I recently had the pleasure to interview Egyptian actress Nadia Khairy about the acting business and how it differs from country to country. I thought I’d do this post a little differently, in an interview format, with my questions and Nadia’s responses. I hope you like it and are inspired by Nadia’s story.
1. How did you get started in the acting business? I was working as a marketing specialist in 2009 at an automotive company when I saw an advertisement on Facebook looking for new faces for a teen drama hit. I got really interested but didn’t apply since I was not in the appropriate age bracket. After a while, someone called and asked me, “Why don’t you go and give it a try? You look much younger than your age.” So I thought, “Why not? I’ll go see what my chances are.”
I went for an audition and sitting in the judging panel was the director, Hani Khalifa, who is very famous for his first cinema movie hit called “Sahar El Layali.” A week later they called me to say I got the part.
2. Why did you decide you wanted to be an actress? I’ve always loved acting. I had been doing plays in French since I was nine years old. I was even ranked among the 10 best actors for playing a Joan of Arc monologue in an international competition held at the French Center for Culture and Cooperation (CFCC), but through the years I never got the opportunity and never really looked for one.
However, when al jami3a popped up, I was very interested in joining this project because of the cause behind it, which was creating role models by targeting youth and discussing hot issues like drugs, sexual harrasment and stereotyping. They used new faces to act in it so they would be credible.
Also, the writers did a lot of research in the Arab world before they wrote the script to make sure they addressed the interesting topics for youth in the region.
3. Are there any obstacles you had to overcome to become an actress? Because I worked five days a week, eight hours a day, I had to choose between my job and being an actress. It was a big risk for me since I was already growing in the company and promoted. Then I had to make the decision and chose the project for its humane cause.
4. Can you describe how being an actress has helped you grow as a person? It made me learn how valuable time is, and I discovered that the job done behind the scene taught me a lot of things without realizing it.
5. Are there any lessons you’ve learned as an actress, that can apply to real-life situations? Of course the whole character was an inspiration for me. The show is basically all about women empowerment. It gave me the determination to help girls reach their goals in life, by any means necessary. I hope that one day soon, especially after the revolution, that girls are seen differently and that people understand that we are no less than men and can even run the country. I hope that one day, I see a female president in Egypt.
6. If there is anything you can tell someone who wants to get into the acting business, what would it be and why? The acting business varies from country to country, in terms of how it works, but I know that it’s usually hard to get into this business. If you really love it and don’t want to do anything else but act, just believe in yourself, work hard, and you will get what you wish for.
Once you do, you should work harder to develop your skills and maintain the success you achieved. This will also happen if you do what you like, but don’t just wait for any opportunity that comes your way. Be selective and choose things that reflect your personality or what you really want to do.
Make sure you check out this video that discusses the new teen TV show I’m working on.