Egyptian superstar Laila Eloui has been a head turner ever since her first appearance in the play Taman Sitat (8 Women). Movies, plays, and TV series followed, one after the other and Eloui quickly captured hearts and became the sweetheart of Egyptian cinema. An accomplished actress, she has proven herself in many important roles on screen. Lately, however, her fans have been obsessing over her new, slimmer look, which has made her appear younger and more glamorous than ever. eniGma’s Yosra Shohayeb caught up with Eloui to find out what her beauty secrets were and to discuss her career and upcoming projects.
Your many fans are wondering, what is your beauty secret? How do you maintain your beauty?
Beauty belongs to God. I really don’t see myself as pretty as people see me. I think when you are relaxed and satisfied it is reflected in your appearance, especially your eyes. Thank God I feel positive and full of satisfaction at this point in my life. I feel good and I’m satisfied with my work and my life. There’s a positive energy surrounding the people around me. Of course I use creams on my face and I try to keep my skin moisturised. I also stay healthy by drinking vegetable juice every day, using anything that is green. I also drink four glasses of water a day and that makes me feel full. Unfortunately I don’t play sports regularly but I move a lot. I eat what I like, but I’m careful; for example, if I eat pasta one day, I make sure that the next day I take care of my diet.
There must be a lot of men proposing, what do you look for in a man?
I look for someone who is the definition of a man in every possible way. A man who knows how to love and appreciate me, and who can take care of me and envelop me with his love. A man whose feelings and personality won’t change and whose love will not only be constant but will grow. A man who can be my friend, husband, father, son, and who will enter the depth of my mind.
How do you balance family and a successful career, and also take care of yourself?
Of course it is difficult, but my family is very understanding. Work is important and must be done, but I don’t like working all year. I like to take a break from acting from time to time. During my breaks I spend time with my family and friends, especially my mother. This makes me feel secure and safe about things when I’m not around. Of course, my son Khaled is grown up now and he is more responsible. So our life has become more organized. While I’m shooting, I’m very dedicated to work and I study very well and prepare for the character thoroughly. At the same time, I am careful not to pressure myself to do other things I don’t feel like doing, except when duty calls, of course.
Do you believe traveling is important for a stress-free life?
Being by the sea is very important for me, whether it’s to swim or to relax by the beach when the weather is cold. I enjoy traveling to Ain Sokhna, the North Coast, Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, Cote d’Azur or Greece depending on my budget and my son’s and mother’s circumstances. I love to travel, to escape to a relaxed and comfortable getaway, not to shop.
Do you ever like to go on a holiday of adventure?
My whole life is an adventure and every character I do is a new adventure, so I prefer a relaxing getaway.
You have acted in cinema, TV series, and in theater. Which do you enjoy most?
There is a quote which I like, “I love the cinema as my dreams come true in it.” Theatre is also fun especially since you interact directly with the audience. But I’ve done radio as well! Actually radio is where I started my journey. My mother worked in radio and that’s how I entered the world of acting. As for television, it makes me enter everyone’s home. I feel I am a friend to all the members of the family, whether its the mother, the son or daughter, the grandfather or the grandmother. I’m lucky to be an actress and to work in this field in all the mediums which I’m good at; and I am thankful that people enjoy my work.
Tell us about your experience as a TV presenter in “Mozee’ El Arab”?
I was a jury member in Mozee’ El Arab and I enjoyed it very much. I was never a presenter on TV except once, years ago, when I was a guest presenter with Amr Adib in AlQahera AlYoum. The best thing about Mozee’ El Arab was that you saw the results of the program right away. I saw the successful participants embark on flourishing careers, whether in Alhayat or AbuDhabi channels. I enjoyed working with the cast, my colleagues, Tony the director, Mona the producer, and the entire crew. It was a great experience.
What do you think of the new faces in Egyptian cinema?
The new faces in the Egyptian cinema, the new actors, directors, scenarists, production designers and directors of photography, are all great. They are serious and they are willing to delve deeply in subjects to produce great work. I like that very much and it is what the audience wants to see.
What is your advice to the new generation of actors?
I don’t have advice to give. But I can see that the young new faces are very aware about what is going on around them. This awareness adds to their experience even if they haven’t worked much yet. I would just say that whether you are an actor, director, etc…you should do your part with honesty and love, and strive to make better cinema and to make your country better.
You have a big movie coming soon, “El Wagh El Hassan”. Tell us something about it.
The movie’s idea is new and I like it very much. I love the whole cast, Menna Shalaby, Bassem Samra, Ahmed Dawood, Sabreen, Enaam Saloosa, and Salah Abdalla. The movie is very real and humorous. We have a great director, Yosry Nasrallah and a great director of photography Samir Bahzan, who has done a very good job with his crew. Shooting went smoothly; however it took a lot of effort and it was all shot outdoors. I’m not allowed to say much about my character, but I enjoyed playing it, and loved everything about filming the movie.
Tell us about your character in your next Ramadan series “Heya w Davenchy”?
I’m excited about my character in “Heya w Davenchy.” I play the role of a lawyer, and I am enjoying working with the cast very much. You will find that this Ramadan TV series is quite different from what we usually see. It required a lot of effort. I’m looking forward for the series to air.
You worked with Khaled El Sawy a long time ago; are you excited to work with him again?
Khaled is a great actor with a great talent that keeps growing and developing all the time. He is a very lovable person and working with him is a pleasure. I admire Khaled as a professional and on a personal level as well.
What are your expectations with regards to this series? Do you think your fans will like it?
I hope fans will like it, it is different and entertaining. I think it has it all. I hope they will enjoy it as much as I do.
What five words describe you best?
Committed and dedicated. I have no gray areas. Noble. Artist.
Who’s your favorite character in Egyptian cinema?
I admire Soad Hosny and her work. She made a huge contribution to Egyptian cinema. Ahmed Zaki was also very talented. I also admire Saeed Marzouk, Mahmoud El Meligy, Zaki Rostom, Youssef Shahin, Yosri Nasr Allah, and Atef Al Tayeb. We have legends in the Egyptian cinema.
What’s your biggest regret?
Thank God, I do not have any.
What makes you laugh?
I love to laugh. My friend Hussein Nouh has a great sense of humour. Almost anything makes me laugh; a funny situation, a joke, or a child smiling.
ART DIRECTION & STYLING: Maissa Azab
PHOTOGRAPHY: Khaled Fadda