurance. As of right now, that is not the case. Most people born with a rare disorder have to spend a fortune on necessary treatment or not get any of the treatment they need at all. I want to change this, and I’ve wanted to do something to make this change for many, many years.
12. What is something you wish you got asked more in interviews?
“What is your zodiac sign?” I’m a Gemini, Cancer cusp, rising Libra, with a moon of Aquarius, and way too many placements in Cancer.
13. Tell us a secret.
I was a horse girl up until I was 10. Yes, a cringey past.
14. What does Popular mean to you?
I feel like the word “popular” has a negative connotation for a lot of people. I have a more positive spin on it. “Popular,” to me, is when someone isn’t afraid to show their true colors. Because they fully commit to being themselves, others can embrace and relate to their imperfections. Someone who is “popular” is a leader that inspires others.
15. Can you tell us about any other projects you have coming up?
I don’t have any coming up at the moment. I’m going to keep auditioning and hoping for the best!
And Happy Golden Year!
- Photographer Emily Assiran @emery_is