Porcelain Project

Actress Lara Sawalha escapes the art world of shaping figures in relief, to come back again with an unfolded conscious.

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(Picture: Black strapless dress with tulle details, pearl detailed 
necklace from Coast.)



She left town rather early in the making, from a village of ceramics and wonder, to a city of human-land and flesh, resonating in the fast life of time, future and age. And like a girl who was boarded from a village of hay and cows to a concrete jungle that thrives upon technology, cars and heels. Stunned by the city lifers, she adapts. Possessing a new phase of which she disconnects from her past living! The clay model settles for a different life than the one chosen for her, and choosing to contour her’s herself, fringing a heart made for love and serenity. Her ridges, indentations, and other markings formed by natural processes only adds to her uniqueness, a face that claims no wrinkles. But just like dust in the wind, brushing over her shoulders, time flew by, bringing a breeze filled with memories and reminiscence… Finding herself back home, follows upon her urges to reconnect, she finds herself lingering at where she was created, feeling the hollow, the old and the broken. And in the most frilly fashions, she exhibits her love amidst a long walk in the garden, led by the rays of sunlight that shines upon her fellow ceramics… My.Kali follows a tale in the making!

 

Photographs by Rafic. Worded and styled by Kali. Interview by Raya Khatib. Make-up: Nada Al-Agha. Hair: Mahmoud Karajogly. Fashion assistant: Razan Irshaid. Digital art work: Atef Daglees. Behind the scenes video: Ala’a Abu Qasheh and Mustafa Rashed. Special thanks to ‘Al Janaen al Mallaqa’, a ceramic, sculpting and landscaping place by King Abdullah St – Amman, for lending My.Kali the location.

 

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(Picture: Satin beige one should dress with ruffle details by Karen Millen)

 

 

    Lara Sawalha is representative of her generation in a surprising number of ways: She has a highly developed sense of irony, a late bloomer aspect, a promiscuous career ambition, and a close relationship with her family! The dainty, 20-year old something actress does not commute her subsequence, she remains a total original. Owning her position as a guest in ‘Bath Bayakha’; a Youtube/TV hit, of which many have fallen for her gypsy charms, along with her regular theatre appearances!

Having studied acting at Italia Conti Academy of theatre Arts drama school in London, getting a Bachelors degree in acting, Lara’s name is now on it’s way around the block! Her latest role in ‘Rest Upon The Wind’, a play-tour inspired by the life and times of Gibran Khalil Gibran, that celebrates the Arab sense of humor and family warmth through the relationship of Gibran and his sister Miryanna as they struggle to adapt to life in America, has brought her great claims of positive reviews. “A well paced, nicely written, funny at times and with just enough ‘effects’ to make it interesting without falling into the trap of trying too hard.” one blogger posted (Lebanese Writer Blog)

Born and raised between Britain and Jordan, her family tree is well endowed with entertainers. Her uncle, Nadim, is perhaps Jordan’s most well-known actor, whose daughter Julia Sawalha (Lara’s cousin), known as Saffron Monsoon in the British ab-fab sitcom comedy-hit Absolutely Fabulous, and let alone her father! Lara is the daughter of legendary actor Nabil Sawalha, Jordan’s veteran comedian, who made his name by poking fun at authority during countless theatre and television performances.

I first met Lara in mid August (2012) at (now closed) Cups & Kilos coffee shop on Rainbow St. Hearing so much about her, many pushed for her feature! There’s many things to anticipate and little to be intimidated by. Many of her peers referred to her to be “childish and the typical English Rose”, perfect for our innocent-portrayed character for both, her cover and feature shoot, on which raised few brows once hitting the online sphere and social media outlets! Hints of nudity, and hiding under all that hair, many called her bluff! Portraying both, the innocent Eve and the bad Eve. “Many won’t understand it, many will attack me for it. But I’m up for anything not typical, and all for creativity” she says as she sits up straight, perhaps recognizing an opportunity to sow a bit of mischief. Many of her friends were scared that she might be hurting her career with such choices, fearing that it might haunt her back one day. But her expose’ is far from anything grotesque, and more clear on the message of what she’s portraying. “We are Eve and Eve is always forbidden. Its the beauty of being a women. But sometimes its healthy to challenge the norm”. And that’s the thing, you just never see it coming with Lara! She doesn’t care whether it’s “true” or “false”, as there is more frisson – more zest, more fun – in the wondering.

And whether touring the globe with groundbreaking plays, or launching an online shop for vintage fashion, Lara Sawalha is meeting the future on her won widely inventive terms.

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(Picture, & opening picture: Black strapless dress with tulle details from
Coast. Silver snake double necklace, used as chocker by Henry's Handmade - 
Birute - found at Mlabbas (Jordan-Amman).

 

Lets talk harassment, you must’ve had your fair share of harassment in this town, what was the most encounter that resonated with you? Give us an example of a situation you went through (and felt violated) and what action did you take?
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To be honest I haven’t been physically harassed in this town.. people are much more gentle here than they are in the UK or US. I once had a guy call me continuously all hours of the day, now that is called harassment, and all I did was block his number, and report him to the telephone company. If you have this issue its very easy, simply go to the phone company and they will take the necessary action.

