"Ana wahdaneya, maleesh wala habeeb wala areeb wala ghareeb." These were the words behind her overwhelming success during the last period after her portrayal of Naglaa in the hit Ramadan 2020 Series 'B 100 Wesh'. The memes took over social media and Donia Maher stole our hearts as one of Egypt's latest rising stars and she's here to tell us more about her character Naglaa and her experience.
1. How did you get your role for Naglaa in 'B 100 Wesh'?
I recently worked on more than one comedy part which helped prepare me for the show, especially after Moody Shaheen recommended me, who was the casting director alongside the show's director Kamla Abu Zekry.
2. This isn't the first time you've worked with Kamla Abu Zekry. Tell us about your relationship and the secret behind your success together...
Kamla Abu Zekry is a blessing for any actor. She has a different mindset, and knows how to bring out the best in each actor. Also, like you mentioned, this is not the first time we have worked together, so I simply love working with her and I think the secret to our success together is that she's capable of bringing out the best and I always strive to be responsible and mindful of that.
3. Did you find comedy to be harder than your roles in drama pieces?
It is not more difficult, but it's different and it's important for an actor to experience that. I would describe it as a nice experience that requires different things, which is necessary. An actor must always present diverse and different performances.
4. Did you expect the reactions Naglaa's character got?
Of course not. Naglaa's success exceeded my expectations. People's reactions with her pictures all over social media, with her famous quote, was a complete shock to me.
5. You are among the few stars that appear without makeup in most of your roles. Were you not hesitant and worried about any comments or reactions from the audience?
There is nothing to be scared of, we're constantly in public everyday with no makeup on, so why not appear on camera in the same way, as long as the character and role requires that.
6. Did you expect "Maleesh wala habeeb wala areeb wala ghareeb" to start circulating like this? Was it in the script or did you improvise it?
It was not improvised at all, it was written in the script. Surprisingly, it was very difficult for me to get the hang of it at first. I kept practicing it constantly, until I got used to it and was able to say it in a emotional way or scene that expresses how Naglaa's feeling. It didn't cross to my mind for a second that it would spread this and be written on keychains and t-shirts.
7. You presented various and distinct roles, but in your opinion, why did you think Naglaa met this much popularity?
I think it's an accumulation of things, because the audience, after seeing me in several different roles, had a formed idea or picture of 'Donia Maher'. So when they saw me this time playing Naglaa, who is very different, they believed in my talent and that I am a good actress who deserves praise. Also this a much bigger role and the character is very unique, so the Naglaa's popularity is due to many different things.
8. What do you think of people comparing you Abla Kamel?
An honor of course! Simply comparing me to a star of Abla's magnitude makes me so happy. And I think the reason behind this is because people don't see enough of the type and quality of art that Abla Kamel presents. So, when they saw Naglaa's character show similar qualities they compared it immediately. But Abla Kamel is a great actress and I hope that I can be capable of at least half of her talent.
9. The scenes in 'B 100 Wesh' were really natural, it's as if you really were friends. So, how were you able to do that?
I think the reason is that all the cast and crew are pure and genuine, only concerned with the series's success. This also helped make the environment fun and light, despite the pressures we were feeling during the last days of filming.
10. Do you think social media contributed in some way to the success of the show?
It was an opportunity for people to share their thoughts on the show clearly, and their comments were like free publicity, so of course it helped with its success.
11. What are your thoughts on the audience's sympathy for the gang?
The audience’s sympathy for the gang is hilarious. I think the reason is that it's because their characters are smart and joyous, which made the audience relate to them and want their success. We've seen this before in cinema over many years, like in 'Losoos w Laken Zorafaa'.
12. And Finally, you played different roles in both comedy and drama. What' s the next step?
Actually, there are a lot of things I would like to do next, which includes an important role that I'm not able to talk about right now. In any case, I'll take a short break after 'B 100 Wesh' before I move on to the next step.