From The Set of her Ramadan Series Ard Gaw
By Shorouk Abbas
With Ramadan filming season in full swing it takes fine-tuning to catch up with a busy star. When we did meet up with Ghada Abdel Razek she was charming and courteous and gave graciously of her time on set of the series Ard Gaw. The whole crew was preparing to leave for Paris the following day to continue shooting scenes there, and everyone was in high spirits. Abdel Razek, dressed in the short red skirt and white shirt she wears for her role as air-hostess looked slim and sculpted, and every inch the star she is.
Joined by her daughter Rotana and her make-up artist Zeinab Hassan, and surrounded by her plates of fresh fruit, the mainstay of her diet, she was relaxed and happy to give Cairo West Magazine a glimpse into her busy life.
CWM: What can you tell us about your current Ramadan series, Ard Gaw, without giving too much of the plot away?
GA: The plot is very interesting as it depicts what happens in real life, not only on an airplane. People want to make it very rapidly from rags to riches. Everybody is in a hurry to have everything. What happens in the series shows this unhealthy part of society. My role is an air-hostess and I love it because it is new to me. The character goes through many changes. There is also a twist that I will not divulge. I can safely say that it is a realistic story. I am so excited about it. The director Mohamed Gom’aa is great to work with.
Was your daughter Rotana an inspiration for this role as she is a pilot?
Rotana is not only my daughter; she is my manager as well. I am the one who encouraged her to become a pilot. I wanted to be one myself but I didn’t get a chance. I like the idea of women doing something daring and different. Rotana is the second female pilot in Egypt. I am a strong advocate of women’s empowerment. Of course because of her experience, she gets to give me some tips for my role.
You often play the villainess of the piece, is this coincidence or do you relish these roles?
Kind characters are easy to perform. Evil, conniving characters are more of a challenge. I love a challenge. I also feel that I empower women by performing these roles. Women identify with me in these roles. Many times they come up to me and tell me they are proud of me because I portray women as strong and willful.
Do you have any special method for preparing for new role?
I’ve always had an eye for character details. Even in real life. When I am around people, I hardly talk. I find myself scanning everyone around me. Even when I go out with Rotana, I am basically looking around me rather than talking to her. I am more interested in people’s characters, their body language and their reactions. That’s where I get my references, from real life!
How emotionally involved do you become in your roles, can you “switch off” when you leave the set?
Actually this is an issue. I become the character even when I go home from the set. I suffered last Ramadan, as my role in El Khanka was a mother who loses her son. It was so painful to me because I identified with the character. My mother lost her son, my brother, and I saw how grief devastated her. She even partially lost her sight. I don’t have the capacity to switch off a character. I become it.
Each year you keep us entertained with something new. How do you balance home life and your busy work schedule?
Recently I have become more of a stay-at- home person. If I am not working, I do not like to go out where there is a crowd. I am more comfortable with a smaller number of people. I prefer quiet places too. Actually, I find myself more drawn to the couch at my home. The funny thing is, I seem to find a couch that I will stick to wherever I go. I love my dogs Fluffy and Olive and I am perfectly content staying home with them.
Is there a particular character you still would like to play?
Shagaret El Dorr. That’s my goal now.
What is the moment in your life that impacted you the most?
When I made a decision to get a divorce from Rotana’s father and start pursuing acting as a career. I was determined to succeed as an actress although my parents did not think of it as a great idea. They were worried about me. I always knew that if I had a goal I would be able to reach it with perseverance.
Do you believe fame is a blessing or a curse?
The greatest blessing in my opinion. I feel grateful when people come up to me and tell me that I have a special place in their heart. The impact I have on their lives makes all the difference to me.
Who in the world of film has been your greatest inspiration?
Nadia Lotfy, Soad Hosny and Shadia. They are my idols. They make me love acting.
Omar El Sherif, Roshdy Abaza, Ahmed Ramzy and Ahmed Mazhar. They are all great actors, and handsome too!
Al Naddara Al Sawdaa
Agne7at Al Farasha written by Mohamed Salmawy
Crab. Believe it or not, I eat crab every day. After work I go home, no matter what time it is I will eat crab.