Behind the Screen: Rakeen Sa’ad

All about Sa’ad, her private life and career

Rakeen Sa'ad

Rakeen Sa’ad

She is funny and she is witty, she is that friend you can always rely on to make you laugh even on your worst I-just-want-to-curl-up-and-cry days. Sipping her chai latte at the busy Coffee Beans and Tealeaf café in Abdoun, her curly hair wrapped in a bun nonchalantly (without using a hairband, may I add) and a cigarette in her hand, she sits waiting and observing those around her.

Rakeen Saad the rising actress, who has made her stamp on the Jordanian acting scene more quickly than you can say “Ghunwa”, is now on every television screen across the Kingdom.

Saad began her acting career at the National Centre for Culture and Arts when she was ten years old. “I performed my first play at the centre with my brother, my sister and a couple of my cousins. Not surprisingly, the audience was mainly comprised of my parents, aunts and uncles.

“We did a couple of different sketches, but the one I enjoyed doing the most was when we danced to Bon Jovi’s ‘It’s my life’ on stage. By ‘dancing’ I mean banging our heads and playing air guitars, and all the cool things you do when you’re ten.”

With a Queen Rania Al Abdullah Award for Excellence and a bachelor’s degree in drama from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom under her belt, Saad embarked on her career as an actress in 2010.

She whispered: “This might sound cliché, but that’s when I felt like this is what I am meant to be doing- this is what I want to do with my life.”

Saba Mubarak & Rakeen

Saba Mubarak & Rakeen
Photo Credit: Rakeen Sa’ad

After her psycho role as Ghunwa in the YouTube hit comedy Female, Sa’ad brings us ‘Zain’. Starring Saba Mubarak and Qais Al Sheikh Najeeb, the comedy series has proved to be a hit amongst all Arab nationalities.

Sa’ad plays Farah, the boss’s secretary. The boss dies and leaves his company to his daughter, Zain. When Zain becomes in charge, Farah gets jealous and insecure; she now has to share all the men’s attention.

She said: “If I wanted to give a couple of character descriptions about Farah I would say she’s a bit vulgar and annoying, she chews gum 24/7, she thinks she’s beautiful and she’s looking for the perfect man.”

Sa’ad previously worked with the director of Zain, Mohammad Hushki, on Female which also aired on Ro’ya previously this year.

She said: “I love working with Hushki, he’s the one I’m most comfortable working with so far. The most important thing for him is the actor- or at least he makes me feel this way. We always brainstorm ideas together, which makes it all the more fun working with him.

“I also can’t explain to you how much I enjoyed working with the team on Zain. We always have these fits of giggles that never seem to end. I remember in one scene, my character Farah, Lutfi and Neelan are left behind in the office while our bosses go to meet Egyptian starlet Nelly Karim. We decide to make a YouTube video to make fun of our bosses. We were doing the scene when all of a sudden Lutfi and Neelan –who never fail to surprise me- start imitating Qais Al Sheikh Najeeb who is Syrian. They start talking in a thick Syrian accent à la Bab El Hara and I couldn’t stop myself from laughing. Neelan is Filipino and he has the best Syrian accent ever!”

Cast of Zain

Cast of Zain
Photo Credit: Rakeen Sa’ad

The bundle of delightfulness that she is, Saad still does not think of herself as famous.

She said: “The thought of a stranger recognising me on the street does not even cross my mind when I get out of the house. So when people do recognise me I get so embarrassed, I start stuttering and my face goes bright red.

“One time I was out with some friends in Montreal having shisha and playing cards. I had my hair in a messy bun and had absolutely no hints of make up on, when all of a sudden a guy comes up to me and goes: ‘uh sorry, are you HER?’ and shoves his phone in my face. It was really funny.”

It’s not always smiles and giggles with Sa’ad, however. She was struggling through dire circumstances earlier this year, which made it hard for her to juggle her time and energy between her life and work.

“Actors are always told that they should detach themselves before going on set. I didn’t understand what that truly meant until this year.

“I was filming Shirsh Al Tool and Female at the same time, they’re both comedy shows and my life was a drama. I felt like I was split in half, one part of me was hurt and the other was trying to make people laugh. I felt like I wasn’t being completely true to myself and I remember thinking: ‘what am I doing? Why am I here?’”

“I think the experience made me stronger in my work and in life. The great thing about comedy is that you can make people smile and make them happy whether you’re actually happy or not. I think we need laughter, especially in these times, during everything happening in the Arab world.”

You can watch the show on Abu Dhabi TV (Al Aula), Sunday to Thursday at 9:00pm GMT.

This piece was posted on Humanity Can Wait



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