January ‘15
Insight Interview

January ‘15
Sanaa Youssef
Sanaa Youssef


Acting and becoming famous was a far-fetched dream to Sanaa, yet with her several talents and a strong resume that included a TV series with legendary Actor Adel Imam, she managed to set herself as one of the up-and-rising stars proving that she is more than just a pretty face or a sexy voice!

When did you discover your passion for acting?

I discovered my passion for acting during my school days. I started singing at school concerts when I was ten. Back then I never aimed to be an actress instead I wanted to be a singer, but I was drawn to the allure of theatre and it attracted me to acting.

How were you nominated to star in the TV series 'Ferket Nagy Atallah' (Nagy Attalah's Gang)?

The production company contacted me to meet Mr. Ramy Iman and the superstar Adel Iman, after they watched my movie 'Elhadsa' (The Accident) that was displayed in various film festivals. I am beyond happy that my first acting debut in Egypt was with the legendary actor Adel Imam.

What did you learn from Adel Imam?

I guess no words will be enough. He's such an intellectual person, you'll never learn enough from him. He always cares about each and every member in the crew. He taught me to be punctual and to love my work regardless of the size of my role. I really enjoyed the entire experience.

How did you prepare for your role in 'Dala'a Banat' (Spoilt girls)?

My role in Spoilt Girls was a surprise even to me! I've never been offered a part with such a candid combination of hatred, greed and selfishness. I was really afraid of playing her, but after I met the director and understood her vision I started to concentrate on the little details as well as Nagwan's history to draw the authentic reasons behind her character. Research is the most important part in portraying any character, as it helps improve the actor's performance and makes him more convincing. The appearance is also as important, I had to change a lot in my look and style to become Nagwan, especially that she faces a lot of turning points during the series and they have to manifest on her behavior and general appearance.

Nagwan is a combination of hatred, jealousy and greed. Weren't you afraid of audience's feedback?

I expected the feedback to be different but I wasn't afraid people would hate me. As an actress, I must portray both good and evil characters and hope not to get stuck in one genre.

You've recently been honored with the Spoilt Girl's team by Dakahlia province, how does that make you feel?

Where are you from the movie industry?

I admit I am unlucky when it comes to Egyptian cinema, maybe because I moved to Egypt before the revolution and since then the movie productions are very limited. I have been offered a lot of roles that didn't attract me. I did a movie in America and another in Tunisia that I am very proud of. I want to offer Egyptian audience a movie with good subject and content. Now that we reached a state of political stability, the movie business should start recovering, and producers are starting to work on projects with better content.

You've acted in Egypt, Tunisia and America. What's the difference?

I am pleased to participate and work in a number of projects in the Middle East and internationally, they've all added a lot to my balance as an actress. I didn't witness any difference in the process, as I worked with a lot of Arab directors and producers who use the same techniques as the foreign ones!

My role in Weakness Point was a good step to show the audience my abilities as a singer. Only a few know that in the beginning of my career I participated in a lot of musical plays. Through Noor's character, I was able to re-distribute a number of songs and people started to praise my voice. I love music and I hope to be a singer but I am waiting for the right time and opportunity.

What are your coming projects?

I am preparing for a new movie project but I am still reading the script! I have been offered a lot of movies since Nagy Attalah's Gang but I didn't like any of them. It is important for me to do a role that will be beneficial for me as an actress.

What's the hardest thing about being an actress?

Acting has a special allure, but the hardest part is incarnating the character I am playing. When I am preparing for a new character I lock myself away from my family, friends and even my habits and live the character I am playing. The whole process takes a lot of energy, but it is a very fruitful one.

I guess what's more important is how the audience and critics evaluate me, because that's really how I know if I performed well or not.

If you get the chance to portray a historical character, who would you choose and why?

I have no problem portraying any reputable figure that had an imprint during her time, but if I get to choose I would choose Fairouz, Warda Al Jazaeria and Soad Hosney.

By Rania Ihab