 

“Sexual harassment has been part of everyday life throughout the world, some people can control it and others can’t… However as a woman I feel safer in the Arab world than I do in the Western world.”

 

 

Do you think the Middle Eastern individual medias, pop singers and celebrities are focused too much on sex-selling?
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Definitely some female pop singers of today, who do depend on their sexuality to sell their art. You just have to look at a music video to see how the camera tends to angle itself on a female behind or the upper half of her torso. This is not the case with male pop singers.  Although some of these female singers are great artists too, and have achieved world-wide recognition, I feel the music industry, especially in the pop genre, has its fair share of discrimination against women.

However, within the Middle East region this is perhaps particularly so.  It is even more evident on satellite television channels that promote game shows for example. I believe that if the music is good enough it should sell itself without the need to resort to below-the-belt marketing. The Middle Eastern pop industry has become very commercial. It’s all about making a quick buck, as the saying goes. However there are many female musicians, actors and others, as well as male artists, who are trying to change the way people view the profession, which in itself will eventually impact the way they appear in the media. A book has just come out on this issue by Lebanese author, Joumana Haddad, ‘Superman is an Arab’ which talks about the ‘battle of the sexes’ .. it’s on my wish list!

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(Picture: Teal tulle dress by Coast. Brown leather belt with gold studs by 
Karen Millen)

 

Do you think it’s one of the factors of causing harassment? Considering a it’s sexually repressed region?
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It has a contributing effect, but sexual harassment has been part of everyday life throughout the world, some people can control it and others can’t. It is a problem for which there is no lasting solution. However as a woman I feel safer in the Arab world than I do in the Western world.

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So you feel safer in the Arab world more than you do in the west, why and how so?
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Because the Arab world is my home, I know its ins and outs, I know how the people work, I can see their next move, where as in the west people change very quickly and its harder to keep up.  I wouldn’t say I didn’t feel safe, I do, its just a more unstable life style than in the Arab world, that’s not to say I don’t love the fast pacing walk!!  However, in Jordan, especially Amman you can sit back relax and let things roll, which I also love doing.  I believe a mixture of two cultures keeps life a bit more exciting.

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(Picture: Satin beige one should dress with ruffle details by Karen Millen)

 

 

You have a blog,Laracid in Wonderland, which you post your casual encounters; poetry, pictures, stories and events you attended. In what way has the online platform helped you express yourself?
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I can post what I like, so that’s a way of expressing myself, I write how I feel without being judged, I tell stories of adventures I’ve been on and share it with who ever is interested.  But I would have done so in any case with family and friends if the blogosphere did not exist.

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Do you think the online life gives you much privacy these days or kills it? With people knowing what you’ve been up to on Facebook, where have you been doing through your blog and so on… Do you think the online presence has killed mystery and anonymity?
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No, because at the end of the day it’s your choice to put that information online, I don’t put my entire self online, I put what interests me and what journeys in life I’ve been on and things that I wish to share with the global community which can only lead to greater understanding and tolerance of other cultures, that doesn’t mean I’ve lost my mystery, I think it makes it more exciting, I find people’s lives and the paths they have taken quite interesting and I love knowing the unknown. The internet makes you want to meet more people because of the adventures, journeys, and experiences they post about. its all about sharing the love from person to the next.

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(Picture: Satin dress with gold-beaded details by Karen Millen.)

 

What is your favorite blog theme for a personal/professional blog?
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I think all blogs have a certain element that I like, I don’t have a favorite theme. Every blog I’ve ever come across has inspired me and given me ideas for my own, I believe the most interesting blogs have pictures, videos and articles that entice and bring the reader in, taking them on a blog adventure through the galaxy of the internet, filling them with useful facts, beautiful images, and entertaining videos. A blog is an expression of oneself, its like your meeting a new viral friend.

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(Picture: Satin beige one should dress with ruffle details by Karen Millen)

 

You’re preparing for an online shop (in collaboration with your friend – Sophie Elizabeth), tell us a little about it and your plans for it?What is your favorite blog theme for a personal/professional blog?
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We’re in the process of designing the website but we’re on Facebook.Topsy Loves Sid, is for all the vintage lovers out there.. like us. We started Topsy Loves Sid because we were fed up of paying ridiculous prices for vintages products. This online shop gave us the opportunity to sell vintage products at its true value or less. We want to see more vintage on the streets of Amman as we believe signature pieces bring out the uniqueness and diversity of the individual wearing it. It also looks pretty cool too. Seeing as both of us love to shop it’s the perfect excuse to spend hours looking for the perfect piece.

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As an actress, do you think people should share their deepest emotions, or should some feelings remain to one’s self only? How do you know what and when to share your feelings/emotions?
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No, then they would become too dramatic, i think you should keep your deepest emotions to yourself or your partner. I don’t want to know how you’re feeling all the time, it would drive any normal human being insane. When you’re on stage that’s a different story because you’re showing the character’s emotions, not your own. Its common knowledge to know when to show what, if I’m sad I may cry, if I’m happy I’ll smile, its not that difficult, as I am well trained.

