Many of us loved her role as Italian-speaking ‘Sophia’ in ‘Eugene nights’ last Ramadan, this year she had us on the edge of our seats ,watching her standout as Sai’di speaking “Safeya” in ‘Weld El Ghalaba’. In this one on one interview we talk to Injy El Mokkadem about how she captured the essence of ‘Safeya’ & her take on how women in Upper Egypt are portrayed in the media.
From mastering the Sai’di dialect to understanding the environment that her character ‘Safeya’ grew up in, Injy had a very difficult performance ahead of her & she couldn’t have been more prepared!
“Learning the Sa’di dialect was very challenging, I didn’t want people to feel that it’s not authentic or unnatural. I practiced a lot with the director & we had a dialect coach. At first I wasn’t very comfortable speaking the dialect, then I got used to it by time. The practicing reached a point that I was walking around the house speaking the Saedi dialect with my children” Injy said.
Since Safeya’s role is very different than characters she played in the past, Injy El Mokaddem who loves to challenge herself says she is grateful she was chosen for the part.
“I really owe a lot to the director, Mohamed Sami who trusted me with this role, even though I never played the role of a Sa’idi woman before…When I was nominated for this role, some people were shocked how come I was a foreigner last year & now I will play this role. I am very grateful that I got the part” Injy added.
Strong female characters on screen, are something that we don’t see every day & Injy El Mokaddem succeeded in portraying two strong characters two years in a row.
“I am very happy that for two consecutive years, I was able to play roles of strong women Sophia & Safeya. They both faced many challenges & were able to stand-up for themselves, so they are both strong but in very different ways.”
“I have always supported this portrayal of strong women on screen”.
Injy thinks Safeya is a very complex character that has many layers. She was considered “the mother” of the house & head of the household after her mother passed away. She wasn’t able to marry the only man she loved Dahy, played by Mohamed Mamdouh and she tragically lost her sister.
“I did my best to portray all this complexity in the character, especially with a certain transformation that will happen later on to Safeya. She will become even more full-blooded” Injy added.
Safeya’s relationship with her brother “Eissa” played by star Ahmed El Sakka, is very emotional & becomes more & more tense as we continue to watch events unfold.
In one of the scenes, she confronts her brother when she finds out he is a drug dealer alongside Dahy. Many took to social media to praise the emotion, anger & intensity of the acting in this scene.
“Safeya doesn’t marry Dahy because of Eissa’s reservations on the marriage, due to Dahy’s shady business. But then she was shocked in Eissa, when he changed his principles completely & became a drug dealer himself, Safeya’s response was fierce as she is a feisty character” Injy adds.
“Safeya challenged Eissa in this scene & confronted him with such anger, almost slapping him, because he wasn’t practicing what he preached” Injy said.
When it comes to the portrayal of women from Upper Egypt in the media, Injy told us she thinks we have many good examples in Egyptian TV series & films that portrayed them in a non-victimizing way.
“By the way, women from Upper Egypt are not always oppressed, they are strong, they have a say & people listen to them, especially mothers & older sisters for example. We have to show more of these empowered examples in the media”
Speaking of female portrayal in the media, we asked Injy about her favorite female lead actress.
“Meryl Streep is my favorite female lead actress. I am very inspired by her determination in a field that did not accept women who did not fit certain beauty standards criteria. When Meryl Streep was young, she was rejected in one of the auditions, because of Hollywood beauty standards & she never gave up because of any kind of sexist comment. Look at her now she is one the most famous Hollywood actresses!” Injy said.
Photo Shoot Credits:
Mohanad Kojak, Photos & design
Heclev Hanna, Hair
Sherif Tanios, Makeup
Aya Negm & Mostafa Wahid,Assistant designers
Production: Ego Communicate