Throughout the past couple of years Nelly Karim has managed to become one of the most sought after actresses in Egypt. With her great performance in “1:0”, she has established herself a serious niche. Her performance in Zat was breathtaking and she has been the talk of town ever since.
“I can’t get out of Zat’s character it seems”, she says entering the studio with her two young daughters. “The young one didn’t want me to leave her at home so I had no choice but to bring them to the shoot”, she adds patting the little one’s head. Nelly Karim, a mother of four, juggles career and family, “it’s difficult of course but I don’t work around the clock for the whole year. If I’m shooting, I need to focus and I try very hard to detach, but you know sometimes when I’m at work I think about what’s going on at home and the other way around”.
“Throughout the past couple of years Nelly Karim has managed to become one of the most sought after actresses in Egypt.”
Being incredibly lucky to have her first role ever aside the legendary film icon Faten Hamama in “Wagh El Ammar” series 12 years ago, Nelly was eager to know her feedback, “I called her and she congratulated me on Zat saying that she enjoyed it a lot. It was a great reward for me to have worked with her in my first appearance. I remember her advice: be natural and don’t act. That’s the tip, to be honest and people will feel what you are trying to do”, she tells. On the other hand, Nelly doesn’t always count on luck, she believes that hard work is always the key to success, “Luck can come along, but I believe that you always harvest what you sow. When someone works really hard they will definitely find a reward. You can’t say that Zat was a lucky project; it had its ups and downs through the past couple of years until it made its way. The political unrest as well as many other factors collaborated in giving Zat a hard time until it finally came to light”,she says, “people were missing the Egypt they loved and Zat showed us this kind of Egypt, that was the real nostalgia”.
Although Nelly has worked with the same crew in “1:0”, she feels that Zat is a totally different experience, “It’s different from “1:0” because most of the workload was focused on me in Zat. Each episode is a whole movie on its own. From the age of 18 to 62, Zat walks through all phases of life. She is a person that reflects us all. We see her first love, then getting married and having kids until she becomes a grandmother. It’s as if you are watching a documentary. I’m watching it again now from another view. The first time I watched it, I was criticizing myself, but now I’m watching like an audience and enjoying it very much”, she says.
“Being incredibly lucky to have her first role ever aside the legendary film icon Faten Hamama in “Wagh El Ammar” series 12 years ago!”
With one outstanding performance after the other, Nelly knows quite well how to choose the right project. “I always look for teamwork. Sometimes you get to be offered a good script but the production isn’t that good, or the outfits aren’t matching a certain era all these factors reduce the success of a project. I have to look at the full picture first. It’s a chain, the good director will select a good story and when these two are available they will find a great producer. Kamla feels every character even if it’s a minor character. Nancy Abdel Fatah, the Director of Photography is a graduate of Fine Arts and she has the sense of a painter, she shoots as if she is painting. Mariam’s writing is very special, the dialogue and situations”, she comments.
As a mother, Nelly finds it very challenging to raise kids in this technological advancement that develops daily, “raising kids isn’t a piece of cake. With Internet and the technology boom, today’s 6 year old is similar to an 11 year old a few years ago. Most kids now waste their energy watching TV or in front of the PlayStation, this lack of physical movement is horrifying. I like my kids to see their friends, practice sports and get out of the technological scope for a bit”, she says.
Nelly is known to be a very private person. Although media always turns frenzy on her family life, she insists not to talk about her private or family life to the public. “Some people like to be exposed and some people don’t, I just don’t like to be exposed. I want media to talk to me about a project I recently did and not about my private life because it belongs exclusively to me. Everyone has their own problems but politicians and celebrities are easily to be talked about and people easily believe what is said about them. I don’t believe in half of what is said out there”, she elaborates.
“Having performed as a ballerina in Egypt and Russia, Nelly sees that the Ministry of Culture should have a lot to work on.”
Having performed as a ballerina in Egypt and Russia, Nelly sees that the Ministry of Culture should have a lot to work on. “I think that there should be a minor version of the Ministry of Culture in every city so there can be facilities and the child could learn art, ballet, reading, music, and painting without the obstacles of having to travel. Cairo is rich with private sectors that can provide that but we have a main problem in small towns and districts. When it comes to culture, we always focus on Cairo and Alexandria and everything else is just not on the map. The Ministry of Culture can’t work alone; it should team up with the Ministry of Youth & Sports as well. I believe that the Egyptian child has the ability of learning arts and instead of throwing stones we can hold a paintbrush and express ourselves”, she tells, “In Egypt we are separated it’s time to participate in the same project and I truly believe in the younger generations”.
The star, mother and artist knows the key to what women really want, “women want peace of mind, peace of heart and peace in their surroundings. That what’s really important”, she concludes.
Photo by Hatem Salah
Hair by Rafy from Al Sagheer Salons
Makeup by Sherif Khalil from Al Sagheer Salons
Special thanks to Dokan Boutique & Vintage Furniture & Object Emporium
Mariam and Kamla’s Jewelry by Azza Fahmy
Set of Drawers & Banquette by Dokan Boutique
Cushion by Zara Home