Basma – the star from next door

I met Basma over a diet coke and orange juice at Mint Café chit chatting about her life, career and aspirations. Her girl-from-next-door charms are real and not a role she puts on when the lights go on. I must say that I was amazed about how natural and genuinely friendly she is. Basma is a very realistic and down-to-earth young woman who seems to exactly know what she wants from life and from people surrounding her. Equipped with a generous portion of talent, good karma and determination Basma will catapult herself to the Olymp in a short time.

By mere serendipity Basma slid into the film industry by appearing on Yusri Nasrallah’s acclaimed film “El Madina” which introduced her to “El Nazer”. “Did I know back then that I wanted to be an actress? No. Only after “El Naama wel Tawuss” (The Ostrich and the Peacock) I knew that this is my calling and that I really want to pursue acting as a career”, Basma explains.

The past year was obviously (and yes touch wood) a good one for Basma as it started with Adel Imam and ended with Omar El Sharif. In between she shot two more movies of different genres that are to be screened very soon. “I love playing different roles and characters, I mean what’s the point in acting when it is always the same role or direction” she adds, “I try to pick without being picky, I mean I am not yet at the stage where I sit with a scenarist and work on a role, but I try to choose well from what is offered to me. Often you are not just picking a role but the whole project overall must fit and be promising.”

Which roles are the dearest to your heart?

“Hmm. Well, Samira in “Naama wal Tawuss” (The Ostrich and the Peacock) for one thing as she is so different than me. Secondly, “Hareem Karim” (Karim’s Women) as she was pretty much close to my personality and finally “Leilet Sukut Bagdad” as there was much room for interpretation. I hope that my new movie “Zay El Naharda” (Like Today) will be in that shortlist.”

Do you have any regrets?

“No regrets per se. I mean there are some things that in retrospect I would have done differently regarding my acting, may be in a more mature approach based on the experience that I have gained now. I learned a lot from these steps and accumulated experience. When I look at “Naama wal Tawuss” (The Ostrich and the Peacock) after six years I feel that I could have worked on some details differently for example, but based on my experience back then I gave my best.”

Egypt’s has many facets and double standards and so does the film industry. How do you cope with these?

“Our society as a whole suffers from double standards reflected in different industries and professions. Without being offensive to anyone I try to maneuver myself around these beliefs and capture different mentalities. If I meet people with different mentalities I respect that yet I watch my moves around them and might be more reserved.”

What changed in the film industry over the past few years?

 “There is defiantly a progress evident. “Naama wal Tawuss” (The Ostrich and the Peacock) for instance is a film about a social problem which was a new wind after years of comedies. Now you have a revival of all genres, even horror films are paving their way to existence. Apart from that production budgets have increased which in turn increased the amount of films being produced and thereby many chances for newcomers as well as for established actors have emerged. Another change is that female roles have become more essential and substantial over the past five years and moved from marginal to main. The ratio is not equal yet but it is moving upwards.”

Who were your favorite film partners?

“Hmm. Bassem Samra for his dedication. Allaa Walley El Din for his kindness, Mustafa Shabaan for his effort, Ahmed for his humor. Karim Abdel Aziz and Khaled Abol Naga are good friends and I love them a lot. Adel Imam, I utterly respect his mind amd Omar El Sharif for his mere kindness. Mostafa Kamar is amazingly humane, Ahmed Fishawy for his skill to slip into his role as well as Asser Yassin.”

Competition among women is tough, how is that in the film industry?

“Well it is tough competition, not always fair, but life is not fair. I mean I can’t complain, if I were working at KFC competition wouldn’t be fair as well. So yes there is competition among women in all fields and yes sometimes not very fair and below the belt but what I do is: I simply ignore that fact!”

Who are your friends in the field?

“Khaled Abol Naga, Karim Abdel Aziz, Ahmed Rizk as well as Hend Sabry and Menna Shalaby. They are very real, authentic and kind.”

What are you working on?

“A sitcom hopefully to be aired on TV in Ramadan. It is very funny.”

Would you like to act abroad?

“It sure has caught my interest to be exposed to different working systems or techniques. Of course the international exposure is great but I would only do it if it would be a promising role or move. I wouldn’t accept something I don’t like just for the sake of the foreign exposure.”

Who do you consult for advice?

“People outside the industry, they have a different and fresh outlook on things, especially when they are my friends who care about my personal well being. That’s what friends are for, right?”

I hear that fame has its price. Are you in touch with your old friends?

“Yes. Especially in the Facebook era it is so much easier to be in touch and maintain friendships. Of course life is very busy and we don’t see that much of each other but when we speak it is as if we met last week for a chat. The older one gets the smaller your circle of friends becomes. I mean at the age of 10 it is easier to make friends than when you are 20 something. Apart from that your interests changes along with the tight timing that all jobs have attached to it.”

What are your hobbies?

“I am quite lazy (laughs), I like movies, I just got myself a bike and I love traveling.”

What book are you reading at the moment?

“The Secret, I like it as it teaches people to be more positive and optimistic.”

Name 3 traits that describe you most?

“Clumsy, easy going and moderately kind.”

What’s your biggest weakness?


What do you have in your purse right now?

“Burberry Weekend, my wallet, a book, glasses, gum and darts (laughs). Yes I forgot to mention I started playing darts and I have darts in my purse!”

What about your private life? Is dating in the limelight more difficult?

“Dating is difficult period. I find that dating and relationships are difficult in all sections of society. When I see or hear stories of friends or other women you just conclude that the love game is difficult for everyone. I don’t like to talk about my private life that much, when there will be news worth telling then people will know.”

Are you superstitious?

“Yes (laughs). I mean I wasn’t I must say but no I believe in all these issues and I also believe in the existence of the evil eye. I believe in bad omens as well.”

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