With the start of her acting career in 2017 in the series El Ab El Rohy (The Godfather), Asmaa Galal caught everyone’s attention, both for her screen presence and her beauty. With every role since then, her stature as a serious actress continued to grow, and she has also been an outspoken advocate of feminist causes. Hence our delight to have this Egyptian beauty and rising star on our cover and to interview her for the cover feature. After a long day posing in the recently revealed new collection by Rabanne H&M for our photo shoot, eniGma’s Janna Rabie sat down for an exclusive interview with Galal to find out more about her career and her path to success.
We set up our interview and photoshoot at Lucida, a new fine dining restaurant that is being raved about, in no small measure for its amazing design by architect Shahira Fahmy, inspired by distinctly Egyptian influences. Walking into Lucida is like entering a loving embrace that celebrates art and encourages laughter and joy. It was truly an inspiring setting for our shoot and interview with Asmaa Galal, who exuded light and cheerfulness herself throughout the day.
Galal projects a compelling charisma and warmth as soon as she walks in, and smiles and jokes with the team throughout the preparations for the shoot. After hair and makeup preparations are completed, she is finally ready for the camera. Asmaa is a natural, posing with confidence, grace, and sexiness in pieces from the recently revealed Rabanne H&M collection. The shoot is playful and joyful, reflecting Asmaa’s own disposition as well as that of the collection which sparkles in metallic opulence and dabbles in fantasy inspired by iconic Rabanne pieces over the decades.
After an amazing seven-hour long shoot, we call it a night and agree to conduct the interview the following day. Our conversation begins by exploring what had inspired Galal to become an actress. She reveals that, as a child, she was the biggest fan of the multifaceted Egyptian star, Sherihan, and was impressed by how talented she was, not only as an actress on the screen, but also on stage, where she sang and danced. Galal also expresses how impressed she is by Sherihan’s resilience, having fought a battle with cancer and come out of it even stronger.
Galal’s acting career began with the 2017 TV series, El Ab El Rohy (The Godfather), and she received positive reviews for her role in it. Following this success, she went on to star in several other TV series, namely Kalabsh (Handcuffs), Zel El Raees (The President’s Shadow), and La Totfe’ Al Shams (Don’t Turn off the Sun). Her TV credits also include Mamlaket Eblis (Lucifer’s Kingdom) S1 and S2, Luebat Al-Nesyan (The Game of Forgetfulness), Hekayat Banat (Women’s Stories) S4 and S5, Khali Balek Men Zizi (Take Care of Zizi), and El Harsha El Sabaa (The 7th Year’s Itch) this past Ramadan season. She also earned positive reviews for her appearance in the 2018 film 122.
One of Galal’s own favourite roles was in the television series, Ghorfa 207 (Room 207). She says she treasures this show because it gave her the opportunity to play more than one character, and because she got to play different and non-traditional roles in it. “Ghorfa 207 was shot in a different era, and my character got to dance a lot. The combination of it all is what was so interesting and fun to me,” Galal recalls.
Galal explains that her decision on whether to take on a project is solely based on the connection she has with the storyline and the character she is to portray, “even if there’s a very fine line between me and that character.” She stresses that each role she accepts should be different and should convey a message to the audience, which means that she develops new goals for herself with each stage in her career.
Galal explains how she immerses herself in each role, especially when it comes to romantic or emotionally intense scenes. She reveals that the way she builds chemistry with co-workers in romantic or emotionally intense scenes is by linking them to her own real-life emotions and experiences, completely disregarding who may be standing in front of her. “I’ve loved and known love before, so I use those genuine feelings I once felt and project them onto the scene. The same applies to scenes of pain. I call on real-life feelings of pain I have felt at times, and I let them out during those scenes,” she explains. “I’ve felt all these feelings at one point or another in my life, so I know how to project them in a different way with a different character,” she adds.
To help her stay in character during emotionally challenging scenes, Galal avails herself of yoga and meditation. She explains that the calm energy released from meditating has helped her get through a lot of challenging scenes that require a certain emotional capacity. While meditation is an important part of her daily routine, be it morning or night, she resorts to it also before or after a big scene. “When your body is relaxed, it reacts to that feeling,” she explains.
Galal recalls a time when she was attacked heavily for a role she had taken on, causing her mental health to deteriorate. “At first, I was deeply affected and miserable to the point that I lost weight, and my face broke out horribly,” she recounts. However, she overcame this experience and grew stronger, and today she is more resilient than ever. She faces all criticism with a brave face, jokingly mocking those who insult her based on their own personal preferences. “To each his own,” she says.
Galal possesses an undeniable authenticity and sticks true to her identity. “The greatest quality any actress should have, is to be herself. It’s not important to follow a certain trend nor to hop on the bandwagon just to please others,” she says, adding, “Dig deep within yourself, find your flaws, and work towards becoming the best version of YOU. When you accept yourself for who you are, everything else will fall into place for you as a real actress and as a real human being.”
Looking forward, Galal’s upcoming project is a starring role with actor Mohamed Emam in the film Le’eb Ma’a El Eyal (Games with the Kids). The film is directed by the renowned filmmaker Sherif Arafa, and marks his first collaboration with Mohamed Emam, the son of his long-time colleague Adel Emam. The film’s cast also includes Bayoumi Fouad, Bassem Samra, Mohamed Mahmoud, and Wizo.
Galal acknowledges the challenge of balancing her personal life with her career.She is grateful that with all the pressure, she has a strong support system. Her family and friends respect her busy schedule, push her to do better every day, and are there for her in time of need.
She repeats that she is highly motivated and constantly pushes herself to perform better with each role and thus appreciates the positive feedback she has received from viewers for her hard work over the years.
To conclude, Galal has some advice to young women who aspire to embark on an acting career. She stresses the importance of making sure that their passion is strong enough to fuel their drive, and that it’s not just a desire to be on TV to have 15 minutes of fame. “Their feelings towards acting should be real and true, and they should be willing to invest their time and effort into taking this road,” she states, adding, “No one has it easy, and no one succeeds easily.”
What inspired you to become an actress?
I admired Sherihan during my childhood and watching her inspired me to become like her.
Which actresses do you admire?
Mona Zaki, Hend Sabry, Saba Mobarak. Also in a parallel universe, I believe Anne Hathaway and I would be best friends!
Which type of role do you feel most comfortable in?
I don’t like sticking to one genre or type. I like to experiment and to try different things.
Do you look up to any woman?
I’ve always looked up to Soad Hosni. Everyone who knew her, says she was a happy person, filled with so much love and light. She was like a butterfly on screen.
What do you believe is the most important quality for an actor to possess?
To be true to one’s self.
What is your favourite movie?
I would say my favourite movie is Pink Panther.