Dalida Khalil is a self-made entertainer who’s always ready to seize any opportunity that comes to her. Despite coming from humble beginnings, Khalil’s hard work and perseverance transformed her into one of Lebanon’s and the Arab world’s biggest stars. Her latest show “Ser” (Secret) is a display of her acting talents, however Khalil is not only dedicated to her artistry. Recently, she voiced her support for Lebanon’s revolution and called for the ouster of the corrupt regime. However, now, like most people in Lebanon, she’s living in quarantine at home due to coronavirus pandemic. Majalla recently sat down with Khalil who she spoke to us about the opportunities and troubles that life threw at her. So also discussed her love life and her patriotism for Lebanon.
Q: How would you describe your daily life in quarantine?
A: I spend my days at home with my mother, sisters and friends. We formed a “girls’ club” where we find ways to have fun, we also cook together and try to look at the positives that this quarantine has to offer. Our family is just like any other; we’ve united and started looking out for each other. This hasn’t happened in a long time since modern life forced us as individuals to only focus on our own personal troubles and responsibilities. Moreover, one positive that has come out of everyone staying at home is the decrease in global pollution. I personally think that this is an important first step in improving the negative aspects of life on the outside, whether it’s the negative energy, pollution or hatred.
Q: Your role in “Ser” is vastly different from the ones you previously played, what has this show added to your career?
A: This show helped me reach my potential as a well-rounded actress. “Ser” reminds me of the success I achieved when I first started my acting journey with the show “Helwa W Kazaba” (She’s a Beautiful Liar). I was really young then, but the show helped me garner popularity with mass audiences. Now for the first time since that show, I have gained the same success and fame with “Ser”. Now many people are recommending the show to their friends, I get letters from fans all around the world praising me for my performances and the fanfare this show has been attracting on social media has been incredible. “Ser” has been the number one trending show on twitter throughout the region and it has also become one of the most viewed shows on the online streaming service “Shahed”.
Q: Do you consider “Ser” to be the big break of your acting career?
A: “Ser” wasn’t the first big show I acted in, I consider “Amir El Liel” (The Prince of Night) to be my first opportunity to jump start my career, especially since it starred major actors such as Rami Aiash. However, I was only 25 when I starred in that show, and I did have the maturity I have today. A lot of my views have changed since then, and many life events helped me grow as a person and even as an actress. Acting is more than just talent it is experience and perseverance and performing diverse roles is what helps an actress mature. After “Ser” I plan on taking a break for a year or two until I find another role that will again showcase my acting skills.
Q: How has acting with Bassam Kousa in “Ser” impacted your career?
A: Bassam Kousa is like a school of acting, and even though the scenes we shared together was few and far between working with him helped bring out my best acting skills.
Q: Will you be starring in any Ramadan series this year?
A: No, I’m taking a break.
Q: Do you feel that you underperformed in any of your previous roles?
A: There were roles in which I didn’t put all my heart into, and that is because I didn’t like them. I blame myself for that since my work is my responsibility and I should never have picked roles I wasn’t happy with. I can be hasty with my choices sometimes, and that hastiness has impacted my career. There was many times where I hastily agreed to roles just so I could prove my acting capabilities. I think “Ser” came to me at the perfect time, as I had nothing to prove at that point.
Q: Do your roles reflect on your daily life and behaviour?
A: I distinguish between my real life personality and that of my characters that I perform. I do admit, though, that I have learned from my performances because the characters I played went through situations that I never experienced in my life. This was especially true when my characters I played were subjugated to violence, these past four months of playing “Talin” taught me that I need to be stronger smarter person who pays attention to the finer details of life.
Q: Does competition in the entertainment industry foster rivalry in your opinion?
A: I admit that feelings of jealousy have plagued me through my professional career. Although these feelings have subsided, I still feel jealous when a role I wanted goes to another person, or when producers and audiences pay attention to untalented actors.
Q: What TV or movie role did you want for yourself?
A: I would have loved Miriam Fares’s role in “Etaham” (Accusation), I adore these kinds of roles.
Q: Would you have loved to co-star with “Eteham’s” leading man Hassan El Radad?
A: Without a doubt!
Q: You were present when Nadine Nasseeb Najem and Serene Abd El Nour put aside their differences and ended their feud. Have the feuds between Lebanese actresses really subsided, or will they return once the next Ramadan TV season comes about?
A: In my opinion, feuds never originate from actors and actresses, rather it’s the fans that create fake drama and the artists are then forced to live with said drama. I, myself, am friends with both women and have nothing but love and respect for both of them. Never in my life do I wish for any feuds to arise between us.
Q: Do you consider yourself a traditional or modern woman?
A: I’m a mixed bag, although I consider myself a traditional woman, I highly respect independent women who rely on themselves rather than on their husbands. I have a strong personality but I have my limits. I make sure that my voice is heard at home, and I’m happy with the decisions I made for my life. I also do not allow anyone to force his or her views on me.
Q: Most people have many worries in their lives, what worries you most?
A: I became responsible for my household after my father died, as such became the head of my household. This is why I am determined to remain a workingwoman.
Q: The people of Lebanon have recently flooded the streets calling for revolution, what are your opinions on this?
A: I share all the concerns and dreams that every Lebanese citizen has. Many people in this country lack the basic necessities of life such as running water, electricity, and infrastructure and job opportunities. Ever since the civil war, many Lebanese citizens have dreamt of migrating to another country, which would provide them with these needs. I was seriously considering migrating myself before the coronavirus crisis.
Q: Do you feel that you have the responsibility of providing charitable aid to Lebanese citizens in need?
A: Charity is one of the secrets to happiness, as it provides people with peace of mind. I love giving to charity, even if I don’t make a public display of it.
Q: Have you ever thought about settling down?
A: I will think about settling down once both the current coronavirus crisis and economic crisis end. I have given it serious thought since I want to have kids and a family of my own.
Q: Do you want a relationship with a prudent man or a romantic man?
A: I like a man who’s fun, kind, cultured and I also like men who loves and respects his family because family is something I couldn’t live without. I don’t mind if he’s not romantic because I feel that I am romantic enough to make the relationship spark.
Q: Do you have any upcoming musical projects?
A: I was supposed to star in a new music video, but the project had to be delayed once the coronavirus hit Lebanon. I hope that the crisis ends as soon as possible so that we can go back to work and live life normally again. I only ask that we hold on to faith and patience and that the authorities are transparent with the number of cases we have.
Q: What about your future acting roles?
A: I still haven’t found a serious role that suits me, and many production companies have temporarily stopped their projects due to the coronavirus. Moreover, it’s too late now to participate in the annual Ramadan season in light of the severe situation the country is going through.