His parents will only support him when he gets married. With Ramy’s second season now streaming on Hulu, Calamawy is thinking a lot about reconciling the traditions of Islam with who she’s become. He’s actively exploring his faith and, to a lesser extent, his goals. I feel like she’s at a place of being like, whoa, I’m being called, but out of desperation, whereas Ramy’s not even questioning his faith. Sex and Islam are the two driving forces behind Ramy, Youssef’s semi-autobiographical Hulu-produced dramedy series, which made headlines when it debuted in April 2019 as the first mainstream US  TV show about Arab and Muslim protagonists. Ramy’s May Calamawy Is Ready for Dena to Make More Mistakes Maham Hasan 6/22/2020. The Arabic language leans into sarcasm heavily and especially Egyptians are just funny and fun people, and that’s something people don’t know about us. Ramy’s sister, Dena (May Calamawy), gets a half-hour all her own after leaving an impression on the outskirts of the early episodes. Even when I tried. Like us on Facebook to see similar stories, A pair of kayakers in California barely avoid being swallowed by a humpback whale, Chipotle struggles with staffing as coronavirus cases rise. “Ramy” premiered at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival. The doing of it is not easy, obviously, but no one doesn't want to hear your story. Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! What is that hunger? Interviews with leading film and TV creators about their process and craft. It’s this collective burden that we have. Unlike Dena I much better understand the superstitions that her parents brought up because they’re part of the culture I was raised in. Jacket and shorts: Elisabetta Franchi, Heels: Vince Camuto. This content is currently not available in your region. With your character, you represent one experience of a Muslim woman in America. 'Ramy' star May Calamawy, who plays Dena Hassan on the Hulu series, opened up about how her struggle with alopecia areata inspired a storyline in season 2 in an exclusive interview with InStyle. Copyright © 2020 Penske Business Media, LLC. We tell these little lies every day, just to get by.”. CLAIM TO FAME Born in Bahrain and raised in Houston and Doha, 27-year-old May El Calamawy is a rarity: an actress fluent in both Arabic and English. Nor is there any denying how authentic that story is. Dena wasn’t like the other roles May Calamawy had seen for Arab women. I also just want to have fun, collaborate with people I enjoy and grow around, and continue to connect with viewers. Photography | Mohamed CalamawyCreative director | Deborah FergusonInterview | Colter Ruland Web layout | Allie KingThank you ID-PR! Recently on a family chat, he was like, “May’s just at that age where she likes to fight for people,” and I was like, what are you saying? Dena has entire episodes in seasons one and two where she grapples with her sexuality and defining who she wants to be. I think with this show, you can look at religion and you can justify certain things as wrong. I didn’t get emotional about it. It’s almost like I was doing it for my mom. His spiritual journey, as chronicled in season one, is largely confined to rituals: fasting, praying, and not having so much sex. Together, they are more honest, realistic and superior in their artistry than the rest of the show combined. But because they were small roles, there wasn’t a lot of room for me to discover layers in the characters. “We all lie,” he says. It also must be stressed that the show still has potential to improve and expand. Apart from Farouk, all the Arab men featured in the series thus far are sexually-frustrated/sex-fixated dimwits who are torn between acting on their desires and maintaining stable social lives. And by the time I was 25 — I moved, my mom passed away, and something switched off in me. He has that strong connection to it and grapples with, how do I do these things I still want to do but do good by my faith? I grew up in the Middle East, so for me personally, whenever I would come to the States, my faith was never anything I really spoke about and I didn't see it represented as much, especially not in a positive light. They want to set him up — with a wife, with a different job, and, really, with a different life. The lockdown coincided with her visiting friends and family in Los Angeles. So when we had that, it was so nice and fun to do and just felt like a breath of fresh air. “Ramy” deserves credit for forging such a strong bond so quickly, digging in so thoroughly, and there are even indications it might expand to more perspectives (though they’re tertiary to the Ramy-centric A-plot early on). It’s not really about the faith. And I see that Dena’s in that place where she’s like, no, I want to do big things. “I’m an Arab, so at first at least, I wanted to highlight what I saw and what I