by Sherif Awad
-For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved storytelling in any form. As young girls, my sister and I used to have these complicated and elaborate story lines for our dolls to act out, so much so that it was difficult to include anyone else because there was too much back story to explain. Acting out stories, as well as books, films and music were a way to escape, and I relished in them.
-I was a shy introvert with a huge imagination, so I focused more on visual art in high school. I think that I always secretly wanted to perform, but didn’t seem to fit in with the extroverted musical theater kids. I ended up majoring in visual arts in college, and it wasn’t until after I graduated I started acting.
-After graduation, I began working as an assistant photographer and was finding the job less inspiring than I had hoped. I was approached by an agent who liked my look and I agreed to go on some auditions to make some extra money, or at least that was the reason that I told myself why I was doing it. Secretly, I was thrilled. I became more interested in acting than pursuing a career in photography, but was scared to admit that to myself. I had beginner’s luck and booked some of the first roles that I auditioned for which allowed me to gain the confidence to actively pursue a career in the entertainment industry.
-There are too many role models to mention, but I’ll list a few. The first movie that I remember seeing is THE WIZARD OF OZ, which to this day, I can watch over and over again. Nicole Kidman’s performance in TO DIE FOR was fearless in her ruthlessness and was the first time I had ever seen a leading lady take on a flawed character so completely without trying to make her at least a little likable. Currently, I’m inspired by actors Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Frankie Shaw who have written, starred and produced their own projects.
-One of the wonderful things about acting, is that I never feel like I’ve completely mastered it. There is an elusive quality to it, and as soon as I think that I finally understand how to do it, then it slips away and I realize there is so much more to learn and discover. It’s important to study and develop your craft, but also be able to let go and allow for surprises. It’s those moments that are truly magical for me, and riveting to watch in other actor’s performances.
-I’m happy as long as I’m in the process of creating something. I’ve been working consistently lately, so I’m satisfied. I would rather be known for my work then achieve the level of fame where you lose the freedom to make mistakes without being scrutinized. That being said, it would be nice to reach a point in my career where I was more certain about when my next paycheck will arrive, but I think I chose the wrong career for that!
-The challenges are still there. The entertainment industry is mostly run by men and the wage inequality between men and women in the industry is something that’s not going to go away without a fight. But I feel like things are changing for the better. With more streaming platforms available that need scripted material, there has been room for new voices that haven’t been heard before.
-I think it’s an exciting time for entertainment. Television has risen over film as the place to see edgy, interesting stories. There have been so many groundbreaking series that took chances with casting and writing such as ‘The Sopranos’, ‘Breaking Bad’, “Game of Thrones’, and ‘Black Mirror’ to name a few.
-I try to find something about the offered characters that intrigues me enough to want to be in their shoes and fight for them in the story, even when they are the antagonist. Especially when they are the antagonist, actually.
-I’m a private person and I treasure my friendships and relationships. I’m not even on most social media platforms, like Facebook or Instagram, which definitely has hurt my career in ways. But I feel like I can be more creative and give more as an actor if I keep my parts of my private life for myself, so keeping that balance is necessary for me.
-I recently starred in the feature film UP THE FIVE which will opened in LA on November 2019 at the South Park Theater in downtown Los Angeles. I have a strong supporting role in the feature thriller THE BLOOD THINS. I’ll also be starring in the horror trilogy Hi-Fear which shoot at the end of 2019. I’m also currently writing a dark comedy pilot with my writing partner, Cela Scott, which we hope to shoot in the coming year. I’m really enjoying it, and hope to do more writing and comedy in 2020.