When Suits the Egyptian series came out we were super excited to see the original series portrayed in an Egyptian way with Egyptian laws and actors. That’s why we sat with Tara Emad to get to know her and how she played Laila (Rachel) in Suits.
By Mariam Elhamy
How did you prepare for this role? And how did you study the original character, Rachel?
I’m a huge fan of the original Suits and I’ve always wished to play a role in it, specifically Rachel Zane. 3 to 4 years ago I heard that Suits was being turned into an Egyptian version and I was hoping that they would pick me to play Rachel so when producer Tarek El Ganainy asked me to play Laila in the Egyptian Suits I was so excited!
I already know the original series by heart so I didn’t need so see it again. There were some aspects of Rachel’s personality that I wanted to portray in Laila, like how she doesn’t let anyone cross any lines with her and how she loved food, small details that only true Suits fans would notice. But I also wanted to make Laila a bit more fun and lively.
Did you have to study a lot and get into the world of law?
Since Laila is still a paralegal and not a lawyer yet I didn’t really need to study law as much as the other roles. There were not any scenes where I had to speak in front of a judge. Tara Emad
What other international series would you want to play a role in?
I really love Jane The Virgin and when it was finally made Egyptian I loved it even more.
What was the most challenging part of turning Rachel into Laila?
The challenge for me was to make people who have seen the original Suits see the exact spirit of Rachel in Laila. Laila also had to be closer to the Egyptian audience so that they would relate and understand her.
Do you see any differences between the original Suits and the Egyptian Suits?
There are differences for sure, for example the setting, the rules of the law and the lawsuits themselves because they had to be suitable to our culture and norms.
How do you deal with negative comments?
I don’t to be honest. When social media started to become the means through which people learn more about actors and celebrities who they love, and for celebrities to advertise and show their brand or their identity; it also became a place where anyone can write their opinion about anything.
When I read negative comments I try to be as indifferent as I can so it doesn’t affect me as much as it used to. Tara Emad
Do you have any idea if there is going to be a part 2?
To be honest I don’t know but I hope so.
Tell us about your role in Tah2ee2.
Gameela is a very complex character and playing her in Tah2ee2 was a very new experience for me. She is not an outspoken person and when she speaks it’s usually based on a lot of thinking and evaluation that goes on in her head. This is something I really liked about her because I’ve always wanted to be a person who thinks more before they speak.
Director Mohamed Fathy “Shank” and I prepared for the role; we came up with a lot of references in order for me to get to know the character’s mood and ways.
What do you enjoy doing other than acting?
I love playing sports, doing yoga, reading, and cooking, so if I’m not on set I would be doing these things.
If you weren’t in acting what would you be doing?
I would have liked to be a ballerina, a cook, a surgeon or an ambassador. There are many things I’d like to be and that’s why I always say that acting is the best thing for me to do so I can be multiple people and live all these different experiences.
On a more personal note, what do you look for in a partner?
If I would pick someone to be my life partner I would pick someone who would be happy to see me succeed and would be proud of me and of the steps that I take.
It has to be someone with who I can talk and share my ideas, projects, thoughts and my life. I believe that being able to openly communicate is very important.
Would you say that you are a trustworthy person?
Yes, people can talk to me openly and trust me with their secrets.
Do you fall for people quickly or do you take a lot of time to trust someone?
It depends, sometimes you meet people and your heart just opens up to them and you’re able to talk to them about things that you can’t even tell people who are close to you. At other times I find myself very quiet and rarely opening up or talking so it depends on my mood or how my day is going. Tara Emad
On a scale from 1 to 10, how good of a driver are you?
I’d like to say that I’m a great driver so I’ll give myself an 8
A day at the beach or hiking in a forest?
Forest, I like the woods
Macarona béchamel, always
Favorite time of the day?
Favorite childhood cartoon?
I really love Popeye
Would you say that you’re more spontaneous or more organized?
A bit of both, I like to be an organized person but everyone around me is spontaneous so there’s a nice balance
Would you rather always be late or always be early?
Early, I like to arrive early
Do you have any secret talents?
I can cook. My favorite dish to make is a meat tagine with vegetables and prunes, which I’ve tried in Siwa and it’s the best dish I’ve ever had
What’s your favorite thing to eat at a restaurant?
Pizza Tara Emad