We all know Ghada Adel as a beautiful silver screen star. But few know that she is also the wife of successful director Magdy El Hawary and the proud mother of five. In this exclusive shoot, Fashion Director Maissa Azab takes Adel back to her childhood memories while Deputy Editor Omnia Zaied finds out how she balances it all.
It’s been two years since we last interviewed Ghada Adel. Since then she has appeared in the blockbuster film Ala Gothety (Over My Dead Body) with superstar Ahmed Helmy and starred in two TV series Farah El Omda (The Mayor’s Wedding) and Ser Alany (Public Secret). Now as she prepares for the big TV production, Saray Abdin (which is going to air in Ramadan) with a slew of big stars like Yousra, Nour and many more, we catch up with her to see what she has been up to and how she manages to be a mother of five, a movie star, and the great woman behind a famous and successful husband…
You were last on our cover in the May 2012 issue, how have things changed since?
Has it been two years already? Well a lot happened. I got older, my kids got older. The political situation left us all on the edge of our seats; but we have all been and still are hopeful for a better Egypt.
Since this is our Mother’s Day Issue, let’s talk about your kids…
I have five kids; four boys and one girl.
Five kids and you still manage to keep your figure?
Well when you give birth to a lot of kids you learn to live on a diet all your life. The doctor taught me how to eat healthy. What I do is I eat five small meals instead of three big ones. I have a cookie and some coffee when I wake up then a couple of hours later I have another snack. I have lunch at around three in the afternoon and instead of having one big dinner I have two small snacks later. Every now and then, I try to work out but I don’t do it as much as I should. Also having five kids helps because it makes you move a lot. I am always doing something or running around the house so I burn a lot of calories this way.
Are the kids more like you or like your husband?
They have a little bit of both of us. Usually when they show a good trait I say they got it from me and when it’s bad then it’s definitely from Magdy! They are very naughty. For me, raising girls is much easier than boys. My daughter has always been calmer and quieter, she is always in her room or sitting aside doing her own thing.
Do you take care of them yourself?
I have help, but I take care of them myself. I no longer cook though. I have done enough cooking to last me for the rest of my life. They love my pasta though, so I make it every now and then.
When you have some quality time to spend with them, what do you usually do?
A lot of things. Sometimes we watch TV. We go to the sports club a lot because they know that I love walking. So if one of them needs to talk to me about something or needs anything from me, they come walk with me. We also like to play video games and try cooking new dishes together as a family.
Does your fame affect them?
Of course, it does. I can’t go anywhere with them which really upsets them sometimes. They tell me they wish I wasn’t famous so I could take them out to places like the mall. But at times they love my job. If I disappear for some time and one of their friends asks if I am “no longer a star” they get very upset.
Both you and your husband are in show business, are any of them interested in following in your footsteps?
Not really. Sometimes they say so, but they’re still too young to decide.
If they do decide to follow in your footsteps, would you encourage them to do so?
Yes definitely, especially the boys. But I never tell them what do. I always let them make their own choices. Now with all the new technology, they are much more exposed to the world than we used to be when we were at that age. So I like them to make use of that, to form their own personalities, and follow their heart.
Between you and your husband, who is the good cop and who is the bad cop?
I am definitely the good cop, I let them do whatever they want. If it weren’t for Magdy, I would probably let them skip school every day to play.
Would you consider having more children?
No, this is it for me.
Looking back, would you have started having kids at the same time you had your first child or would you have waited a few more years?
I wouldn’t wait. Thank God I started having kids when I was younger. If I had delayed it, taking the decision it would have been much more difficult. I started working and had my first child at the same time so I just found myself in the middle of it and started dealing with it. Some people wait till they get settled at work before they have kids, but it just makes taking the decision much more difficult. Also, when you are younger you are in a better condition to take care of your kids, and you grow up together which brings you closer.
How did motherhood change you?
Motherhood changes everything. You become wiser when you have the responsibility of raising kids. You become their role model and they take after you so you learn to be very careful about what you do and what you say. You also learn to be more responsible as you learn to solve your kids’ problems, which are a lot. It all makes you tougher.
What advice would you give to new mothers?
First of all I’d advise them to have kids as early as possible so they can have the energy to raise them. It also makes them closer which makes parenting much easier. Also they should befriend their kids and gain their trust. When the kids are a bit older you need to find ways to communicate with them and to get them to tell you everything while trying to find the best way to guide them without pushing them away.
If you had to quit your job to stay home with your children, would you be able to make that decision?
I think this is an impossible scenario but of course if things came down to that I would definitely leave my job for my kids. But keep in mind that my kids are no longer children they are older now so they don’t need me as much as they used to.
If there’s one thing you can teach them, what would that be?
Honesty with others and with themselves. I don’t want them to be afraid of anything. I want them to face their fears because fear only gets you in more trouble.
If there’s one thing you would want to leave behind for them, what would that be?
Their education. I make sure they get the best education possible. Also I’d like to leave a good reputation that would make them proud of me.
What would your ideal family vacation be?
Going to the beach somewhere in Egypt. The sea here is amazing, better than anywhere else in the world. We usually go to El Gouna or Sharm El Sheikh.
Let’s talk a bit about marriage; how does married life change after having kids?
It becomes better. Before having kids we used to fight much more. But after you have your first child, your priorities change and you start focusing more on him. You no longer have the time to spare on stupid fights.
Who usually takes the major children-related decisions?
We do it together. Of course we have arguments. But we always reach a compromise and we choose what’s best for them.
You have been married for quite a long time now, what do you think is the secret to a successful marriage?
Resilience. Successful marriages don’t just happen. You have to work at them. You have to learn to let things go and to compromise. You will have a lot of arguments but you have to be patient and to respect each other through them all. You can’t be stubborn; you have to do what’s best for the entire family and not just for yourself.
What do you like the most about being married and what do you hate the most about it?
The best thing about being married is having kids; the worst is the responsibility that comes with having them. The responsibility makes you tied up and it makes you do things you wouldn’t do if you were on your own.
How do you balance it all out, work, marriage, kids?
Well I don’t work as much as I could. I only work on one thing a year so it allows me to spend much more time with my family. And I am fine with that even if it makes me less of a star. I am at peace with the fact that I can’t have it all and I am very happy with where I am.
ART DIRECTION & STYLING: Maissa Azab
PHOTOGRAPHY: Sherif Mokhtar