Lebanese Actress Cynthia Khalifeh Tells It Like It Is
Moataz Soliman ©
The first time I met the Lebanese actor and producer Cynthia Khalifeh was on a public beach in her hometown Batroun. Introduced by mutual friends, I am immediately charmed by her smile and infectious laughter and ask her
“Cynthia, what do you do in life?” Little did I know just how famous she was until our paths crossed again at a student contest which she graciously accepted to be part of the jury… But, when I ask her what it feels like to be famous, she modestly shrugs off her achievements and admits to being more comfortable chilling at home with her family than shining on the red carpet.
Cynthia marked her acting debut at the tender age of 11 playing a supporting role in a sitcom; she then went on to appear in numerous productions, including Ruby and Jouzour, Duo el Gharam, Ahmad w Christina, 10 Abid Sghar, Abtal w Haramiyye, Bilahza and feature films Papparazzi, Max & Antar, Single Married Divorced, and Zafafian.
Luckily, we caught up with her before pandemic broke out and she told us all about her eventful upbringing and her current plans. Click through our interview with the Lebanese star.
Cynthia, what is it like being in the spotlight at such a young age?
I still didn’t come to terms with how it might have affected me on the psychological level, but what I am sure of is that I didn’t have the same teenage years as everyone else my age. This includes no university campus life and the inability to maintain old friendships as I am always travelling and moving around. But, thank God I have parents who knew exactly how to keep me grounded and remind me who I am and where I come from. And they taught me to never loose modesty and integrity.
While busy working you still managed to take a filmmaking degree at IESAV-USJ (Institut d'Etudes Scénétiques, Audio-Visuelles et Cinématographiques). Why is Higher Education so important to you?
Education is knowledge and discipline - two things that are very hard to learn, to flourish and maintain on your own. I took all the exams and the punishments that came along, haha!
What are you currently working on?
I am working on a very interesting role set in the 17th century. It’s a fantasy fiction and it will be broadcast via the online platform View Clip. I am also developing two different international projects. And, I am designing my new brand.
Why do you think you became such a huge influencer? How many followers do you have by the way?
I have around 625,000 followers on Instagram. TV and cinema exposure definitely helped a lot. Actually, I am still wondering if I am a good influencer and if I am worthy of that following. I always try my best … and I always feel like I need to do and give more.
As an influencer do you feel the pressure to be a role model for other women?
Yes, big time. I constantly feel the need to be perfect. But I am a human, and sometimes we go through phases where our self-image is distorted, and we secretly ask ourselves questions: if we are doing the right thing, if we are on the good track….
And, this is where it gets really hard. Because, social media turned us into daily influencers. We can't take a break or disappear. So, it does put me in a very awkward situation - between me and myself.
Which women have inspired your career path?
My mom, her perseverance, strength and patience – she never gives up.
Nadine Labaki too, we’re born on the same day and we both went to the same university. I hope to be representing Lebanon like her one day!
So, what would a perfect day in the life of Cynthia Khalifeh look like?
Beach, sun, music, loved ones and dogs!
And finally, what’s on your agenda for the rest of the year and beyond?
The challenge is huge as I am starting abroad from zero, after losing everything I have built in my own country. I want my country to stand back on its feet. I want all the Lebanese to come back… And I have a big responsibility in making this happen!