The Egyptian actress Rogena has a special style that is usually imposed, so she is usually found drumming her own artistic rhythmic tune, for the choices of the characters she plays is perfect. Also, her ability to present diversified characters made her one of the most important actresses in the art scene.
She can be described as unpredictable, she always surprises the audiences, she always breaks the rules; for you find her the beloved villain. It is a combination that only she knows its secret.
In this interview we go inside ‘ Fadwa’s character to know how did she played it, and how Rogena was affected by the character in her life. Was Rogena able to take off ‘Fadwa’s cloak off her shoulders or is it still haunting her, and if she fears death? And what is her perception towards betrayal, and many more details in the interview:
In the beginning, may you tell us the secret behind the expression ‘Ya Omry- My life’ that your character in ‘El Prince’ series was always saying?
It was an expression usually repeated by the character while she speaks, and the expression stuck to the character. The audience were attached to the expression, to the extent that people would do impressions to the character on social media platforms.
Who came up with the expression?
Frankly, it was the director Mohamed Samy, as the expression ‘Ya Omry- My life’ was a part of the character’s portrait.
How has the character affected you during and after the shooting?
Certainly, it was the toughest character I ever played, the character is full of details and has a special style in terms of her usage of expressions, her hatred to others, her movement; therefore, I am still affected by her until now. Sometimes when I am alone, I recall some of her idioms and I would repeat them, and that reflects how much the character has an effect on me.
Were you able to get out of her easily?
She laughs:’ I couldn’t get her out of me until now, as she is a really influential character and the audience were attached to her and wouldn’t let me get her out of me’. Every day on my social media platforms, I have stories about Fadwa. People’s love and attachment to Fadwa is making it hard for me to get her out of me.
You’ve created a character that is engraved in the minds of the audience and it is considered a quantum leap to your career.. what is more difficult to come afterwards?
it is certain that thinking about what comes after Fadwa is frightening, for the success the character accomplished was exceptional, and as you mentioned it is a quantum leap to my career and to my fans. Nevertheless, I have faith in God for he who granted me the role of ‘Fadwa’ and he is capable of granting me a role as successful and appealing to the audience as ‘Fadwa’.
How has the director Mohamed Samy contributed in creating such a complicated character, also revealing a side we have never knew of Rogena?
Honestly, he is to thank for the character. Mohamed Samy the director and screenwriter of the series had a certain vision about the character, he would see the character before his eyes before I do. The actress’s mission is to deliver efficiently the director’s and screenwriter’s vision to the audience, the actress only adds to the character from her soul, characteristics and details. That’s why Mohamed Samy
After you accepted Fadwa’s role, Is it then possible to see you portraying the role of a dancer or owner of a nightclub?
I already played the role of a dancer more than once. I played a dancer in a period drama called ‘Darb El Taieb – The Taib path’ with Hisham Selim my co-star. I also played a dancer in ‘ Al tabal- The Drummer’ series and I played a folk dancer in ‘ Qamar 14’. I believe I played all types of dancers, for the role that triggers my enthusiasm I would be urged to play it.
Nevertheless, do you have red lines concerning such roles?
Not at all, I don’t have red lines towards any character. On the contrary, whenever the role is difficult and provoking to me, I pursue to play it. I always go for the roles that provoke me.
Who was behind the style of which you appeared in the series? For Nadia El Gendy appeared in such style when she played a drug dealer, the same also for Nabila Ebeid when she played a dancer. Do you think that such style is essential for the drug dealer and the belly dancer in the Egyptian drama?
The look of which I appeared in was the result of many sessions held between me and Mohamed Samy and Saeed Ramzy the stylist. We agreed after several consultations the ideal style for the character, even when it came to her makeup, and its colour consistency. We agreed on all the details I just mentioned and we concurred the character’s look.
Besides the cloaks of which the character appeared in were varied between the Algerian, Tunisian, Moroccan and Arab styles; an Algerian designer called Kadina designed them in coordination with the stylist Saeed Ramzy. Hence, the character appeared in such style after we all agreed upon her look.
Has the reincarnation of the character drained your energy?
While shooting I was really worried and nervous. I remember that the series’ decor was twenty consecutive days with no food, nor drinks and I did not sleep well. I was really stressed out from her while shooting. I was not sympathizing with her actions, but she was a real character, she has in her both good and evil.
The audiences detested taboos and constants; a person is either pure good or a pure evil. That’s why it was really tiring and exhausting. But she was real; that’s why the audience believed her and sympathized with some of her moments and hated her in other moments.
Describe to us the status of which you lived during and after the shooting. Also, when Dr. Ashraf Zaki was hospitalized, how was the taste of success with such heartbreak?
I was in a real state of joy during the shooting and afterwards, on account of the success the character accomplished. And my husband Ahsraf Zaki was really glad of this success, for wherever he went he was spoken to about ‘Fadwa’ and how good the character was.
I must say ‘ Thank God’ for the success sis granted by Him Almighty. God blessed upon the series with such success. Though by the end of the shooting, Asharf was hit by a blood clot in the coronary artery and he had to go through the installation of two stents in his heart. I have nothing to say except ‘ Thank God’, for life always put us through tests. We live a good day and the other isn’t, but this is life. And Thanks to God Ashraf is much better and that what is important.
Every role in every project has a message. What was the message you presented through ‘Fadwa’ the ruthless woman, the murderer and the drug dealer?
The message the character presented was the importance of being a strong unbeatable woman. Sometimes I am presented with week beaten female characters, and I refuse to play these parts. I tell myself that I would not show my audience such weakness. But as for ‘Fadwa’ she fears no one and she knows how to take what is rightfully hers, aside from being a drug dealer, she is a strong woman and nothing defeats or beats her, only death has.
