Uthhub: You’ve previously stated that your first audition was your mother’s graduation project. Can you tell us more about that project and how was it?
Jessica: It was a short movie about a 6/7-year-old girl whose mom passed away but she wasn’t well aware of that so she would occasionally imagine talking to her mom just as how any other kid would (school life e.g.). In the final scene, she begins crying about her mom as she began to acknowledge that her mom was actually deceased after seeing her picture.
UH: How was that considering you were 6 years old?
Jess: It wasn’t that difficult since I was surrounded by people who I felt comfortable with such as my mom’s crew! Although it seemed quite weird, it felt fun.
UH: How did you make your way into the theatre?
Jess: I auditioned normally with my brother and luckily I was the first to audition and the first to get accepted. I thought it would take much more time and I would be extremely nervous! However, I was extremely pleased and excited when I heard the news.
UH: How was your first theatrical experience like?
Jess: I was usually used to performing around people I knew but as it was my first time performing to an audience full of strangers, I was extremely nervous. I would overthink and panic a lot, but then when Mr Ahmed Amin would encourage me and cheer me on with commentaries about how good I am, I felt supported!
UH: So you’ve already answered the next question which is ‘Who was your favourite person on stage?’
Jess: Well, I loved and appreciated them all equally but Ahmed Amin was truly special.
UH: Your first play was at 9 years old or even younger, so how did you manage the concept of a great audience and all these reactions/opinions?
Jess: I believe the roots of my confidence stemmed from the positive encouragement that I occasionally received. Plus, I had previously practiced a lot (e.g. in Alexandria) so every time I would get more accustomed to the atmosphere while also learning from my prior experience.
UH: How did you view the beginning of your career: a fun or serious experience?
Jess: The concept, in itself, of me doing anything I love such as acting is fun. However, the idea of being on set or on stage had to be taken extremely seriously. I mean, yes, acting is fun and I get to joke with my peers and all, but I had to understand that work is serious. Internally, it was all about fun though.
UH: Your twin brother was also in that play, so how was it like seeing someone at work and at home every day?
Jess: It was cool, but I really didn’t have time to spend with him at home because we were at work all day from morning to night! It was even more cool working together and I felt really comfortable.
UH: How was it like working with the icon Sawsan Badr?
Jess: I truly adored working with her and I was proud of myself too. She was absolutely sweet and I was happy to be a part of this. All in all, it was perfect, considering how sweet and nice she was!
UH: Who was your favorite person on set?
Jess: I love them all but perhaps that would be Eman El-Asy!
UH: Who was the most supportive and helpful person to you on set?
Jess: Not only was my mother helpful in Bekhat El Eid but since the very beginning of my journey.
UH: You worked with the stars who rock every Ramadan (Karim Abdel Aziz, Eyad Nassar, Boshra etc.) and most of the industry would wish to work with them, so how did you feel accomplishing that?
Jess: I felt extremely excited, and as though I am actually beginning to accomplish something. I felt happy being able to hit one of my personal targets. The vibes and everything were immaculate and I actually felt like I was learning and gaining something out of this – no matter how trivial it was.
UH: What made you the happiest working on that project?
Jess: Mariam Abou Ouf, the director, gave us the space to be as free with our lines as ever! We had so many choices, which gave me incredible confidence to be able to improvise and synthesise Jess and whatever character I am playing together.
UH: So you would say that was the best part of the entire project?
Jess: Pretty much!
UH: And who was your favourite person on set?
Jess: Everyone but my top 3 would be Adel (who was my brother), Omar and Nardine!
ورا كل باب
UH: Your accomplishment here was greater than the ones before. How did you feel about that?
Jess: I felt grateful and I was able to express my art even better. The cast made me feel like I was in my comfort zone!
UH: There were some scenes showcasing the sibling love between you and Islam Gamal. Did you feel like that was similar to the bond between you and your brother?
Jess: It really was similar but Islam Gamal was something else! He was fun and sweet; we were doing TikToks all the time! He would introduce me to all of his friends and would annoy me like a sibling. So I would occasionally feel like we were actual siblings!
UH: Who was the most supportive and helpful person to you from the cast?
Jess: Perhaps Mrs Manal!
UH: As for that movie, you were really excited and even replied to one of Amr Salama’s posts! Which part of that project was most exciting?
Jess: Okay, so, in the very beginning after I received my script and completed the audition, I was interviewed by Amr Salama. Three days later, on set, I realised that he added many scenes with different characters so I felt that he truly discovered me. It felt like I was playing multiple characters in one character, which was truly diverse. One-in-a-lifetime experience!
UH: Did you feel like that was a huge jump since that was a completely different role from what we were used to taking into consideration the mini-romance which was going on too? How was that experience overall?
Jess: It was brilliant since Omar (who was playing the guy’s role) was helping me out a lot! We filmed the scenes in various parts, where would stop to take breaks and return to filming. During these gaps, we did our best to connect and form a stronger bond so that when we would film again, we would both feel the chemistry flowing between us!
UH: How did it feel working again with Ahmed Amin?
Jess: I actually was not aware. When I went in, I was surprised and my jaw literally dropped! I said hi and I was extremely content to see him again.
Ayah Samaha: When Two Stars Connect
UH: You had a special bond with Ayah Samaha during one of your projects; is this in real life too?
Jess: Okay, so we actually met while filming the series, and in reality, our bond is as strong as ever! It convinced everyone watching the show that the series was a snippet of our real connection! I admire how supportive she is and she makes me feel like she is my actual aunt! Her jokes and everything about her was really cool! We would do TikToks together and attend dance classes even though we would dance together behind the scenes! It had a wonderful impact on me!
Kamel El Adad vs Reality
UH: How was your bond like with everyone from the cast? Let’s start off with Dina El Sherbiny!
Jess: In the series, she was my mother, but in reality, she is my second mother! She provided me with a variety of advice on everything! Behind the scenes, she would give me detailed feedback which was mostly filled with positive encouragement! I felt really happy and supported. Amina with Laila is absolutely different from Dina with Jess! Jess and Dina passionately love each other! Behind the scenes were incredible!
UH: How about your bond with the children cast? How was your chemistry with Sherif?
Jess: The fact that we were four of the same age was brilliant because there was some sort of bond and chemistry between us all that was really nice – whether that was with Hamza, Lina or Malek! We were one group! Sherif and Amina had their bond in and out of filming, which was more obvious within the scenes! That was really amazing!
Also, Mr Khaled was something out of this world – he was my father. He would free himself for me whenever I needed him! I would dash at him with my indecisive questions: do I do this or do I do that; if I do this, would this be better? He would always make me feel like he had time for me whenever I needed him! He seemed like he truly cared and wanted to help – I deeply love him!
To watch more of the interview, click on that TikTok or check out Instagram!