The Cover star this month is, for the first time, an Egyptian actor and singer. In a short time, he was able to make headlines in the Egyptian/ Arab media, and star in high end productions. His style and fashion have amazed the Egyptian community as he made an example of how progressive an Egyptian man can dress up. His art, whether as a singer or an actor represents the new age and young talents as he always presents “out of the box” ideas. He loves to be unique in every aspect. Victor Magazine had the opportunity to get close to Hassan Abou El Rouss during his participation in Al Alamein festival in the Egyptian north coast and also carried out the cover shoot for this month’s issue during his latest visit to Dubai. We thank Hassan for opening his heart to us and we are so thrilled to have him on our cover this month.
1. You are a multi-talented artist as you have released songs and acted in a number of cinematic and TV projects – how do you prefer to be categorized? singer or actor or simply artist – and why?
I get this question a lot and people used to ask me to decide either to be a singer or an actor. I don’t see that I have to identify as either as I like to identify myself as an ‘entertainer’ because I can do them both … I like to entertain people and I love the fact that people enjoy my presence and performance. While acting has become my core business, I find myself more when I am singing. In acting, I present another person’s identity based on the script while my work as a singer relates more to me personally as I sometimes compose the lyrics myself based on experiences I have been through so my work as a singer is more personal and more enjoyable to me.
2. Tell us more about your approach to fashion and styling as you definitely dress up in a unique way and always make stunning appearances in every event you attend?
Being fashionable is part of my lifestyle. I always like to look unique and different … Even when I was a kid, I used to wear my school uniform in a different style than my colleagues. I don’t usually shop for clothes from fast fashion outlets unless an item makes an outstanding statement. I like to wear art, not a product per se. I prefer to choose my outfits from design homes rather than retail outlets and my latest appearances and shoot dresses from the House of Victor is an example. I believe that clothes choose me not the other way around … when I see an outfit that would fit my identity, I can feel it calling for me rather than me looking for it … like a calling.
3. Is your current visit to Dubai the first? If not, how many times have you visited Dubai? And what do you think about the city?
Of course, not the first visit … maybe the twentieth as I have lost count out of how many times I have visited this magnificent city. In fact, I spent one year in Dubai when I used to work as a creative director for some agencies there and when I started my current career, I continued to visit. I love Dubai so much because it is a very artistic and diverse city. Dubai is very international wherein you feel that you are in the whole world and not just in one place … there are people from all around the world in Dubai so you get an immersive cultural experience. I would (as I believe everyone does) love to live in Dubai.
4. Who are your favourite fashion designers and why?
I love Balmain because its designs are out of the box and make me feel very unique. I also love Maison Farah Wali … she’s an Egyptian designer who started her career in Italy then came to Egypt and created her brand which identity is based on Egyptian culture and Pharaonic patterns. I remember she once made me a blazer styled with pearls from the red sea and designed in a pharaonic like look which was amazing. As for accessories of course Azza Fahmy is an outstanding brand relating and promoting Egyptian heritage and art.
5. How do you describe the progress in the cinema industry in Egypt? In your opinion, is it going in a positive direction or otherwise?
I think the Egyptian cinema industry is progressing in a positive direction. The calibres of the industry are getting better and better in every aspect also aided by progress in technology benefiting the production of motion pictures. The quality of Egyptian movies nowadays can participate and compete for Oscar academy awards or Cannes film festival and other renowned international film festivals. I believe the Egyptian cinema industry has a leading role in the region and I also see and value other Arab countries’ progress in this industry. I hope to see inter-Arab collaborative initiatives in the field of cinema production.
6. We have seen some very nice interactions between you and other stars in Rivo [Egyptian mini-series] on social media – tell us more about how this project has developed your relationship with other artists?
Rivo has been one of the most enjoyable projects I have ever participated in. I can comfortably say that we have become like family … The filming atmosphere allowed me to bring out the best artist inside me and I am really happy with this experience.
7. Who is your favourite singer and who is your favourite actor/actress?
I actually have several favourite singers like Stew May, Bruno Mars and of course Michael Jackson. From the Arab world, I love Abdul Halim Hafez, Sabah, Um Kulthoum. As for actors, I love Ahmed Zaki because he was brilliant at getting into character … Although he is the same actor in all of these roles, you cannot see him as the same person in presenting each of these characters. I have done the same thing in Rivo when I presented different (and even opposing) characters.
8. What is your advice to new young talents in acting?
In fact, I see myself as a young talent. I appreciate the question though as while I am content with the achievements that I have reached throughout my career so far, I like to believe that I still need and have to learn. My advice would be never give up and fight for your dream. Do not listen to negative advice and believe in what your heart tells you.
9. Tell the readers a situation that you have experienced behind the scenes that has impacted you and affected your career.
Yes – the first time I had a scene with the iconic actress Yousra was in the TV series Rose & Layla. I was so scared and kind of shaken because Yousra is not just an iconic actress, she is the face of Egypt. I was thinking about the scene and memorising the lines when I found Yousra coming towards me, took me, sat down and started chatting so casually … nothing in that conversation was about the scene but she actually broke the ice and made me feel comfortable … I appreciate that she knew I could be feeling a bit scared, and I love the fact that she was so thoughtful to do something to ease the situation. The scene was a success.