Sherine Reda - Egypt Today.
CAIRO - 15 November 2018: Life goals. That’s what every Egyptian girl thinks the moment she lays eyes on the beautiful Sherine Reda, who continues to dazzle fans not only with her striking features and perfectly fit physique, but also with her unique talent and meticulous onscreen performances.
The head-turning actress, model and entertainment maven, who celebrated her 50th birthday last month, has been redefining the aspirations of Egyptian women ever since she made a remarkable comeback to the public eye a few years ago.
Daughter of dance legend Mahmoud Reda, Sherine began her modeling career when she was just 11 years old, then turned to acting and quickly rose to fame after starring alongside late acting legend Ahmed Zaki in Nazwa (1996) and Hassan El Lol (1997).
At the prime of her career, Reda decided to dedicate her life to raising her only daughter, Nour, and quit celebrity status for 10 years, only to come back with outstanding artistic and personal maturity that were enough to define her as a role model for viewers.
Whether it was her captivating role as Dega, the mysterious tattoo artist in El-Fil El-Azraq (The Blue Elephant, 2014), a courageous appearance as an aging, sick widow in Photocopy (2017) or her signature roles in various Ramadan TV series during the past few years, Reda has been challenging the representation of women on and off the screen with her bold performances and daring attitude.
In a special sit-down with the TV darling, we couldn’t help but ask if the beauty icon is still turning her back on the prospect of love. We also got to know more about what was going on behind the scenes of her recent Ramadan series, her No. 1 beauty tips and more . . .
You overwhelmed us with a powerful role in Ladayna Akwal Okra (We Have Other Testimonies) this Ramadan; what was it like to meet with Yousra again, after Fo’ Mostawa el Shobohat (Above Suspicions) and of course Nazwa in the 1990s?
I love working with Yousra; she is a wonderful person and a lovely friend. I always enjoy my time with Yousra, so when I got to spend five months working with her, I knew that it was going to be good. Working with her is so much fun because we are always on the same wavelength; if we don’t like something, we always gang up against everyone else.
Would you say the decision to postpone the airing of the series till after Ramadan negatively affected it?
Of course . . . because it was not showing here in Egypt (on local channels), a lot of people didn’t even know the name of the series. Not everyone knows what is happening on social media or get their news from social media platforms; maybe they just watch TV on what is accessible to them. It has affected the series and all of us as well; we worked for five months, we put in a lot of effort and then it didn’t screen on Egyptian channels. However, I believe that everything happens for the best, so it might not be a nice thing but it is ok. This too shall pass.
Who are the actresses, actors and directors you’d like to work with?
I have worked with a lot of people, and I have had a lot of fun with them. At the moment, I’m really into comedy, so working with any comedian would be lovely. I’d love to work with comic actors, actresses and directors. I worked with director Ahmed el-Genedy and I really enjoyed it, in the light comedy Kedbet kol Youm (Today’s Lie, 2016).
Tell us about Photocopy. How did you prepare for your role, and did the character have an effect on you personally?
It was really difficult, because I didn’t know what it is like to be old and sick. I was so confused; Safia (the character I played) doesn’t look like me and she doesn’t behave like I do, she was someone completely new to me. I told the director that I needed to know how old women behave. He went to the sports club and found seven or eight elderly ladies sitting around a table and filmed them, and he started sending me the videos so I could relate to the role a little bit more.
Safia had a really significant effect on me. Once I was done, I was really relieved that I didn’t have to put this heavy makeup on my face every day. They had to put makeup on my face, hands, arms and neck; and after a while, you don’t know if these are really your liver spots or if it is just makeup. I would keep wondering if I had developed spots myself; then I tried to rub them off quickly, thinking they were mine and that I had aged. I aged in this movie . . . it was so difficult.
I have to admit that the makeup was great. It took a long time; two hours every day! I actually developed facial lines and started getting wrinkles that I never had before because of the makeup. The limping I was doing in the movie became habitual as I started limping in real life. Outside the shooting, I found it difficult to wake up, as if I were an old lady for real. Yes, it affected me!
Do the roles you perform affect your real character? If yes, how do you manage to get rid of this effect?
In general, as soon as I am done with any movie, I leave the character behind. I try to run away as fast as I can from the character, and I don’t take anything with me back home. But while filming, I take the role everywhere with me because I have to be in this mood the entire time. When I do nice characters or play the role of a sweet woman, I find myself being very nice during the shooting as well as before and after it, but when I do gloomy and depressing roles, I find that I am feeling down.
