Everyone in Kuwait and the Gulf knows Haya Abdulsalam. She is a young artist who made a different way for herself from the others and made her marquee bright in the world of Kuwaiti and Gulf drama. But there are a lot of facts that people do not know about Haya. That’s why we had a long chat with her about her career and life.
Did you always want to be an actor?
No one in my family expected this future for me and in particular this profession, including myself. I was so shy in school; I never raised my hand even when I knew the answer! My greatest fear was people. I preferred to play with my friends at school and hated studying. My mom always wondered what I would do in the future and whether I would succeed. This domain, of course, was beyond imagination for her.
Quote: I was so shy in school; I never raised my hand even when I knew the answer!
What was the turning point in your life?
Perhaps the turning point was in high school when I had a very short hair cut, which caused a fuss in school. I went from being a very ordinary student to a famous girl. This was my first encounter with fame! And from that time I’ve been addicted to “influencing” people.
Quote: My first encounter with fame was because of a very short haircut in high school.
After high school, where did fate lead you?
I went to the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts. I wanted to study interior design but my grades did not allow me. My family convinced me to study acting just to get a degree that would qualify me to get a job at the Ministry of Information or its affiliated institutions. At first I did not like the idea at all, but I was convinced by my family’s opinion. In the first week I was shocked when I found myself on stage and so stayed home for two weeks. But my friends’ calls and my parent’s encouragement pushed me to go back and work hard to get a certificate.
Did you like acting during school?
Not at all. I hated it more and focused on directing. I found out that I love creating a story. During the four years of studying I did not pay any attention to acting. In spite of all this carelessness, I received an award for Best Promising Actress at Al- Kharafi Festival for a role I enacted as part of my course.
When did you start acting?
After graduation I got a secretarial job at Al Khaleej Institution for Joint Programs, and also a second job as an assistant on a series with the outstanding director Mohammed Daham al-Shammari. My job was very simple: to help carry lighting equipment and rolled wires. I was working at the institution till 2 pm and then I would go to the location and work till midnight. It was so tiring, I even thought about quitting my second job. But something made me go back, though I did not figure it out back then.
What was this motive?
It was my love for directing. My job was an opportunity to learn from the best director Mr. Daham. I observed his steps very carefully; everything from successfully managing a filming site to actually directing a classy series. My love for directing prompted me to return to that location until the filming was finished.
Quote: I started as a worker. I carried lighting equipment and rolled wires. That’s why I know about every little thing on set now.
What did this mean to you, despite the difficulty in achieving it?
He gave me great confidence in myself. I learned that I can accomplish anything I wanted if I focused. When I complained to the director, he told me that women have the ability to do multitask, unlike men who need full concentration to accomplish a single action. So I knew that I could do all that I wanted.
Quote: Being Influential is the ultimate language of art. If I have made even the slightest impact in your life, that means I am an artist.
What was your first series?
It was “Oum Al-Banat” with the brilliant Suad Abdullah and a large group of colleagues. I loved the story and liked working with Shjoon, Buthaina, Malak, Fatima, and Shouq. The series was a great success and introduced me to people.
But you did not get involved in any similar series after “Oum Al-Banat”?
True, my next series was “Saher Al-Lail” which tells the story of Kuwait during the Iraqi invasion. After “Oum Al-Banat”, I got offers to participate in similar series but. I refused them for a strange feeling; I did not know what it was back then. But after a while I knew that my instincts led me to my desire of creating a special career line away from collective leagues. The idea of “Saher Al-Lail” was beautiful and different; it was a risk that might distinguish me from the others or bring me back to the start.
Quote: I made a decision that changed my career forever! If you asked me back then on what basis I made it, I wouldn’t know!
But “Saher Al-Lail” was a great success…
Yes, thank God. The three parts in the series were a great success, which made me more confident in my instincts while making decisions. I knew that my fate was to have an individual acting journey and to rely on myself rather than on relying on collective series that would invariably succeed due to the large number of talented actresses participating in it. I was and am still in love with the hard way because it is an adventure.
Tell us about your last achievement “Lel Hob Kalema” which you’ve directed and starred in?
Yes, I am proud of this series. I consider it a turning point in my life. Perhaps, I feel this way because the role gave me the freedom to be creative. I had a daring hair style. my character was strong and thought, believed and said what girls thought about at night.
Your partner in this series was Foad Ali. There are rumors that you have a romantic relationship with him. Is that true?
(Smiles) No. In fact, we are friends and we make a good team. Foad understands me and completes me at work as there is a strong chemistry between us.
Do you think that friendship can turn into love one day?
I will speak in general and not about Foad and Haya. I think the most beautiful love stories begin with friendship. Friendship enables us to know each other without the pressures and obligations of a romantic relationship. I know a lot of friends who started their relationship as friends and they fell in love and got married. On the other hand, I know a friend who loved someone who considered him just a friend and he did not reveal his feelings until she was married to someone else. I think that if you love someone, you should tell t hem before it is too late.
Quote: Foad is a friend… a very good friend!
Do you think of getting married one day?
Of course, every woman thinks about marriage and having children. I believe that man completes a woman but he is not her whole life. I have a wonderful family that encourages me in everything that I do; also I have a wonderful job and future, the love of people and their appreciation and respect. My life is full and if the right man comes who will develop and respect this life, I will marry him for sure.
How many children do you want in the future?
Maybe two, I think it’s enough and I want them to be friends. We are five in my family: my older brother and I, then came my sister Lolo and two other brothers. When I asked my mother if she had planned on having five kids, she told me that she wanted only two, but that my father insisted on more.
Do any of your siblings want to be actors?
I don’t think so. Lulu sometimes talks about the subject, but she changes her mind quickly. I think she wants to be a director. My little brother worked as a model but did not stick on in this field. My family is very understanding and encourages us to do whatever we want to do, so we have the freedom to choose.
Quote: I still can’t fathom why a woman would kill herself for a man!
What is the next series you will be part of?
I have two series next Ramadan. Currently I’m filming one of them and the second will be an adventure for me. The script is different from everything I’ve read before. It combines realism and fantasy. I’m really excited to present this series.
How do you deal with fame?
I believe in my fans and their ability to the turn my life upside down. Without them I would not be a star and my work would have no value. I admire and love my fans.
You are 31 years old, but you look like you are only in your twenties. What is your secret?
The secret of my youth is natural oils. I do not use moisturizing creams, but I use natural oils such as almond, coconut, and argan which I apply on my body and hair. The best is a combination of vitamin E and natural almond oil. I mix them in a bottle and leave it in the bathroom. Just before I finish my shower, I put it on and then wash the excess. My skin has become softer and younger.
Do you love fashion?
Of course, even though I do not like shopping. My mother shops for me and buys me everything I wear. I love her taste and she knows my style. My favorite brand for clothes or dresses is Dolce & Gabbana because it is colorful and full of prints. I adore Chanel bags. I am also addicted to buying shoes.
Quote: I love to lose myself in the hidden roads of London.