Cute little Leila. We smiled with her smiles and wept with her tears in Appointment with Happiness. Now little Leila is a head-turning beauty with a blooming femininity… Leila was played by Nadia Zulfiqar, Faten Hamama’s daughter, who once seemed like she might become an Egyptian star like her mother. But Nadia grew up abroad, and her stay in the land of the West has turned her into a Hollywood girl.
Today, Nadia is Omar Sharif’s secretary, responsible for his affairs. Faten and Omar have divorced, and Nadia’s mother has gone back to her country and her people to live the sorrows and joys of the Arabs. As for Nadia, there is fear for her upbringing. The interviewer felt a lack of patriotism in her, especially in that she is working as Omar’s secretary, and he is surrounded by Zionist celebrities who consider Israel a state. If the Zulfiqar family does not quickly take charge of their daughter and bring her back home, they will be held responsible should anything happen to her—before God, her country, and her dead father, whose remains lie under the ground of his homeland and who directed more than one powerful Arab film.
“Save my daughter…Save her!” cries Ezzeddine Zulfiqar from beyond the grave.
During Nadia’s stay in Beirut to watch a game of bridge that the divorced debauched husband Omar Sharif was playing, we interviewed the beautiful Arab secretary… with the weird lifestyle.
I saw you a few years ago in Appointment with Happiness, after which you stopped acting?
*Appointment with Happiness was the first and the last. I was six at the time. My father was the director and my mother the lead actress. They chose me because they needed a small girl to play the part, and I was the closest in age to the character. I stopped acting to continue my education.
What led you to become Omar Sharif’s secretary?
Because I like traveling and visiting places and the lifestyle. Any girl my age would want this job. This job is paradise, why would I refuse it?
You are constantly moving from one place to another. How do you think you could have a long-term relationship with anyone with this lifestyle of yours? Your life is dictated by Omar Sharif’s schedule. You have no privacy.
I don’t agree. When you get used to the idea of traveling and you roam the world, you become more self-confident. As for my privacy…I have friends in every country. I am not always with Omar. I spend most of my time going out with friends. I’m free most nights—that’s not counting my days off. If I had neglected my private life, I would have died a long time ago.
I met Omar Sharif’s previous secretary, Caroline Faifer, and she said she had to quit because of the lack of stability and privacy?
Caroline is a whole different story. Look at the age difference—I’m in my twenties and she’s over thirty. She quit because it was time for her to think about her future.
You are very young. But you still travel so much, living the life of celebrity—maybe you’re just bored and going through a phase?
I am not going through any phase. I’m all eyes and ears for anything that is new. I see the whole world in its diversity. Where is the boredom in that? I have no time to be bored.
I don’t think he is treating you like a secretary. Don’t you think he’s exploiting you?
Whatever—work is work. But Omar is an easy-going guy …he doesn’t ask for much. During the day I go to the studio with him for a little while. At night he sits by himself and reads or sits with his friends and plays cards.
When you go with him to the studio, do you find that acting is harder than people think?
It’s a very tough job, even for the silliest of movies. Of course, there are innumerable good things about this type of career.
You have met many celebrities, for sure. Who is your favorite?
I would say Michael Caine, for the men. I don’t know which women I like.
Do you want to be famous? Who would you want to be if you were famous?
Frankly, I don’t want to be famous. But I would like to have my mother’s reputation.
Which one of Omar Sharif’s movies do you like the most, and do you watch anyone else’s movies?
I’ve seen most of his movies. I liked Lawrence of Arabia. I hated The Appointment. I watch all kinds of movies. I like movies. When I can, I watch Arab movies.
Do you think you are a talented actress?
I am not talented. I get nervous even in front of a photo camera.
What language do you speak most of the time?
It depends on where I am. I speak Arabic when I don’t want anyone to understand me.
Maybe for swearing?
I never swear.
Do you have a certain literary favorite?
I read a lot of novels and detective stories.
Who chooses your clothes?
What’s your sign?
Your favorite color?
Your favorite precious stone?
I collect leather belts. I have a very old one that might have been used as a saddle.
Mode of travel?
Your favorite city?
Are you in love?
Aren’t all people in love?
What do you hate the most?
People who gossip.
What are you afraid of?
I have none.
I’m still a novice.
Do you believe in luck?
Yes. I am very superstitious, and I’m constantly knocking on wood.
Are you honest?
Sometimes I’m strong, sometimes not.
Are you clever?
What do you think?
Do you want to go back to Cairo?
This is the second time I’ve been here. I was ten years old the first time.
How is it different/
I was interested in different things then.
Do you want to get married?
I don’t know, maybe… yeah totally, I hate spinsters.
And the moon?
Let’s get Earth under control, then we can talk about the moon.
What’s bothering you?
People talking bothers me. I"m tired of gossips.
Why do you think we are talking to you now? Is it because you are Faten Hamama’s daughter, or because you are Omar Sharif’s secretary, or because you are Nadia Zulfiqar?
Maybe you should ask yourself that question.