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Egyptian Sweetheart: 7 of Mona Zaki’s Best Career Moments

Mona Zaki and Ahmed Helmy. Photography Amina Zaher

There’s a reason why Egyptian sweetheart Mona Zaki is considered one of the greatest stars of the Arab world. The actor, who was recently awarded the Faten Hamama Award for Excellence at the 42nd Cairo International Film Festival started her career at the age of 13, yet her confidence and strong work ethic saw her avoid the pitfalls often associated with child stars. Instead, her raw talent and onscreen charm rapidly saw her become a favorite in Arab cinema.

From rom-com roles in Taymour and Shafika to more dramatic characters in Keda Ok, Zaki is renowned for her theatrical range. But it’s not just on the big screen that she makes an impressive impact. Zaki is also known for her various contributions to national charity and advocacy campaigns, she is also Egypt’s Unicef ambassador raising awareness for issues, including FGM, and challenges facing children and young adults in Egypt.

As the actor celebrates her first Vogue Arabia cover, for the January 2021 issue, we look at some of Mona Zaki’s best career moments.

Proving her acting skills live on stage

One of Zaki’s earliest works saw the star featured in Keda Okay, a famous comedy play based on the power of money and its ability to transform people.

Addressing issues faced by Arab women through her movies

Like most of Zaki’s movies, her role in romantic comedy Taymour and Shafika (2007) revealed the challenges faced by a modern-day Arab woman – balancing her career and ambitions while surpassing her husband. The movie focuses on the love story between Shafika (Zaki), a member of the parliament, and her neighbor Taymour (Ahmad Al- Sakka), a private security guard for the senior state.

Winning the Murex D’Or award


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A post shared by Mona Zaki (@monazakiofficial)

In 2017, Zaki won the Best Actress award at the highly prestigious Murex D’Or award ceremony for her role in the 2016 Ramadan television series Afrah El Qoba.

Being appointed Unicef Ambassador


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A post shared by Mona Zaki (@monazakiofficial)

Zaki is as well-known for her various charity commitments as she is her work as an actor. So, it was no surprise that Unicef Egypt appointed Mona Zaki as a Unicef Ambassador in 2009.

Starring in her first Vogue Arabia shoot

Mona Zaki

Mona Zaki and Ahmed Helmy photographed by Stephanie Galea for the March, first-anniversary issue of Vogue Arabia.

In 2018, Zaki landed her first Vogue shoot in the first anniversary issue of Vogue Arabia, featuring alongside her husband, actor Ahmad Helmy. In the exclusive interview, Zaki discussed her connection with the media, unequal pay, and her relationship with Helmy.

Getting a star on the Dubai Stars Walk of Fame


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A post shared by Mona Zaki (@monazakiofficial)

In 2019, Mona Zaki was the first female Egyptian actor honored at the official opening of the Dubai Stars Walk of Fame in Downtown Dubai. She was chosen for being one of the leading stars in the Arab World and for her philanthropic work.

Receiving the Faten Hamama Award of Excellence, 2020

Mona Zaki accepts the Faten Hamama Award for Excellence. Photo: Instagram/ @cairofilms

Mona Zaki accepts the Faten Hamama Award for Excellence. Photo: Instagram/ @cairofilms

During the open ceremony of the Cairo International Film Festival, Zaki was granted the Faten Hamama Award for Excellence for leading an exceptional cinematic career. Mohamed Hefzy, the president of the festival, stated, “Mona Zaki is the quintessential star of her generation. With her daring and intelligent career choices, she has been able to achieve the difficult balance of both critical and commercial success.”

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