Karim Sobhy has solidified his status as an actor of great talent. The multi- skilled, TV presenter turned actor caught the eye after taking on roles in great works of art such as “Zay Al Shams,” “Eswed Fateh,” “Al Sandouq Al Aswad,” and “Al Nazwah.” Soul Arabia sat down with the icon and discussed it all from his career as a TV presenter and then an actor, to his unique personality and plans for the future. This is what he had to say.
How did you get into TV presenting?
I graduated from the American University in Cairo with a major in Political Economy and a minor in Mass Communication. I worked several jobs; However, I knew that wasn’t what I wanted to do, so I switched my direction to television presenting.
To be a TV presenter you need to have a certain amount of emotional intelligence, and that’s what initially drew me to it. For example, in addition to the hours’ worth of research, the presenter needs to relate to guests, even impress them to get the scoop without them even knowing.
You nailed it as a TV presenter, what drew you into acting?
TV hosting is something I’ve always loved. Since I graduated with a minor degree in mass communication, that’s been on my mind, and I started off as a reporter, working my way up. Acting, however, is a completely different field, which is also my passion. I love doing both.
How did you get your first chance as an actor?
I got into acting in 2011 through my dear friend Hany Seif, who happened to be the son of the late great director Samir Seif. He told me one day that his father was working on a new series with actor Khaled Al Nabawi, and asked Hany if I was interested in a role. I went there, got the gig, and that’s how it all began.
Different experiences contribute to one’s character. How would you describe yours in both professions?
Both areas have greatly shaped my personality. Live TV has an adventitious side to it; you never know when a guest is going to go off-script, therefore, a good TV presenter must be able to improvise. I think the same goes for actors. Not only that but also when it comes to proper articulation and enunciation, TV hosting has helped me a lot in my acting career.
Acting has taught me a few things about myself. Before getting into a character, every actor needs to do extensive research to learn about the background, motivations, and different experiences that shape said character. It makes me challenge myself with characters I never thought I’d be able to play. Going through this process has revealed new depths in my personality that I didn’t know existed.
Acting is a quite challenging career, weren’t you afraid to take this risk?
Of course, it was a risk, and it still is. We see people around us wasting their lives on something that is not meant for them. Others are fortunate enough to do what they love. It’s a game of roulette, and I’m a risk-taker.
How would you describe yourself?
I am a very ambitious person. My ambition comes with perseverance and determination. I’m a fighter, and that’s what this field requires the most. If you can’t fight, it’s over. Each phase is a challenge, and if I give up early, it’s not for me.
Let’s talk about support. early of your acting career, did anyone lend you a helping hand?
At first, my parents did not approve of my career choices. But after seeing me on TV and then on the big screen, they became my biggest fans and supporters. I am really grateful to my friends for all the moral support. But in the industry, I didn’t get support from anyone. Not yet at least. No prominent directors or producers had anything to do with my success. I had to work for it using only talent and diligence.
How do you develop yourself to become better?
To reinforce my career, I always go to acting workshops, read books, watch films, attend festivals, and work on independent projects. I traveled to Los Angeles and spent six months studying acting. For me, it’s a perpetual state of self-improvement. On a personal level I am a gym freak. I get up early every day to work out. I do cardio, CrossFit and weightlifting. I’m really into fitness.
What type of roles do you find most challenging? Is there anything you are working on now?
I do not like two-dimensional roles. They are simply bland. I like characters that are more complex with psychological depth to them. I have an upcoming role in the director Mohamed Samy’s new TV show, “Al Omda,” which will air this Ramadan.