Mai Selim's artistic family has supported her throughout her singing and acting careers, and the newest member of her family -- her daughter Lily -- has changed her life.
Born to a Jordanian father and Lebanese mother, she has spent most of her life in Egypt.
During a recent visit to Kuwait, Mai spoke with Al-Shorfa about her family, overcoming her fear of acting and what it takes to be an artist.
Al-Shorfa: First of all, how are you finding motherhood?
Mai Selim: My daughter Lily is my whole life; everything revolves around her. Most of the time, I go to the studio and I am thinking about her and that goes back to the fact that I am very attached to my family.
Al-Shorfa: You are from an artistic family. How has that influenced your career?
Selim: When you come from a family with an artistic background, this gives you true support. My sisters, especially Mais, are my true supporters of my career as an artist. Mais has always been by my side every step I have taken. She is the one who encourages me in every move I make. Even while filming my songs, she helps me to choose the storyline and the song that I should film. This is what prompted us to give the go-ahead for filming a programme that is expected to air next Ramadan. I will be filming it with Mais and our other sister, Dana.
Al-Shorfa: How has your experience in acting been so far?
Selim: I was afraid when I first started acting, especially since I was working with giants of the acting world. In the film "Dealer", starring Ahmed al-Saqqa and Khaled al-Nabawi who are among the most famous stars in the Arab world, my experience [with them] was profound and [in the process] I acquired a lot of expertise.
As for television, I started with the film "Maktoob ala el-Gebin" with the actor Hussein Fahmy, who has a long acting history in cinema and television. He helped me overcome my fear of facing the audience.
Al-Shorfa: How do you choose your roles?
Selim: What concerns me in any script for film or a [television] series is content so that it draws me in to the extent it makes me unable to resist it.
For example, when I started acting in "Dealer", I was offered more than one film and television script, but I preferred to wait for around two years until the film was released and I had the chance to gauge the audience's response. After that, I started to accept other offers. Personally, I feel that younger artists are starting to care more about the quality of what they present rather than quantity.
Al-Shorfa: Is that why you accepted your role in the [television] series "Vertigo" with actress Hend Sabri?
Selim: For a long time now, we have not heard of an actor who has made a guest appearance and really influences the story, and I was offered just such a role that provokes the artistic abilities of any actor so I immediately accepted.
Al-Shorfa: Did you not fear competition from such a long-standing, famous actress as Hend Sabri?
Selim: Hend Sabri is one of my favourite actresses. She is an excellent actress and whoever works with her learns a lot even if it is a small role. Compared to her, I am still a student in the early stages of my studies so there is no competition between us at all.
Al-Shorfa: You have recently accepted an offer to film advertisements for a hair oil brand. Do you think doing commercial advertisements has become fashionable in the art world?
Selim: It is not a fashion as much as it is a means to earn some money to be able to finance song production and other art-related aspects. At the end of the day, an artist is a person who needs to have an income that will allow them to continue with their art in a way they deem appropriate and according to their own [standards and] plans.
Doing advertisements is one way to do that. It is also important, though, that [artists] choose the appropriate product to promote and when I was offered to do an ad for this particular hair oil product, I found it to be suitable and would not put the audience off me as an artist, so I accepted.