The Magic of Grand Hotel
Dina El Sherbini on her Role, Life and Reaching Goals
By Hilary Diack
Drawing viewers to their screens each Ramadan evening, Dina El Sherbini won kudos for her riveting performance of Ward in Grand Hotel, the cunning, ambitious and ruthless young woman viewers loved to hate. Adding to her already diverse and impressive repertoire, this part showcased her ability to bring out the best in even a difficult character. Cairo West Magazine took the opportunity to catch up with her after a hectic summer.
CWM: Dina, your portrayal of Ward in Grand Hotel has received a lot of acclaim, were you expecting such a reaction?
DS: Not at all, as Ward was rather evil. I was honestly afraid that people would not like her or be able to warm to her. It was important for me to inject some emotion into the role, especially with her children, so our viewers would be able to empathize with her to some extent. After all, even the most dysfunctional character must have some saving graces.
How did you prepare yourself for the role?
Honestly, we had an amazing director and scriptwriter, so we developed the character together. I searched for ways to make her more appealing, to let people find a little love for her. First, I had to immerse myself into her character, to sincerely be able to love her myself. Without that, the portrayal would not have been convincing.
The series itself was massively popular. What do you think appealed so much to viewers?
Our viewers loved the series. They saw Egypt the way they wanted to see her: the setting of such an iconic hotel, the amazing scenery, and the glamour and romance of that era. All of these things bring incredible nostalgia, and a craving for the beauty that Egypt has.
Audiences are tired of the constant barrage of films and series with drugs and overdone gratuitous violence; they want a return to something more intriguing.
Were there any standout moments during filming that will stay with you?
There were so many. I am sure I will never forget the scene when Ward was giving birth, and also when she died. We filmed this part in Lebanon, and the scene needed me to sit in cold water for around 15 hours. That was the last day of shooting and will remain etched in my memory for a long time to come!
In what way have your personal life experiences helped you in developing the characters you play?
Life inevitably makes you stronger as it presents you with different situations. We keep learning every day, and of course I draw on these insights when preparing for my roles. The experiences of people close to me also have important emotional impact; I find these inspiring and helpful when interpreting a character.
In the world of film, as many other fields, careers always seem to have their ups and downs, what is your advice for keeping on track?
Work hard, do your best, read a lot, study, and have faith. It is important to keep your goals in sight.
Looking forward, what type of roles do you see coming up that would interest you?
I would love to play the part of a deaf and dumb woman. It would stretch my abilities so much, to be able to emote and express using only body language, emotions, facial expressions and my eyes. Now, that is acting…
What are you working on at present?
A high-powered action drama called Gawab Ieteqal ( or Gawab a3te’al )with the wonderful Mohamed Ramadan. It is a joy to be able to work with director Mohamed Samy as well. All round, we have great chemistry. Mohamed Ramadan is an amazing actor, and an amazing person.
What about hobbies, pets and time to relax?
My work is so demanding I really can’t find time for hobbies. However, I always manage time for my darling Golden Retriever, Latchi.
How do you stay in shape?
I adore food and eat a lot. That means I need to burn up the calories by working out regularly, every day if my schedule allows. I use an exercise bike and enjoy Pilates and cross-fit too.
Your favorite way to relax?
Go to the sea
(Pause)… Fast Food
Most treasured item of clothing?
My shoes. All of them. Apart from that I dress according to my mood.
Last book read?
Hepta by Mohamed Sadek, and Afrah El Kobba by Naguib Mahfouz.
Getaway holiday location?
Person who makes you laugh the most?
All of my family, they have great humor
Morning or night person?
Mornings for me.
What is your favorite app?
I must admit that I am not into tech at all. Forget about apps, I use my phone as a phone. Bas.