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Acting can be tough, disoriented and could be lost in emotion on the longer run, with capturing and recapturing moments. In your opinion, which is more inspiring for you, theater or camera?
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Both. With theatre it’s in the moment and completely true, if you mess up you can’t cut and repeat, you have to go with whatever emotion or state you’re in and make the audience love you or hate you depending on the nature of the character you are portraying. It is my job as a professional to hold the audiences attention at all times, taking them on your journey from the beginning of the play till the end. With camera it’s finding that true emotion and making the people behind the lens believe you, it’s just like theatre but smaller, making them see your thoughts through your eyes.

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(Pictures above: Satin dress with gold-beaded details by Karen Millen.)

 


You’re preparing for an online shop (in collaboration with your friend – Sophie Elizabeth), tell us a little about it and your plans for it?
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We’re in the process of designing the website but we’re on Facebook. ‘Topsy Loves Sid’, is for all the vintage lovers out there.. like us. We started Topsy Loves Sid because we were fed up of paying ridiculous prices for vintages products. This online shop gave us the opportunity to sell vintage products at its true value or less. We want to see more vintage on the streets of Amman as we believe signature pieces bring out the uniqueness and diversity of the individual wearing it. It also looks pretty cool too. Seeing as both of us love to shop it’s the perfect excuse to spend hours looking for the perfect piece.

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(Picture: Black strapless dress with tulle details from Coast. Silver snake 
double necklace, used as chocker by Henry's Handmade - Birute - found at 
Mlabbas (Jordan-Amman). Beige pumps with flower details by Coast.)

 

What about photo shoots? (Like yours for My.Kali‘s), do you find any inspiration there?
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Photo shoots are fun and wild, and I always find inspiration in front of a camera, especially if you have a good photographer, because then you can play with the costume, your poses, your expressions endlessly. There’s no limit with a camera, the photographer snaps and you can do whatever you like. As the saying goes, a good picture speaks a thousand words.

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When do you think a woman knows when she’s in control? in power?
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When the man says “Yes dear”!

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Do you think the face of the Middle Eastern woman is changing? Claiming more power and more rights? Or is it remaining still?
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Yes. I believe with the recent Arab Spring its changing for the better as far as women’s rights are concerned. There is a greater awareness within society of the contributions of women in the work force and women’s own personal ambitions that have evolved into a progressive and forward thinking role.

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Many people in this town are afraid to spend time on their own, publicly speaking! Reading a book in a cafe, eating alone, or entering a restaurant by themselves… Do you think being on your own, or going out publicly alone is embarrassing?
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No, I definitely prefer eating with someone but being alone sometimes is a blessing whether in public or private.

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(Picture: Ripped black shirt by Burberry. Polismmide faux leather and tulle 
underlays by Alexander McQueen. Bottle-cap charm pins and Um Kolthoom ring 
by Ctrl+Z Jewelry (by Zinab Chahine), found at Mlabbas).

 

Do you think happiness is a selfish emotion?
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Of course not, its always a positive energy to see someone happy.

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How do you channel your anger? What do you usually do to release it?
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I don’t get angry that often so when I do I’ll let you know.

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(Picture: Ripped black shirt by Burberry. Polismmide faux leather and tulle 
underlays by Alexander McQueen. Suede black and brown heels by Karen Millen. 
Bottle-cap charm pin and Um Kolthoom ring by Ctrl+Z Jewelry (by Zinab Chahine), 
found at Mlabbas).

 

Many countries deny the existence of LGBT community, within their borders, which applies to a lot of Middle Eastern countries and the Arab world. What do you say about that?
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I think people don’t understand it yet, but the world is changing, and soon I hope people will start to see that we’re all the same at the end of the day, we just have different choices in life.

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What do you know about Jordan’s LGBT community and how do you feel about it?
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I love diversity in whatever town I’m in. Life, I believe, is more interesting when you are surrounded by different minded people, I’ve learnt a lot from my friends, whether they are straight or gay, we all have a lot to give and learn from one another.

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What do think the advantages that gay women have, straight women don’t? Or vice versa…
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No advantages, we’re both women and we both move on with life just as any human being would.

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Were you ever involved in any interesting workshops? (anything for LGBT?) Tell us about it….
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I haven’t done a workshop regarding LGBT but I have participated in Gay Pride in London. I was dressed as an air-hostess in a pink suite inviting people to the bathrooms [she laughs]!

 

The End

 

 

Watch behind the scenes of MyKali Magazine‘s outdoor shoot for actress Lara Sawalha

 

Watch behind the scenes of MyKali Magazine‘s cover shoot for actress Lara Sawalha

 

Cove original

– Be updated on Lara Sawalha’s works and updates through her official Facebook page (here)
– Watch behind the scenes of Lara’s out door shoot (here)
– Watch behind the scenes of Lara’s cover shoot (here)
– My.Kali’s official Facebook page (here)

 

 

 

 

 
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