We’ve all seen her on the small screen and we loved her latest role in Segn El Nessa. Soon we’ll be seeing her talents displayed on the big screen as well. Riham Haggag tells eniGma’s Salma Hussein all about her experiences and how she plans to continue her acting journey.
When did you realize that you wanted to become an actress?
I never thought of becoming an actress, it was never what I wanted to get into. I was more interested in the business and marketing fields but people around me always told me that acting would suit me and that it’s what I should be doing. It wasn’t until I was cast in the series Sharbat Loz and Rakam Maghool (Unknown Number) that I realized that I loved it, and loved the environment.
What is your take on Egyptian cinema?
I love Egyptian cinema. It has a rich history and it’s an art that is very much appreciated by everyone around the world. Egypt is the Hollywood of the Middle East; it has been down for the past two years due to the political situation in our country, but this does not mean that it won’t recover and be stronger than before. I believe that we have the capabilities to become better and I am very optimistic about it. At the end of the day cinema is an art, and Egyptian cinema is favoured by everyone in the region.
Who inspires you or who do you look up to?
Everyone inspires me; I am not influenced by someone in particular because that would be taking from someone’s spirit. Everyone should be unique with their work, and individuality is very important. Every actor or actress has a different energy and they portray it through their work. The best way to learn is through workshops, acting classes, and reading. That is what I do. I like to read a story and relate to one of the characters. It has happened a lot where reading about a certain role has helped me in my work.
What was the hardest thing you faced while shooting the series Segn El Nessa (Women’s Prison)?
The master scenes were very intense. The final scene and the investigation scenes needed a lot of work but the entire team made it happen. I loved working with the cast and crew, everyone was great and very helpful. It wasn’t hard as much as it was different because shooting was at a farm and not in a studio. We got to live with people living on the farm and that was very new to me and it was definitely a great experience. It was my first time working with El Adl production group and they were extremely decent and professional. The story was written by Mariam Naoom and she is a brilliant author. It’s always been one of my dreams to play a role written by her. The cast was very helpful; Nelly Karim, Dorra, Ruby, and Ahmed Dawood. Ahmed Dawood was my partner in the show and he was extremely supportive, I’m lucky to have worked with him and I’m very lucky that every time I work on a series I have a great partner to work with.
How did you feel about Segn El Nessa’s (Women’s Prison) success?
I expected it from day one. I knew from the moment I started working that it would create a buzz because of the great crew and cast. I had no doubts about it at all. The story is very strong and is a stroke of genius. The entire team worked hard and put a great deal of time and effort into it, there was no way it wouldn’t have created some hype.
Where do you see yourself in a year?
I can’t picture myself in the future, I’m not very good at imagining things. I don’t usually plan ahead and I leave it up to God that whatever is meant to be will take place. Of course I see myself gaining more experience and learning more. I know that making important and life changing decisions will be much easier than it is at the moment. It is very important for an actor or actress not to be indecisive, and I am planning to learn a lot more by working on new things and with different people.
Will you be on television this Ramadan?
Hopefully yes. I still haven’t decided because I am still reading scripts. It depends on what I like more and what I think will be more successful.
When can we expect to see you on the big screen?
A new movie will be out this month starring Mohamed Henedy and me. The movie is called Yom Maloosh Lazma (Pointless Day) and it revolves around a married couple who face comic situations. It is mainly a comedy, and it is also very family friendly. The cast also includes the very talented Hala Fakher and Ruby. I expect the movie to be a success because of all of the effort and hard work we’ve put in, and the director Ahmed Gendy did an amazing job as always.
What are your future plans?
I’ve only been in this career for two years and I am extremely thankful for where I am at the moment. In such a short period of time I’ve learned things I never thought I could learn so quickly. I’ve gained a new experience every time I worked on something. I am completely satisfied with who I’ve become as a person and as an actress. I am proud that I managed to reach this point on my own, it was not something passed down to me from my parents and I do not depend on connections; I completely depend on myself. Being independent is important, it helps you make better decisions.
ART DIRECTION & STYLING: Maissa Azab
PHOTOGRAPHY: Khaled Fadda