Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - Hindustan Times (Jaipur) - City

I defied all the conditioni­ng, it was hard: May Calamawy

- Sugandha Rawal Sugandha Rawal

Actor Kriti Sanon posts one video with co-star Kartik Aaryan and the rumour mill goes into overdrive, speculatin­g that they are dating. But for her, it is just another “petty” thing to ignore. And she feels such rumours are an outcome of the growing popularity of social media.

“It is [a result of] people’s need for informatio­n. I don’t know if social media is a great thing to happen to us or a bad thing. I have mixed feelings when it comes to that,” Sanon tells us when asked about the current speculatio­n. “If

Egyptian-palestinia­n actor May Calamawy was offered a life set in all the stereotype­s attached to women, but she rebelled to do things her own way. She says, “There is so much deep conditioni­ng growing up [as a girl] in the Middle East. My parents wanted me to look a certain way, work in a certain field, be married and have children by a certain age.” After doing small roles in TV shows such as Madame Secretary, The Brave and FBI, Calamawy got the ticket to go trace her roots on screen when she picked the character of an Arab woman in Ramy (American TV series). She took another step in the direction when she became Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first Arab leading lady in the web series Moon Knight, which takes a note out of Egyptian culture in the superhero world. “It was important for me to show Egypt in an authentic way. And Mohamed Diab (writer of Moon Knight) brought it.

It is so important to work with people who are from the region to bring that onto the screen,” she says.

While she is busy spinning her web of stardom in the West, there was a time when she studied industrial design at her father’s request. She did roles in short films, taking baby steps towards her family’s approval. “I defied all the conditioni­ng. I was like, ‘I am going to do it my way.’ And it was hard, because you doubt yourself,” says the 35-year-old, who followed her dream that led her to Hollywood. “For me, that (making it to Hollywood) was the biggest blessing,” adds the actor.

Working on Moon Knight was an enriching experience for Calamawy, as she learnt to believe in herself: “I’d be in a room full of men and my costars are very strong men, who have been working for a long time. They trust their instincts and I had to really keep up. It was uncomforta­ble, because my instinct is to want to ask, ‘Can you help me?’ I did have moments where I asked, but somewhere, I decided to figure it out myself and that helped.”

There is deep conditioni­ng growing up [as a girl] in the Middle East. My parents wanted me to be married and have children by a certain age. MAY CALAMAWY,

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 ?? PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/ IHANSIKA ?? Hansika Motwani
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