Insight Magazine
August ‘14
With her first hit single, she touched our hearts with her soft voice and musical talents. And when we thought she reached the top, she continued to surprise us with her impeccable acting forces. Mai Selim reached the peak of her stardom this Ramadan with four successful roles, proving that is not just a singer/actress but one forceful talent to watch after.
I find that the only way to prove my acting talents is to get out of my comfort zone and do a variety of different roles.
Mai Selim

What did you gain from acting in front of a legend like Mahmoud Abdul-Aziz?

I have always longed to work with the legend Mahmoud Abdul Aziz, and my dream finally came true in Gabal Alhalal. He is such an amazing actor and a very humble person who knows how to entertain the entire crew. It was an amazing experience and I wish to work with him in a new project soon.

What are the difficulties that faced you while playing Kholoud the drug addict?

This is not the first time I play a drug addict, I played it before in Aldeler, but Kholoud is a totally different character, she is very oppressed and is suffering from her husbands ignorance which made her cheat on him with a different man, as well as her fathers ignorance. All these factors lead her down the drugs road, until she returns to her mind and gets back on track again.

What about Yara in Fark Tawkeet?

In the beginning when I was offered Yaras role, I was so shocked with all the manipulation and hatred that fills her heart and I hated her so much. Although Yara is nothing like me, I decided to challenge myself and do this character, for I find that the only way to prove my acting talents is to get out of my comfort zone and do a variety of different roles. It took me a very long time and energy to prepare for Yaras character; I sat down with the director and the stylist and choose her clothes, her hairstyle and even the way she talks.

Playing a malicious, sinister and playful character was a surprise to your audience, how did they react to your character?

The feedback was awesome. I received very positive reactions and I was so happy for the success of my embodiment to this character.

Would you consider doing a villain again?

Sure, why not! I am always looking for diversity, and I can do any role, good or evil, as long as its suitable for me. The most important thing is the characters dimension and its influence in the context of the dramatic events.

What about Hala in Alsayad?

This Character touched my heart deeply, from all the bitterness and trickery she experienced. She is living under huge physiological pressure and her past has a magnificent impact on her and her daughters life besides the different conditions she experienced, she needs to feel safe and secure. All these factors makes her live in a constant state of tension and permanent anxiety.

And Sharaf in Kied Alhamawat?

I enjoyed playing Sharaf so much and enjoyed acting with such legendary actresses who have a large audience. Sharaf is a comedian persona, I was so excited to do a comic role because people need something funny and light. The message we want to deliver for the parents is the importance to give their kid enough freedom to express their opinions and choices within family limits of course. This was demonstrated through Majda Zakis character that controls and implements her house by military rules and represses her childrens freedom, even in choosing their life partners.

Four series, four different characters, how did you do it?

I coordinated and organized my filming schedule. Also I decided not to take any vacations before finishing all my commitments, and that helped me shoot my scenes in different times.

Which one did you enjoy acting the most?

I enjoyed them all, and I feel that they are a huge part of me. But the most difficult one was Yara, and its the most important to me on the personal level for it carries a lot of physiological dimensions. I think that it will have a huge impact in my career.

Was the competition fair, with this huge number of series that aired this Ramadan?

We need to create a different season for drama besides Ramadan that is witnessing an annual presentation of more than 60 serials, resulting a huge injustice for a lot of good series, that get better follow-ups when re-aired after Ramadan.

What is the hardest thing in your profession?

Playing different characters sometimes affects my personality, especially if I am playing a character that is totally different than my personality. But I manage to separate the different characters and this is not the first time Ive played more than one character at the same time.

With your busy schedule, how do you balance between work and taking care of your daughter?

My daughter is the top priority in my life. Motherhood changed me a lot. I always try to give most of my time to her and be reassured that I am directly responsible for every detail in her life. In addition to that my mother and sister are always helping me.

What did you watch this Ramadan?

Honestly, I was eager to watch my four series. I always critic myself and learn from my own mistakes, thats why I tend to watch myself carefully.

After the success of Sisters Soup any upcoming projects for you, Dana and Mais?

We have a new program; it will be a huge surprise to our audience. We will start preparing for it soon.

Did acting drive you away from singing?

Of course not, they both complement each other and each presents me to the people in a different way. I dont see a conflict between these two. Singing and acting are the two sides of the Art coin. There are a lot of super stars like Shadia and Hoda Sultan who sparkled in both passes. I will accept any good offer that comes to me whether its musical, cinematic or drama. The bottom line is the beauty of the work that carries a new message to the people. I believe Art should be beneficial and fun, not just entertaining.

Recently a lot of singers have been turning to acting. Do you think this will create a new competition between singers on a whole new level?

I think the art scene is open to anyone who has a talent, and a lot of singers are able to act and sing equally. I think that this competition is not featured, as singers do not have a huge acting career to build a competition upon. But it can be built on whether they have what it takes to build a career in acting or not.

What about your new album?

I started preparing for my new album, with Mazika and I'm still listening to new lyrics and melodies. I chose some songs where I collaborate with Mohammad Yahya, Madin, Aziz El-Shafei and Mohamed Alnady. I will start recording soon in order to release it by the end of the year.

By Rania Ihab