The award winning remarkable actress, Yasmin Raeis took her first step into the acting world through television where she played the role of one of the leading five characters in A’ard Khas, laying the foundation for a successful and exceptional career. She participated in several films including; Ahmed Helmy’s X-Large, Wahed Saheh, Al Maslaha and the blockbuster TV Series Taraf Talet, which won Raeis her role in Mohamed Khan’s Fatat El Masna’a, marking her breakthrough in cinema. Subsequently, Raeis got the leading role in a string of successful films such as Made in Egypt alongside Ahmed Helmy and Mn Dahr Ragel alongside Asser Yassin. Yasmin Raeis has stolen the hearts of the Egyptian audience in just a few years, so we had to speak to her and try to figure out the secrets behind her incredible talent.
What inspired your creative passion toward acting? What do you look for while choosing your roles?
I’ve always loved to perform. I can’t remember the first time I have noticed that about me; it’s like it is in my nature. Acting is not a hobby for me; my passion for it extends way beyond that. And when passion is applied to purpose, it is a powerful driver.
When I’m considering a role, I have this golden rule that I never break. I would never pick a character at random; I have to fall in love with it in order to play it. The role has to attract me, to tease me and to challenge me.
“Fatat El Masna’a” was a turning point in your career. Tell us more about this outstanding experience, and working with the one and only Mohamed Khan.
Working with the astounding Khan was such a phenomenal experience; full of lessons, full of growth, and also full of self discovery. While directing this movie, Khan guided me to dig deeper into myself, and while doing so I uncovered things I didn’t even know about myself. He is a brilliant director who would literally show you the way to bring out the best in you. When I asked why he picked me for the role, he answered that he saw through me. He said he knew I was the one for the role, and that I had so much potential. It was a very big challenge for me; I had to work so hard to prove that I was up to his expectation. I gave the role my all. In addition, some scenes were so dramatic and packed with emotions, so I had to lay bare all my feelings in order to truly reflect those scenes. It was an astonishing adventure.
For decades, readers repeated the same affirmation when the cinema production adapted a popular novel for the screen: “The book is better than the movie”. That’s not the case anymore, and Hepta was the proof. Why did the movie become a major success in your opinion?
The credit behind this success must go first to the book; it was an extraordinary page-turner that captivated the readers. Mohamed Saddek’s writing would make you view relationships from a whole different perspective. The director of the movie, my husband, Hady El Bagoury fell in love with this tale, and had his mind set on turning it into a movie. He put together an exceptional ensemble cast, and worked hard with each and every one of us to bring the story to life on the big screen. We all worked so hard to deliver the meanings that the story carried, and to translate the feelings of the writer into acting. The cooperation between everyone in the cast, and our eagerness to make an amazing movie was the key behind this movie’s success.
You were a guest of honour in “El Sheikh Jackson”; it was a surprise to see you singing ‘Helmy El Mohal’ and playing the guitar. That must have been a big challenge, how did you do it?
Yes, it was a challenging experience, but I love challenges. When Amr Salama, the director of the movie offered me this role, he suggested that we do montage on my voice, but I insisted on having vocal trainings and piano lessons. I didn’t know if my voice would sound good or not, but I trained so much nevertheless. Even though the scene wasn’t a master scene, even though it was for just a few seconds, I had to put my all into it. I can’t speak for the audience so I don’t know if they liked it or not, but I believe that singing is about more than just a good voice. It is a projection of feelings. That was what I was trying to do in that scene; I hope these emotions reached them.
“Looking for Om Kulthum” is your newest movie; it premiered at Venice Film Festival. Tell us more about the movie and how you got the role.
The Iranian filmmaker and artist Shirin Neshat is the director and screen writer of “Looking for Om Kulthum”. She was on the lookout for an Arab face to play the role, and she specifically wanted the actress to be Egyptian, because after all the film portrayed the life and legacy of this legendary Egyptian singer, Om Kulthum. When they offered me the role, I was shocked at first because I am well aware that there is no resemblance between me and this phenomenal singer. I wondered what Neshat saw in me that made her pick me for this role. But when I discussed it with her, she told me that the movie is not an attempt to do a linear biopic but instead it was about confronting Kulthum’s meaning and magnitude through the lens of another artist (the protagonist), who was trying to tell her story, and the battle against the constraints imposed on female artists.
What is your next project?
I am done shooting my newest TV series “Ana Shahira w Ana El Kha’en” based on a novel written by Nour Abd El Meguid. Starring Ahmed Fahmy in the leading role with me, and directed by Ahmed Medhat. It will air this month. There is also an international movie, but I am still in the reading process, so let’s hope for the best.
Our issue this month revolves around how to have a happy and healthy relationship with your significant other; in your opinion what are the keys for a happy relationship?
Simply the keys are communication, trust, mutual giving and taking, and to always listen to your partner.