Mais Hamdan: The Wonder Woman Next Door

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Equal parts playful and beautiful describe Mais Hamdan, a modern day Wonder Woman who mesmerizes with her presence. Equipped with a golden voice and a talent to act and imitate she is one hell of a versatile talent. Her name alluding to the graceful body of a deer is predestined for fame and limelight.

She started her career with TV commercials and moved to Mehwar Channel in its early launch phase hosting a show. “I was quite lucky, one person from MBC was watching the show and called me to leave Mehwar right now and join MBC to be a host. When they found out that I sing and do the things I do, they gave me an own show”, Mais explains.

After her successful sketch show on MBC and a Gulf TV show she was recommended for the first Saudi Arabian motion picture “Keif El Hal” (How are you?). “When they first started to work on this film they were looking for a young popular face in the Gulf region, since I lived in the UAE for a while as a child and been working with GCC nationals a lot through MBC, it was easy for me to pick up the accent” she tells. Although “Keif El Hal” was not her first cinema experience it has been the most spoken about given the controversy of being the first Saudi movie discussing the arranged marriage of a young woman. “A lot of conservative people were against the release of this film but there were also others who encouraged this film”, Mais comments.

Her filmography includes “Zarf Tarek”, “Omar & Salma”, “Sharea 18” (Road 18) as well as the TV series “Arab London” and “Masraweya”. Palestinian-Jordanian Mais grew up in the UAE and has been living in Egypt for the past eighteen years now, which explains the full grown Egyptian accent.

Being a multi-talent makes decision making not an easy task especially in an industry that is often pre-occupied with certain labels and categories. “It has to be a good script, a respectable production house and director”, Mais explains how she picks her roles. “I love and began with comedy and it is my dream role to come” tells an extremely sexy Mais, contradicting the typical comedian image we are used to in Egyptian films, “I think one shouldn’t relate looks to talent or a genre. I will not change how I look just to fit a certain image we have of comedians. I like to be well dressed and made up nicely which has nothing to do with being sexy or the like. You should see me o You Tube and what I do you will find that I am not like that”.

When asked about the existence of female character roles she points out that “things are improving now especially in TV production whereas cinema is still lagging behind in this respect. There are phases all the time in Egyptian cinema. Currently, there are so many over commercialized productions which delay my cinema appearance. I would like to work with Mohamed Khan and Sherif Arafa”, she adds.

Her love for comedy reflects throughout the interview “I love Samir Ghanem, Adel Emam and Said Saleh, every one has a play that I love; Adel Emam’s “Shahed Mashafsh Haga” (The Witness who saw nothing), Samir Ghanem’s “Musiqa fi Hai Shaabi” (Music in a Shantytown) and Said Saleh in “El Eyal Kebret” (The Kids Grew Up)”, Mais adds excitedly.

Currently, she is working on a big Abu Dhabi TV production called “Layali Al Samar” where she is hosting high caliber guests from the Arab music scene such as Ragheb Alama, Kazem El Saher and Latifa, to drop some names. “I was impressed by the set; a really big tent in the desert with excellent guests and I got to sing with all of them. Although I hadn’t planned to do a project as a host but the production is very prestigious and I love it”, she comments.

Apart from that she is working on a comedy sketch show that shall be aired coming Ramadan. “I am a little disappointed with comedy in our cinema at the moment. After CBM I thought I will do so many things until I realized that most roles are written for men and the female is a sidekick paving the way for the man to do his jokes. So I returned to TV for comedy which has a fast exposure to different audiences. We are doing a comedy sketch show with some parts where I imitate characters”, she states.

Having released a new song with her sister May Selim they seem to have answered to the constant tabloid press accusing the sisters of being bitter rivals. “We are sisters who love and care for each other”, Mais notes.

Mais, describes herself as a Scorpio in her early twenties, a graduate of the Faculty of Commerce at CairoUniversity. She loves sports and Paulo Coelho. I like watching movies at home. She keeps herself fit at the Gym and watches her food. “The camera is cruel and adds some extra pounds that are not there in reality”, Mais points out. Her weakness is being very cautious and she does not trust people easily.

Her being single we are tempted to ask if men fear the success of a woman to which she answered “I think somewhat yes and moreover men think that as an actress her life is outdoors 24/7 which is not the case at all. My life is simpler than many of my friends. Of course there are functions I have to attend but I am not really out there. There are phases where I stay home for weeks and other times where I feel like being active, but I am not very outgoing as a person. I think women want to be successful at work and at home, I don’t want to generalize. For me I want to be successful at work, live a peaceful life with a good man who shall respect and love me and have kids”, Mais concludes, “my dream man has to be successful and with a good sense of humor. He has to be very ambitious and decent.”

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