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An established actress in the comedy genre, Ola Roshdy wished to branch out and explore the hidden depths behind a woman’s smile. We caught up with the quirky star to find out what drew her to the role of Malak in this month’s romantic comedy Love Story, and how she managed to make the character shine for more than just a laugh or two.

CWM: Tell us a bit about the character you play in Love Story.
OR: Malak is married to Youssef‘s best friend Ibrahim, they have a child together. He relies on her for advice, as any good friend would. She is straight-forward, blunt, and funny. I worked a lot on this character to make her a well-rounded person, not just a one-dimensional character. I wanted to give her more depth. I wanted to explore her background, what motivates her actions or the advice she gives, to find the truth behind her jokes… This was a good opportunity for me play with a lot of the techniques and methods I have picked up through the workshops and the hard work I invest in my passion.

How did Malak and Ibrahim’s marriage play out on screen?
It was interesting, because I know Yasser El Tobgy off-screen as well and he’s a brilliant comedic actor. I almost had to hold him back at various points during filming to not act out scenes with too much comedy or jokes! Ibrahim is a very sarcastic character who always makes light of everything. While Malak is funny too, over the years, the jokes may take their toll or get old. It was great to work on the behind-the-scenes elements of what is happening on the page, because the script is very straight-forward in terms of what is taking place.

What drew you to this film after taking a bit of a break from acting?
I have been off the radar for a while being a mommy and devoting time to my personal life, also I was waiting for the right part. I didn’t want to take just any role, just to act. I’ve been investing time in learning from the workshops I partake in with an LA acting coach, getting used to using my voice and body as an instrument, and waiting for the right role. I used to do a lot of comedic roles without any depth, just the funny girl – but nobody is just a funny girl. Even if you’re funny, sometimes you are sad or there is something behind the jokes. Sure, this is a comedic role as well, but it has a different side to it and a real, dramatic aspect to it. You can see that this character is a whole individual, and that was important to me.

What message do you hope audiences will get out of the film?
That nobody is perfect, everyone has imperfections. At the same time, everyone has something lovable about them – even if they are impaired in some way. And without being cliché, that love is blind!

In celebration of our Love Issue, what advice would you give newlyweds or those lucky to have found love?
It’s a lot of hard work; relationships are like any business or any project you undertake. In order to be successful, you need to keep working at it and not give up – you can’t give up after the first month or at the first problem. Hard work, commitment, respect, and communication above all. Even if you feel like you are right, or if you feel like it’s a lost cause, you have to keep working. It’s not easy, it actually keeps getting harder – you’re spending your life with this person. You have to find ways to appreciate each other, even when you can’t find anything to appreciate, there is always something good – you found that in the beginning, didn’t you? But my biggest piece of advice is to start with yourself. If you’re unhappy, nobody will make you happy like you can. Someone else won’t be able to fix that.

QUICKFIRE ROUND

Dogs or cats?
Dogs.

What are you currently reading?
1-2-3 Magic … it’s a book about disciplining kids!

Comfort food?
Donuts

Most peaceful place?
On the beach in Sinai.

Favorite actor/actress?
Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp.

Music on repeat?
80’s rap and hip hop.

What makes you the happiest?
Getting a massage!

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