Born and raised in Egypt, the land of drama, Elham Safieddine grew up on the love of acting, surrounded by her mother’s family who works in the industry. She attended the British International School of Cairo, moved to Dubai afterward to study Digital Marketing at Middlesex University, and then, paved her way back to the country where she grew up in order to pursue what can only be described as a promising career in acting.
Azyaamode got the chance to interview her and discover all about her passion, her inspiration, and the goals she dreams of reaching.
How did your childhood inspire you to pursue a career in acting?
Everyone on my mom’s side of the family work in the industry, my after-school activities consisted of two things: drama sessions and theatre practice, or going on set and observing how things work behind the scenes. I love everything about the field, I was always curious as to how things worked so I asked loads of questions, eventually acting is what spoke to my heart the most.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
I strongly believe that inspiration can be found everywhere – in people, places, things, emotions, and everything in between. If you want to be inspired, you will be. That being said, my biggest inspiration when it comes to my acting career is my aunt, Elham Shahin. I believe her strength, persistence, and love for art will forever continue to inspire me and many more for generations to come. I truly admire her talent and hard work.
From short films to series, how far would you say your career has come?
My acting career started almost two years ago. The short film entitled ‘My Girlfriend’ directed by Kawthar Younis was the first thing I ever participated in. The film won multiple awards including the Jury Award at Cairo International Film Festival and I won two Best Actress Awards at other festivals. It was shocking to me that my first acting experience allowed me to achieve so much. I couldn’t have done it without my co-star Marc Haggar. Shortly after, I was cast as one of the main characters in the first-ever Egyptian soap opera, ‘West El Balad’, a completely different experience that allowed me to experiment and play around with different methods of acting. Both projects required long hours of hard work, but seeing it all pay off has been exhilarating. I’ve been very lucky, thank God.
From all the series you participated in, which is the one that truly reflects who Elham Safieddine is in real life?
So far, I don’t think that any of the roles I played reflect who I truly am. However, every single role resonated with specific parts of me. Sara in ‘My Girlfriend’ has my fearlessness and boldness. Zeina in ‘Meen Qal?’ went through my childhood body shaming and self-consciousness. Reem of ‘West El Balad’ knows how to speak her mind just like I do. It’s super important for me to be able to find aspects that I can relate to in my characters, in order to bring them to life in the most vulnerable way possible.
How does acting make you feel and what is the place you dream to reach through this career?
Acting makes me feel alive. I love the process of reading a script for the first time and coming up with a backstory. I love building up all the little details of my character and putting together her final look. I love that acting helps me sort through my personal emotions, as well as experience new ones. I can go on and on but ultimately, it satisfies me. I have BIG goals, for the time being I’m focusing on the now and taking it all in step by step. I’m working towards expanding my career to Lebanon and the rest of the MENA region. In the long run, I hope that when I look back at my long career, I’m able to smile because I truly believe that I gave it my all, and I did it wholeheartedly with so much love.
What tips would you like to give to every Arab young woman who would like to pursue a career in acting?
I say to every young Arab woman wanting to pursue a career in acting: don’t be afraid to be BOLD and don’t shy away from asking for what you want. Put yourself out there. Ask for advice. Work on your skills. Work on your mental and emotional well-being because it’s the core of what we do. Above all else, believe in yourself, do it with love, and stay humble.
Article Written by Mirella Haddad