knew.”, It might be unfair to ask one show to capture the wide spectrum of the Arab-American or even the Muslim Arab-American experience. Now, it finally feels like we're a part of a show that's just universal. It’s real.” [Laughs.] Editor's note: The following article contains spoilers for the first two seasons of Ramy. As depicted in Ramy, it accepts non-believers and gay and lesbian people, underlining, as Youssef puts it through the words of Amani, the beauty of “giving in” to the Muslim deity. I love the idea of not wasting energy on something that doesn’t interest you. And here’s the thing: I love that. Ramy is an American comedy-drama streaming television series which premiered on April 19, 2019 on Hulu.In May 2019, Hulu renewed the series for a second season, which premiered on May 29, 2020. He tries (and fails) to explain to a recent partner why he doesn’t drink, but tries not to draw attention to his sobriety. Beyond the imperative issue of representation, there is little going for Ramy. I understand how if someone could hear that, who doesn’t understand it, they could be like, astaghfirullah, haram. But once the novelty of Ramy’s fundamental conceit wears off, the defects of its writing become apparent. As genuine and resolute as it may be, Ramy is nothing more than an amiable, diverting comedy drama with plenty of good intentions, a scrambled vision and too many missteps - and a US mainstream TV show that does little to enrich the Arab-Muslim discourse in America. It does break ground in putting our faces on US TV screens as prominently as it does. You just have to do the work to get to a point where someone's gonna listen to you. And I tried to fill it with God, but I just don’t know how.”. I didn’t enjoy being in my own body. He also touches on the disappointment and loss of the revolutionary generation in the wake of the 2013 coup. I just want to see her stepping into herself more. So it’s easy for him to make comments, and I love him, and my dad’s incredible and very well-read, but sometimes he shocks me. Earlier this month, Hulu announced that Ramy has been renewed for a further 10 episodes. The series has been praised for its portrayal of American Muslims when most … A: I am grateful to my family and friends for keeping me grounded. We rely on readers like you to uphold a free press. Even when it comes to the politics of Islam, supposedly one of the main focuses of Ramy, Youssef shies from delving into the growing division between secular and traditional Islam. I question sometimes when people get angry at a Muslim woman exploring herself sexually or doing things that the Quran would say is wrong, haram, because sometimes it’s those things that you do that bring you closer to God. And there is a perception like we’re airing out this dirty laundry with what we’re doing. But it is honest. The reason I went into industrial design was because my parents didn’t feel comfortable sending me to the US to study acting. And I’m always trying to fill it up with something, like sex and porn. In contrast, such moral conflicts are at the heart of Scorsese’s manifestations of Catholicism in post-Vietnam America. I told my agent I don’t want to take these roles anymore. Ramy spends a lot of time with his friends Ahmed (Dave Merheje) and Mo (Mohammed Amer). The Dena-centric episode in season two, “3riana Grande,” pales in comparison to last year’s stunning “Refugees,” which offered an intimate look at how May Calamawy’s character faces misogyny. Youssef has made clear in interviews that the focus of the series is on his Muslim, rather than his Arabic, identity. I’m feeling great, and feeling bad, because I’m aware that there are people who lose their whole head of hair. A: I felt like I was exploring myself through Dena. Ramy Youssef, May Calamawy, Hiam Abbass, Amr Waked, Steve Way, Dave Merheje, Mohammed Amer, Laith Nakli. I personally didn’t want the second season to just be about a guy. On the other hand season 2 is transformational because we’re seeing him actually deal with who he is. It currently has a score of 96 percent on the reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Judging by the show, Youssef advocates a liberal form of  Sufism. How important was this for the show? Both episodes represent the richest, most reflective hour of the Arab-American experience to appear on US TV screens. She has such an intoxicating magnetic energy and is so free in real life and her work. For me, it’s about where you are in your evolution. I appreciate that when people watch a few of the episodes, they notice the criticism of the anti-Blackness that is prevalent in the Arab community, and I love that the Sheikh is Black, because sometimes it feels — well, a lot of times it feels like Arabs feel almost an authority over the religion because the Quran is in Arabic.

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