Yousra: Embracing artistic risks, comedy for joyful return

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Yousra, an ardent art enthusiast, views life through a creative prism. She is a firm advocate for the power of creativity, infusing it into every aspect of her work. To her, the artistic voyage has been a swift and exhilarating experience. Yousra upholds the conviction that artists must play a significant role in society and live with purpose. In line with this belief, she has been engaging in live performances designed to leave a lasting impact on the community. Presently, she is basking in the acclaim of her most recent film, “Shekko,” which has topped revenue charts. Moreover, she is gearing up for a much-anticipated return to the stage with a new play, marking the end of a significant break. We had the honour of conversing with Yousra, a truly gifted artist.

You returned to the cinema with “Shekko” after an absence. Why were you away for so long?

Although I am never far from the cinema, I take great care in my choices to achieve my desired success. However, I can never stay away from the world of cinema.

How do you view the success of your latest film, “Shekko,” both in Egypt and Saudi Arabia?

I am thrilled with the film’s success and the positive reactions it has received from the audience and on social media. Additionally, I’m delighted that “Shekko” has generated the highest revenues in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Emirates.

Some people believe your role in the film is quite small or merely that of a guest of honour. How do you respond to that?

In the film, I portray the character of Doria Al-Sayed Ahmed, who plays a pivotal role in driving the events. As a criminology doctor and mafia leader, my character’s influence extends beyond mere screen time. I firmly believe that quality matters more than quantity. A true artist remains humble and doesn’t measure their impact solely by the number of scenes. My advice to fellow artists: “Beware of vanity; it’s the beginning of failure.” I know my worth, but I approach my work with confidence, respect for the audience, and pride in contributing to a project that presents me in a fresh and unique light.

Yousra: Embracing artistic risks, comedy for joyful return

Was taking on this role a risk for you?

The beauty of art lies in taking risks. While I always venture into new territories, my risks are calculated. I cannot offer anything I’m not wholeheartedly convinced of. My hesitation often arises from thorough study, and when I decide to take on a role, I do so with complete conviction.

You previously portrayed an evil character in the series “Foq Mostawa El Shobohat.” How does this new role differ?

Throughout my long career, I continually seek distinctive roles, yet artistic satisfaction eludes me. I remain dedicated to my artistic passion, challenging myself to perform across a spectrum of characters—even those that don’t necessarily align with my personal qualities. While I played an evil role in “Foq Mostawa El Shobohat” about 7 years ago, you’ll find significant differences between the two characters.

What was the behind-the-scenes environment like, especially working with young artists? The atmosphere was joyful and vibrant. The filmmakers were at their creative best. Amina Khalil’s unexpected brilliance stood out, as did Dina El-Sherbiny’s role—deceptively easy but demanding precise execution. The chemistry between Amr Youssef and Mohamed Mamdouh impressed me. Lastly, I extend my gratitude to the Nabulsi music arranger, who presented wonderful music. Interestingly, he happens to be the grandson of the late artist Abdel Salam Al-Nabulsi.

The audience missed you last Ramadan. Why didn’t you present a new series during Ramadan?

I believe the audience needed a break from me and longed for my return. Rest assured, I will come back, but when I do, it must be with a strong and fresh project.

Your television works have often delved into social issues, but recently you’ve been focusing on comedy. Why the shift?

Audiences crave laughter and relaxation, especially during challenging times. While my previous television work centred on social themes, I decided to venture into comedy because humorous content was scarce. Egyptians are renowned for their wit, and laughter runs in our veins. I grew weary of serious subjects and sought a change. I don’t like staying in one lane; hence, I returned with something different. Observing the world around me, I realized the need to shed my old skin and embrace a state of joy and mirth. Ultimately, success remains my goal, and I continually reinvent myself.

What type of comedy do you prefer?

I gravitate toward situational comedy, whether through my acting or the performances of fellow actors in a scene. After filming, I’d observe the crew’s reactions—often laughter—and that brought me immense joy. I appreciate the accuracy and efficiency of the crew, especially those working behind the camera.

How do you view the honour bestowed upon you by the Beirut International Women’s Film Festival?

This award holds great significance for me, and I felt genuinely happy about the recognition. It’s particularly meaningful coming from a Lebanese festival, given the Lebanese public’s deep appreciation for Egyptian art and artists. After being away from Beirut for approximately two years, I longed to return. Despite the region’s turbulent events, when I looked into the eyes of the Lebanese people, I witnessed their resilience, greatness, and unwavering love for life.

Yousra: Embracing artistic risks, comedy for joyful return

You’re making a comeback to the theatre after a lengthy absence. What motivated you to accept this experience?

We’re currently in the midst of preparations for a major theatrical production, and with God’s grace, it will resonate with everyone who experiences it.

Do you believe the involvement of young stars in cinema has a positive impact?

Absolutely. Bringing together different generations allows mutual learning and growth.

Who do you see as your competition?

I don’t thrive on competition. Instead, I compete with myself. Each project I undertake aims to surpass the previous one. Rankings—whether first or second—are determined solely by the audience, not by me. Their reception ultimately defines the order of success between works.

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