Back in 2009, with her debut role in Dokan Shehata (Shehata’s Market), Reham Ayman made her mark as an actress. In Ramadan of 2012, she further solidified her place in the industry with her role in the successful series, Hekayat Banat (Girl Stories). Her success in that role also led to Ayman’s debut, together with Dina El Sherbiny and Amina Khalil, on the cover of eniGma. Fast-forward to 2015, Ayman ties the knot with her Al Rayyan co-star Sherif Ramzy and becomes a mother soon thereafter. eniGma’s Ezz Al-Turkey caught up with Ayman to discuss life in quarantine, her family and the reinvention of her brand from actress to social media influencer of sorts.
As lovely as it would have been to have an actual in-person sit down with Reham Ayman, we opted for a phone call in order to avoid any unnecessary risk during this pandemic. The conversation came natural and we immediately got to chatting about the state of the world right now and how she and her family were holding up in quarantine. “I don’t feel like there has been a big change in my life, because my family and I are almost always at home anyway. The only real change so far is that taking care of some necessities, like going to the doctor or running errands, have become kind of risky. Sherif feels the change more than I do. The children and I haven’t felt it as much, aside from the fact that they are not able to go to the nursery. They let out their energy here at the house, which can be quite hectic for all of us,” says Ayman, with a giggle.
With the current situation, Ayman is giving her undivided attention to her four-year-old son, Ramzy, and her three-year-old daughter, Lillia, especially as they all adjust to temporary home-schooling. Nonetheless, she says that she does have some time to self-reflect during the quarantine, and that she has actually come to an ironic realisation. “I realised that I don’t have enough time for myself. My days are so busy and full with the kids, that even when they go to bed at night, I’m already too tired to do anything. I feel that I need to have a day for myself. If I did, I would spend it with nature. I love greenery and the beach. Nature brings me a lot of peace,” she says.
With her absence from the screen reaching almost five years now, Ayman’s fans have been really missing her. Explaining her long absence, she recounts that after giving birth to her son, Ramzy, she sat down with herself to decide what would be best for her and her family, moving forward. Although she recognised that some actresses are able to juggle both work and family, she decided that in her case it would be best for her to become a stay-at-home mum and to dedicate all her time to her children. “I never thought that I would be able to stop acting, which is something I love doing. But when I had Ramzy, I couldn’t trust anyone with him; I wanted to raise him myself. I wanted to be there for my children, especially during the early years of their lives. I’m happy with my decision. I’ve had an exciting career and I feel like I fulfilled my dream,” she explains.
However, just because she’s not acting, doesn’t mean Ayman has stayed away from her fans. Being the creative person she is, Ayman took up social media as a way to maintain a bond with her two million followers on Instagram. “It first started when I noticed a fake account impersonating me on Instagram. So, I made my own account and it started to grow rapidly, and I fell in love with social media. I feel like it can be used to let out a lot of creative energy. And I think what people like about my page is that they see how natural it is. They feel like they’ve grown with me and my family. And that’s true. I never like to be inauthentic on social media, and that translates well. A lot of my followers tell me they feel like I’m their friend or their sister. Hearing that makes me really happy,” she says enthusiastically.
To direct her Instagram content to fellow mothers, Ayman introduced cooking videos and recipes in her posts. She even shared an exclusive recipe on eniGma’s Instagram account a few weeks ago! “It started with me just showing pictures of what I had cooked. Then people would ask me for the recipes, so I started sharing them. I get so many messages giving me feedback on the recipes and showing me their own final product. I actually thought about starting a YouTube channel with my home cooking, but I would never turn it into something professional or make a career out of it. At the end of the day, I’m an actress, not a chef!” she exclaims.
Our conversation eventually turned to how she and husband, Sherif Ramzy, became such a power couple, with everyone rooting for them and their family. Ayman recounts how they first met on the set of Ramzy’s film Hatoly Ragel (Bring Me a Man), where Ayman had a cameo role. Strangely, at that time they didn’t realise that their paths had actually crossed much earlier than that. “We had both completely forgotten that we had met back in 2007, when he was filming Agamista. My sister was working on the film and I visited her office. Apparently, he was there and we spoke briefly. To be honest, I don’t even remember what we talked about or how it went. And then years later we met again. And the rest is history,” she recounts.
Ayman insists that, like any couple, they need their quality time and date nights and that they have always made that a priority. They also keep their marriage fresh by always communicating their feelings to one another. With couples forced to be together all day during this quarantine, Ayman has some advice for couples to avoid unnecessary problems. “This quarantine has given us more time together, even with the kids, which is nice. Divorce rates have been up recently, which is really sad, but I think that it’s very important for couples to communicate and refresh their relationship. We like to put a spotlight on everything that upsets us and on what we think needs to change, so that we can avoid problems. We like to be in control and not let things get out of hand or deteriorate, especially for our children. A healthy home environment is very important,” she advises.
Although Ayman and Ramzy have become used to fame and life in the spotlight, they have kept all that away from their children. They maintain their children’s privacy on social media because they don’t want to force them into their lifestyle. “A lot of people don’t like to be famous, so we don’t want to force our children into that. They have to make that choice for themselves when they’re older. They don’t really understand what we do yet, even though they do see us, especially their father, on television sometimes. They understand what acting is, and they love it actually; but they haven’t completely grasped the idea of fame yet,” she explains.
While Ayman’s fans are anxiously waiting for her return to acting, she insists that she has no such plans right now. Nevertheless, she is adamant about, never saying never. “If the time is right, I’ll definitely act again. I don’t know what my future holds, and I don’t like thinking about it very much. Every thought I put into my future right now concerns my children. I think I’m too much of a mother sometimes, but that’s just what comes naturally to me,” she says.
Like everyone else, Ayman is emotionally impacted by what’s happening in the world right now with the coronavirus pandemic. However, she remains lighthearted and positive. At the conclusion of our conversation she offers a positive message to share with her fans and eniGma’s readers.
“Love each other. I feel like people forget to share their love, because we’re all distracted with our lives. Always have the best intentions at heart, and wish good things for others because when you do that, good things happen to you too. If you’re passionate and strong-willed, nothing is impossible.”
Can you describe your quarantine in three words?
Creativity, food and reminiscence.
What are three items you always keep in your bag?
Lipstick, perfume and chocolate, I love chocolate so much.
What’s on your quarantine watch-list?
I haven’t watched much in quarantine because I have no time, but I did watch Contagion because of what’s going on and it was quite scary. I also watched You on Netflix earlier this year and loved it.
Which social media platform do you prefer and why?
Instagram. I’ve always loved looking at pictures. I love reading too, but I prefer doing that with books not online.
Which person in your family is taking quarantine the hardest?
My sister. She owns a bookstore and trains yoga and she can’t do any of that right now, and that’s taking a toll on her.
Do you prefer the indoors or the outdoors?
Since I had children, I prefer being indoors. Before, I loved traveling a lot and seeing different cultures. It was my lifelong dream to travel the world like my father did; he took a trip around the globe on his own.
Where is the first place you will travel to when things go back to normal?
I would love to go to the United States again, but this time with my children. There are a lot of places I’ve been there that I think they will really love. I would also love to visit Paris again.
What film or series do you wish you had been a part of?
I don’t have a specific role that I’d like to do, but I loved Fayrouz, the child actress from the 50s. I really wanted a career like hers when I was a child, especially because a lot of my family kept telling me I looked like her. I also would have loved to be in any of Soad Hosny’s films.
Art Direction & Photography: Nader Abdo
Makeup: Nourhan Barbari
Hair: Mustafa Lotfy from Bliss Salon
Assistant Photographer: Sayed Mostafa
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