Anyone who knows Tara Emad, the model turned actress, up close, would be surprised at how she appears on screen as a fierce diva. In reality Tara is a very down to earth human being who inspires people every day through her passion for what she does. eniGma’s Yosra Shohayeb spoke with Egypt’s new sweetheart about her modeling and acting career, and her plans for the future.
It has only been three years since the Egyptian/Montenegrin model and actress got her first acting break, and she’s already the talk of the town. Tara started modeling when she was 11 years-old when she joined Shirley Shalaby’s school for modeling, etiquette, and dancing. She was 14 years-old when she appeared on her first cover of Layalina Magazine in collaboration with stylist Maissa Azab and photographer Khaled Faddah, and her career took off since then. In 2010 at the age of 17, Tara participated in the Miss World beauty pageant for teenagers that was held that year in Brazil. After learning a lot about herself and making friends with people from around the world, she proudly returned back to Egypt with the title 1st runner-up for Miss Global Teen.
What do you think really boosted your modeling career?
I did a lot of fashion shows and campaigns that definitely contributed to having my image known more in the industry. However, what really upgraded my modeling portfolio was my photo shoot for Elle Magazine in Dubai with Billy Mobayed. I have done four different covers for them, while I was there. Also, my OR campaign made many people know me more. In the end, everything adds up to your career portfolio and how people view you.
Given your young age what’s it like to work on TV next to major stars like Adel Emam in Saheb Al Saada series and Khaled El Sawy in Al Saalouk series?
It’s a huge privilege. I’m very thankful and blessed that I got this opportunity to stand in front of such amazing actors, as well as many other stars. When I acted with Adel Emam, he always encouraged me and boosted my confidence by telling me to be myself and to let it come out naturally. Every scene I learn something new from Adel Emam; just standing in front of him is a school itself. As for Khaled El Sawy, he is such a sweet guy. I love to watch how he prepares for a scene and how he gets into a character. For me, it was a whole different world.
Was it difficult working in three different series (Been Al Sarayat, Al Saalouk, and Haret Al Yahoud) last Ramadan?
It wasn’t anywhere near easy, especially that, on top of all that, I also had my university studies to take care of. However, it was definitely worth it. I’m doing what I love, and I’m not being pushed to do it. Even though it’s extremely tiring, it doesn’t matter, because I’m really passionate about it.
Since your first appearance in Al Gamaa series you developed a huge fan base; does that exert pressure on you?
Honestly it does. After I participated in the Ramadan’s 2014 series Saheb Al Saada, my fan base doubled and it was insane. It wasn’t something I expected or counted on. People believed me so much in the character. It was a lot for me to take in and I could hardly believe it myself, but then it made me want to be even better. I believe if you want to do something, do it for yourself first, not because you want to impress someone. Some people tell me, you inspired us to be ourselves.
How do you balance being a model, actress, and a student?
I seriously don’t know how I manage to make this balance. I guess I’ve always lived on timetables every since I was 14 years-old. So that’s how I do it. I stick to timetables; they make me know what I’m supposed to do every day.
Which do you prefer more, modeling or acting?
When I started modeling, I never took it as a gateway to acting. Modeling is more broad and diverse and you can do more with it. I met a woman in Berlin that was 65 years-old and still modeling. I would also like to expand more in acting because it has a longer life span. But I love to do both.
How did you know you wanted to get into acting?
Ever since I was a child I loved acting. I love watching movies. I always used to act in front of my mom and the mirror, and imagine myself in certain roles.
How would you evaluate your career so far?
So far I’d say it’s been an exciting road, because I started literally from a TV ad where my foot only appeared! I like the fact that I started with mini steps. When I climb the ladder and grow further in my career I’ll appreciate it more because I worked so hard to get there.
What’s the most challenging part about your career?
The most challenging part is to stay grounded. It’s very challenging at my age and in this world. So many things are happening around me and I want to focus on my career and university. I have to be very smart. I want to do everything as I want to evolve and grow in my career.
Tell us more about your charity foundation “Help From Your Heart”.
My mother and I always loved to give out clothes to underprivileged people. When my modeling career started to grow and I began to be acknowledged as an actress, I decided to take this a step further. So I started the foundation “Help From Your Heart” in 2012. We’re working on getting the foundation registered. However, we are currently helping 12 families on a regular basis from the donations we receive through friends, families, and social media. We don’t give unfortunate people money, but rather help fulfill certain needs such as school fees, a sewing machine, etc.
What do you have in store for us in the coming period?
I’m working now on my first movie, Bara2et Raya w Sekina, where I’m a reporter in the movie.
ART DIRECTION & STYLING: Maissa Azab
PHOTOGRAPHY: Sherif Mokhtar