Yasmine Sabri Egypt's New Leading Lady

Although a relative newcomer to the silver screen, Yasmine Sabri has managed to captivate Egypt and the entire region in more ways than one.  There’s definitely more than meets the eye when it comes to this stunning beauty.  eniGma’s Mona Soliman sat down with the rising young actress to find out the secret behind her rapid success and popularity.

The seemingly uninhibited star sits inconspicuously at a noisy café; her beauty, poise and composure part and parcel of a charming, down-to-earth personality.  Smiling comes naturally to this modest beauty who is wise beyond her years.  It doesn’t take long for the café staff to recognise her and ask to take pictures with her.  She gracefully complies.

It is easy to understand why people are so drawn to Yasmine Sabri.  It’s not just that she is, in fact, a bombshell; her lovely, warm personality makes her all the more endearing to anyone who meets her.

Growing up, Sabri always felt that she was born to stand out. “I believed I was destined for something big. I didn’t know what it was back then, but I knew I couldn’t follow the crowd,” she states.  After graduating from college with a degree in mass communications, she took a corporate job and was immensely successful at it.  Yet, the feeling that she should be somewhere else kept nagging at her.  Listening to her heart, she came to the realisation that there was more to life for her.  She kept thinking that she wanted to become the next Oprah Winfrey, not in terms of fame and fortune, but rather to inspire and help people reach their full potential.

In 2012, Sabri decided to enter the Miss Egypt beauty pageant, believing that it would bring her recognition and the chance to meet the right people she needed to know to achieve her ultimate goal.  Unfortunately, the pageant was cancelled that year due to the revolution and the lack of sponsors.  Undeterred, she stayed the course and started appearing in commercials.  “I am convinced,” she says, “that every opportunity is a stepping stone.  It might not be what you want or what you expect, but if you stick with it, you will reach your target.”  She was right.  She got her break when, while working on a commercial, a crew member noticed her and helped her get a role in Moez Masoud’s TV program, Khatawat El Shaytan, which aired in Ramadan 2013.  The show explained different elements of Islam by having actors portray different personalities in a series of events.  Because of the show’s nature, Sabri had to change her appearance completely. She recalls, “I wore a veil and very little makeup and it didn’t bother me at all.  I like dressing conservatively, and I am actually very picky when it comes to my wardrobe selection. I absolutely refuse to dress provocatively.”

Even though she is at the start of her acting career, Sabri has already worked with superstars like Mahmoud Abdel Aziz in Gabal El Halal, Mohamed Imam in Gahim Fl Hend, Mohamed Ramadan in Al Ostoora and will soon be appearing with Ahmed El Sakka in Aks Akareb El Saa’a in Ramadan 2017.  While she is grateful for what she has accomplished so far, she remains very ambitious.  “I dream of being a Hollywood star, and I’m working at it,” she remarks with excitement in her eyes, “I dream of working with the likes of Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood and Leonardo DiCaprio.”  She has, indeed, gone to Los Angeles to look for agents and is planning on taking acting workshops to help her attain her target.

“Working in Hollywood is different because movies have a message.  I admire Leonardo DiCaprio because his work deals with real life issues.  He uses his fame to spread awareness and do good,” she exclaims.  Sabri herself is passionate about women’s causes.  She is an outspoken feminist and is a passionate advocate of women’s advancement all over the world. “Thousands of years ago, women were queens and they ruled Egypt. I don’t understand what happened,” she notes.  This is what prompted her to become an ambassador for Anti Al Aham, a campaign launched by the Arab Women Organization.  “I’m travelling to Syria, Jordan and Lebanon very soon to visit refugee camps to try to help them,” she says as her eyes  well up with tears.  “No matter what problems we might be going through, they are nothing compared to the atrocities that refugees have to face every day.  My purpose in life is to make a difference in the world,” she adds.

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In her field, Sabri seems undaunted by challenges that come her way.  “The biggest challenge I face is keeping my life private. I’m not into partying and I hate gossiping.  I like my personal space and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything by being distant,” she explains.  She likes to be very selective about the company she keeps. “I have very few friends and lead a very simple life. I like reading, working out and going to places on my own, like the beach or the movies,” she adds.  Despite that, Sabri maintains her zeal and passion about acting.  “I love changing my personality, being a greedy, cunning person one day, then being shy and victimized the next!  I like playing roles that people can relate to,” she explains.  Her dream role is to play a girl who starts out with nothing and makes something of herself.  The more relatable the character, the better.

To Sabri, accolades and awards don’t compare to how important the opinions of her fans are.  “They are the reason for our success in the industry,” she admits.  She realises that so many of her fans refer to her as a role model, and she doesn’t take this responsibility lightly.  She always strives to become a better version of herself and is careful about her choices. “Arrogance hinders self-improvement.  It is the beginning of failure,” she believes.

Preconceived notions that people might have about her or about actresses, in general, don’t faze Sabri.  “Most actresses are labelled as being uneducated or are thought to come from uneducated families,” she says, adding that, “beautiful ones are thought to be dim-witted, too.”  She notices that most people, including TV presenters, are often surprised by her eloquence and intellect.  “Being known for being beautiful doesn’t bother me.  Women are meant to be beautiful physically, spiritually and mentally.  I like to be more than just a pretty face.  I work on that by educating myself and enriching my soul,” she exclaims.

To Sabri, spirituality is a practical path.  She has read The Secret and swears by it.  “At the beginning of every year, I write a list of everything I want to achieve throughout the year.  By the end of the year, I cross them all off. I accomplish all that I set my mind to and truly believe in,” she remarks adamantly.  Sabri wants people to be ambitious and reach for the stars. “Believe in your dreams and you will achieve them,” she says, “that’s the message that I want to convey to the world.  To make it in life, you have to push yourself, find your passion and fight for your dreams.”  As for herself, Sabri adds, “now I feel like I’m closer to what I was destined for, but I’m not there yet.”

When it comes to her career, what is most captivating about Sabri is her unwillingness to settle or to give up on her dreams.  She is quick to add, “I believe that the biggest mistake women make when they get married is to give up on their dreams.  The guy I end up with has to be spiritual, steady, strong and ambitious.  I will never let anyone steer me off my path. You either believe in me and what I dream of or get out of my way.”

Sabri admits that being a celebrity and adored by many doesn’t mean you are not vulnerable to life’s disappointments and tough situations.  She wisely concludes, “Time reveals the truth about people and it really does heal all wounds.  With experience, people get stronger and smarter.  You must live outside your comfort zone.  Once you do, you’ll be surprised by what life has to offer.”

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