Marie-Lou Nahhas

Photography: Mohamad Al Rifai

Words: Owen James Vincent

From playing Shani in the the Netflix hit TV show, 'Orange is the New Black' we got to chat to Marie-Lou Nahhas about her role on the show, how important her storyline was and she tells us a sneak peek about her upcoming projects.

Hey Marie-Lou! Have you learnt anything from this crazy time we're in?

I learnt to always appreciate the moments. It wasn't really something that is always in my consciousness to really appreciate each beautiful moment in life. 

How was it playing a character that was an activist woman in this society that is Middle-Eastern for a Western television?

Shani is an illegal immigrant in the USA. She fled from Egypt because honour killing as her parents discovered her sexuality. So this by itself a touching subject in the LGBTQIA+ community worldwide and that's why I want to touch on that. It's a story that happens in different households, in different ways and within different scenarios. So then the fact that she fled to find liberty and freedom but also she was facing the system that doesn't always want us to succeed as a minority, we can see the struggles in the detention centre in detail and after she found love and also a friend that she could share with and this was my favourite part of the story because with her conversations with Nikki we can see her as a person but also see her culture of the beauty where she's from. We can see the point of the these two connections that have different cultures that can be very different but are not because they connect with each other on a personal level. 

Do you still stay in touch with any of the cast members?

No not really.

If there was any character you could portray who would it be and why?

Ooh! I have so many characters in mind but if I think of one right now...It would be Queen Elissar.

Have you got any upcoming projects you can tell your readers?

Yes, I am in process of building a production house where my sister is one of the creators and we are working on multiple projects at once; a few in fashion, film and TV shows.

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