Capturing the Magic of Shereen Reda

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By Francesca Sullivan

Shereen RedaDaughter of a dance legend, once wife of the country’s leading pop star, and a famous beauty. Over the course of her eventful life, Shereen Reda has perhaps been known chiefly as a major league celebrity and something of a wild-child. Despite her being, by her own account, a very private person, she is no stranger to the gossip columns. But all that is about to change as she re-emerges from a ten-year hiatus into the serious acting world with a resounding splash.

Her father, Mahmoud Reda, taught her to make her own decisions and know her own mind, and his daughter comes across as someone who does just that. Up front and with an attitude that mixes charm with strength, whatever she has experienced in her life, you get the feeling she owns it.

shereen reda and mahmoud reda Recently, Reda has shared the big screen with Ahmed El Fishawy in the hard-hitting drama Khareg El Khidma (Out of Order), that tells the story of a dysfunctional relationship. Reda will also star in the upcoming and much anticipated Ramadan series El Ahd (The Promise). Additionally, she will feature in a second Ramadan series, Estiffa, an ongoing crime drama presented by a “detective” in the form of Abbas Abbas, in which an invited celebrity tries to solve a different case each time. Both Khareg El Khidma and Estiffa have involved a dramatic change of image for the actress; a move that is well-known in Hollywood when a decorative star wants to be taken more seriously. For her part in Khareg El Khedma, she was systematically de-glamorized by the make-up department, and in Estiffa, she had to be aged by several decades.

Cairo West Magazine caught up with Reda on the set of El Ahd to talk to her about this exciting new phase in her life, and what it feels like to come back into the public eye after so many years.

CWM: Looking back on your childhood, what was it like being the daughter of Mahmoud Reda?

Fun! He was a lovely father. He believed in giving me responsibilities and choices in life, and was always totally encouraging. As a child, I traveled all over with him and the Reda Troupe.shereen reda and mahmoud reda

I remember we celebrated my sixth birthday on a plane, and they wheeled me out on a trolley with an enormous cake down the aisle. The best advice he ever gave me was to make my own decisions. We are all taught by our parents, he would say, but you must later decide what is right for you personally. Both my parents taught me never to lie. Being the daughter of a Serbian mother also meant having a more liberal, open-minded upbringing than most Egyptian kids around me.

What has kept you away from acting for so long?

Being a mother – mostly a single mother. I got married young and had my daughter Nour when I was only 21. I divorced ten years ago, and I couldn’t conceive of the idea of leaving my child with carers while I went out to work, so I stayed home. Now Nour is college age (she is doing international business studies in London) so I am free to resume my career.

What has been the emotional impact of coming back into the business after so many years?

It was like coming home! When I was young, I spent so much time in front of the camera, starting with commercials from the age of 12 – I actually wanted to be a model more than an actress – and then acting parts in movies came during the mid-90s. So it felt totally right and comfortable to come back.

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