Fans and critics alike agree that your performance continues to improve significantly from one role to the other. How you work on developing your acting skills?
I think it happens differently each time. First of all, I have to have a background story for the character; it is very important for me to know who she is, where she came from and where she is going so that I can be her during the shooting. This usually happens before shooting; while at it, I focus only on the performance and I stay in the character. They have to call me by the name of the character.
Which is your favorite onscreen role and why?
I have no one favorite onscreen role. I am happy with everything I’ve done and even the things I am not very happy with, I am still happy with the experience [I had doing them] and to have tried them out. I never regret anything I have done; I always enjoy and benefit from all my previous experiences, so I do like almost everything I did. But I have to say that I especially liked my role in El-Fil El-Azraq.
You started your career as a model, in ads as well as video clips. What is the difference between your experience in the past and now? As a former model with remarkable success, what do you think of the difference between ad production now and then?
Actually, there are a lot of differences now. In the past, when I was working in commercials, the production wasn’t as big as it is today. Now ad production is like a series or a movie; it is just as big and costly, which is interesting. I didn’t see that when I used to model [over a decade ago, for example]. Also, commercials were shot with a cinema camera, which was different, but now it is more advanced.
Do you think that performing across various platforms helps the star and makes their audience relate more to them or do you think it is better to stick to one medium?
Yes, of course [it helps], not a lot of people get to go to the cinema and in some places there are no cinemas, so if I only act in movies, then my chances of being seen by everyone are far less than performing in ads or Ramadan series.
You are famous for your extreme frankness, and how you express your opinions boldly and fearlessly. Are you paying a bill for being this frank? Do you ever regret declaring certain opinions in public?
Yes, of course. I’ve paid the bill for being frank, but the other option is to be a liar, to be fake and I don’t like that. I never regret declaring any of my opinions in public. I stand by what I say and I strongly believe in what I say; if people misunderstand my words, then it is their problem not mine.
Social media has become a platform for people to judge each other, criticize each other’s actions and even curse each other in some cases; it has become without exaggeration ‘magharet Ali Baba’ (an expression alluding to the chaos in relation to the folk tale Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves). that’s why I don’t care much about social media. I don’t give [people on social media] much [attention] because they are not my friends, so whatever they say is not important to me.
You have announced before that you will never get married again. But what if you fall in love? Could you change your mind?
I don’t know. After you experience a lot of things in life, you tend to have a long list of Dos and Don’ts, and you try as much as you can to stick to them although life often doesn’t go as we plan. My initial thought is that I don’t want to get married again, but if I do find Mr. Perfect then why not? I know, however, that there is no Mr. Perfect, so that’s why I am saying no (laughs).
You have a unique relationship with your daughter; tell us more about it. What are your hopes for her?
I always hope that she does whatever she wants, is happy and gets to experience life. Her life as a youth is entirely different from when I was her age; things I have actually done were not the same things that were expected of me. She can have her own life, her own job, nobody is pushing her to get married and have children and all these stupid things; she is more free.
What is the secret of your beauty? Could you give our female readers some beauty tips?
My first and most important tip is to never sleep with your makeup on, never ever, even if you are dying and somebody literally stabbed your neck, you should stand up and wash your face before you die.
Does being vegetarian positively affect your life?
Definitely yes, I have more energy. If both of us are in the same situation, working the same hours, then I have more energy than you because I don’t have these poisonous things in my body, I am a bit cleaner (laughs).
What other roles, other that entertainment through acting, you’d say you have?
I studied fashion design and I always wanted to be a fashion designer. I really love it, fashion is truly my passion, maybe one day I will get to design. I have already done a few [fashion design] project.
How do you see Egyptian cinema and TV today? What did you watch in Ramadan?
I am very happy and proud of us, because we are really doing something good; everybody is trying their best whether it is actors, actresses, directors or cameramen. They are doing something they have never done before, exerting their maximum effort, so I am really proud of all our Egyptian filmmakers. This Ramadan, I watched great series including Ektefaa (Disappearance) starring Nelly Karim, Layali Eugenie (Eugenie Nights), Tayea and the hillarious Azmy w Ashgan.
What are your plans in cinema and TV?
I have no idea. I take it as it comes. I’m not that person who plans for the future because if I do that, I am going to get busy and not live in the present.