Beautiful, talented and legendary define Salwa Khattab. She has been a league of her own playing remarkable roles in the late 80’s and 90’s. She starred in great films like Al Aragoz, Al Saher, Fatah Al Masna’ and TV series like Raafat Al Hagan, Hend and Dr. Noman, Al Doo’ Al Shared and the latest Embratoreyet Meen. Her role as Aziza the tough drug dealer in Segn El Nessa was definitely a great addition to her resume.
Salwa worked with Kamla Abu Zekry on ‘Al Saher’ when she was the Assistant Director to Radwan El Kashef. She loved her second experience with Kamla and Aziza is a role that she is very proud of. Surprisingly, her script choices post Segn El Nessa won’t take a new level “I set my own rules ever since I started when I graduated from the Film Institute. I studied acting and my career wasn’t a coincidence. Studying helped me a lot in major transformations like voice tones for example. Aziza’s laugh was the opposite of my real laugh”, she explains.
Salwa doesn’t mind working with young filmmakers with little experience, “I don’t mind at all. I’m always up for new experiences”, she comments. After decades of hard work, Salwa doesn’t mind getting coached for a new role, “You always keep on learning. I studied acting, but I don’t mind opening my mind for something new to learn”, she says.
Aziza was a strong woman who ran a drug dealing ring and Salwa knew how to master this character, “Aziza was three quarters of a man I must say”, she says. Her character showed a woman, who settled with a husband who was previously one of her drug dealer boys, which drives the question, do love and strength mix? “Manhood has many definitions and Aziza won’t choose a guy of a certain education or social background, he had to come from her world. She made him everything in the house and when he made one mistake, she returned him to the ‘nobody’ he was”, Salwa tells.
Tackling women issues can be very controversial and working in a team of women makes that a little bit easier, but for Salwa, it doesn’t have to be a female director who works on the story, “Fatah Al Masna’ was directed by Mohamed Khan, believe me it’s all about the script. If the script is well written, it’ll lead the director in addition to his/her vision”, she comments. Some people might agree or disagree on how “real” women’s prison is shown in the series, “We wanted people to know why those women were jailed in the first place. It’s not always dancing and singing inside the prison, they have problems too. Any closed society has its problems. So when it comes to prison, of course they aren’t always friends and sisters”, she elaborates.
Embratoreyet Meen was also a major leap for Salwa’s career. Through this role, she was able to show her cynical performance. “It was a challenge because it was the first time to do a comedy role. I feel that comedy here always comes from the script, but real comedy has to be through the character’s features that make you laugh, not the gags”, she says.
At this point of her career, Salwa is happy and satisfied, “Every phase of my life is different and unique. I want to leave a stamp in my field of work and to have created a certain school/style for acting. I don’t want to be someone who just passed through life, I want to be someone who left a mark that they were here”, she tells.
Aging gracefully, Salwa is always working on being fit and in shape, “You don’t have to be a female actress to take care of your looks. Actors and actresses in general have to maintain a perfect shape to be able to be flexible when it comes to variety of roles”, she explains. “On vacation, I try to eat, sleep and travel. Sometimes I work over 20 hours so I try to relax and eat well when I have the chance”, she says.
Today, Salwa is single and for a successful woman to find love, it’s a little bit challenging. “He has to be unique for me. My man doesn’t have to be famous, but he has to be accomplished because if he wasn’t, he won’tunderstand that women are equally ambitious “she says.