Unstable characters, sometimes naughty, Natasha Choufani embodies them wonderfully. Such was her role in Dolly in Khtarab el Hay, who revealed her to the public. However, young and talented, the actress also composes poems and defends women. Interview.
1-Natasha Choufani, you are a multidisciplinary artist, which form of art is the dearest to your heart?
Acting. I loved this form of art since my childhood. I also love to paint and compose poems, but I concentrate all my energy on my job as an actress.
2-You often choose to embody problematic characters like your role in Khtarab el Hay. Do you have a vicious side in your personality?
I do not choose these roles. They are offered to me. In Lebanon, when they see a person playing a certain type of role, they typecast her. That’s why, I’m always given these difficult roles because they think I’m able to play these kinds of characters, complex personalities. I recently played nice characters. It was a good change and I was satisfied. I was able to make the switch. We all have a dark side in our personality, the good side, the bad side. As an actress, I have to know myself, to know what are my weak points, my strengths, and my dark points. If I go through a certain situation, will these aspects of my personality be revealed? Perhaps. We never know what happens when we are pushed in certain situations, depending on our education and many other factors.
3- To what extent your dark side helps you to portray your character?
We all have this dark side, personally, I use it to feel empathy towards my character, no matter how bad this woman is. I must always feel empathy for her, to be able to represent her. I usually find common ground with the character, on which I base myself to give my character her own personality, even if it’s not the one I’d like to have. As actresses, we are supposed to know who we are, otherwise, we will never succeed in playing roles.
4- In Bilahza you were Ziad Borji female friend, do you believe in friendship between men and women?
In Bilahza, I was actually in love with him, he found friendship in me. Most of the time, in male-female friendships, there is always one side more inclined towards a relationship than another. I do think it’s possible. I do have good friends males and we have been friends for a long time, developing that kind of platonic relation. Most of the time, one side is inclining towards something, but it does happen that friendship can exist between a man and a woman.
5- What role would you like to perform in the future?
I would like to play the role of a strong female character, overcoming obstacles, fighting for herself, the role of an independent woman, not a victim. I think that the roles of victims in our television series abound. We should really work to change this idea. I have interpreted roles of mentally unstable women, emotionally destructured women, demolished and destroying everything. I would rather play the role of a woman leader, surrounded by people who rely on her, who push her for the better, which is strongly linked to the empowerment of women.
6-What do you think of Lebanese actresses of your generation?
I’m really happy because my generation includes many actresses, who work really hard and do their best, creating and studying their characters, not just their appearance. They also focus on the quality of their work and their ability to excel. Even if some actors still stagnate, there is a new generation of very strong actors. I’m talking about those who are currently making a difference in the entertainment industry, who will continue to do so, to give it an added value. I think this is really important.
7-Tell us about your struggle for women’s empowerment …
I have always been a women’s rights activist, fighting for female empowerment. I took part in Mish Bassita, a campaign against sexual harassment. Currently, I am working on the ground, against sexual violence, on the basis of research conducted with a large number of women. My background is related to journalism and not only to acting. Escwa invited me to read my poem «When you lose your body» at the conference organized as part of International Women’s Day. My poem described the consequences of what a woman experiences after being sexually assaulted, or raped. I told their stories in the poem by giving different examples of how she feels. She feels she has lost her body not only when she is attacked or raped, but gradually every day when society refuses to believe her and protect her, even when society begins to judge her. Lose control of what was once yours. Nobody realizes how important it is to protect the recovery of the woman who has been raped.
8- How to act concretely to improve women’s rights?
By working on improving the laws: a law promulgated in the past has not been completely abolished. It stipulates that a raped woman must marry her rapist. The logic behind all this was to hide the scandal, but no one takes into account the type of trauma that this woman might experience when marrying her rapist. I refer to this law to explain to what extent the feelings and emotions of a woman are considered insignificant. Our society excels in hypocrisy. In front of a really weak person, rather than protecting her, society attacks her more. Interview Conducted byRita Saadé.