There are many ‘Fadwas’ in our Arab World, how would Rogena react if she ran into such a character?
Even though I travel a lot and meet many people, but I have never met someone like ‘Fadwa’. She wasn’t in my emotional memory stock. But if one day I encountered someone like ‘Fadwa’ I will tell her that she is the one who is trying to imitate me and not the contrary.
After you finish a hard scene in “el Prince- The prince’ series.. what are the sentiments that you feel when you are finished with them?
Most of Fadwa’s scenes were very hard. When an artist is performing such hard character, he/she feels harsh stress; and that was my sentiment during shooting.
I was trying my best while performing so that the character would be convincing. To say the truth, I was worried to watch myself during the shooting; I felt if I had I would be disconnected from the character.
What is your scale of satisfaction concerning your performance?
The scale is the audience and thank God, the audience loved the series very much. And thanks to God the audience loved the series so much, and it was a big hit, and that is the scale of satisfaction to any artist. And such success was due to the efforts of the whole crew, whether they were the ones behind the camera or the actors, all of which worked hard so that the series would be perfect. Acting is more like a match when everyone does their best, the result would be a success. And I would like to thank Mohamed Samy for his first series to be written by him and I would like to congratulate the whole crew without exception.
You made a successful due with Ahmed Zaher. What have you added to each other?
This was the third time that I work with Ahmed Zaher, we belong to the same school at work and we both graduated from the Higher Institute of dramatic Arts. In addition, there is a mutual understanding between the both of us, which makes the work smooth and easy. He worries about his work so much like I do, and we were both anxious about the series, but we worked hard during the preparations. And thanks to God we made a perfect acting due, and even aside from work he is my friend and like a brother to me, and I hope we would keep on working together.
What does life mean to you?
Life is a great test that humans go through, there are who make it through and there are who do not. There are who learns how to deal with life and others don’t. However, life is a continuous learning journey and even when we feel that life is long, we realize that it isn’t, hence, we should enjoy every moment of it.
What gives value to your life?
My daughters, as for me motherhood is the the most important value in life. A great value in raising up my children and for them to have a value in the community. As for my work it gives me a value in life. And lobe is to be generous to all who are around you and that what gives you value. And success makes the person content and provides us with confidence. And the fact that my mother is beside me and also my husband and everything I mentioned give a value to my life.
When life becomes without a value to you?
When we lose our passion for it. And we lose our nice moments, and the people we love. When we are broken and feel that we no longer want to live, at this moment life becomes without a value.
Do you fear death?
I don’t fear death, death is the truth and the end, thus, I don’t fear death as it will be our meeting with God Almighty. Nevertheless, there people who fear death because it is unknown and we always fear the unknown.
Who is the person of whom you fear the most of losing?
Just thinking about this makes me full of negative energy, and I don’t like it. But when I have such an obsession about losing someone, I love I tell myself that I will be the one before them and then I would not feel the bitterness of the loss.
Injustice and apology are two contradictory words. What do they mean to you?
They are two contradictory unequal words, and apology never erases injustice. For I can’t do you injustice then apologize to you, the feeling if injustice is the hardest.
What was the time you felt you have been severely imposed to injustice?
I never cave to that feeling and I don’t like it and I never forget who had been unjust to me, and I leave it to God for I know He will repay me.
Do you think apologizing is weakness or strength?
Apology is absolute power. A person’s ability to apologize for a mistake he committed when this word is the hardest, then this person is powerful.
Are you unjust or wronged?
Neither, I am contented. Such expressions do not exist in my life’s dictionary.
Have you ever thought about apologizing then retreated?
When I was young, I refused the concept of apologizing. And when I grew up a little, I gained the courage to apologize, but now I try not to reach the point that makes me do a mistake of which I have to apologize for.
What is the ultimate betrayal, physical or mental?
There is a betrayal with just a glance, a word, an idea and also the body. Betrayal has many forms and they are all the same but betrayal has no place in my life.
Is it possible for you to forgive a betrayal?
I don’t have a decisive answer to that, it depends on the situation, whether it is a betrayal that ca be forgiven or one that cannot be forgiven.
If you stand before the mirror, what is the question you will ask to Rogena?
First I will thank God for all the blessings He bestowed upon me. Also, I would thank him for the peace of mind He granted me. Then I am going to ask myself if I were able to accomplish the things I wished for when I were young or not.
The last time you talked to yourself, were you honest or you tried to escape the confrontation?
I talk to myself a lot and I am honest with myself, for a person is always honest with himself, otherwise; what’s the point then of talking. ‘You’ is the only person you would talk to without fear or anxiety.
An Aries lady would not be able to express herself nor her feelings quite well, does this rule apply to you?
I don’t quite agree, the Aries woman is romantic and spread energy pf love among the people around her, whether with words or looks or actions. Even when it comes to my relation with my children, I always embrace them and tell them how much I love them. It is from the Aries’s disadvantages that a woman can’t hide her emotions.
What is the feature you hate the most in your personality?
My excessive kindness, and excessive trust in others and the anger. And the fact that I would be waiting for things from some people and when they do not happen, I get disappointed.
Who do you listen to the most, Shereen or Angham?
I love both of them, but I am more touched by Angham’s songs, and I love her artistic persona and her respect to her career, and to the words she sings and she forces everyone to respect her.
Who is the Arab actor whom you would agree to be his co-star without having to read the script?
That’s a tough question and I am afraid that I would mention one name and forget the other, my all experiences with Arab actors had been really amusing. They include cultural exchange between different countries and I hope that every year I would participate in an Arab project for that is really honors and pleases me.