WHO: MIRAL NIAZI
WHAT: ACTRESS| FILMMAKER
“Yes, I am like any other Arab woman in this part of the world.
“I come from a divorced family and a very strict society. It was a difficult time to grow up. It was a time when children were forced to follow the dreams set by their parents and to focus on jobs that pay the bills. My father asked me when I was 13 years old, “What do you want to be when you grow up”? I said immediately with no hesitation, “I want to direct movies.” His reaction was ‘Oh Lord, my daughter is in danger!’ I don’t blame him because that was misconception that society had of the film industry at that time. It was especially true if you were a woman. There just didn’t seem to be a future for you in film, except if you were in Hollywood.
“I was a rebel ever since then, never accepting what society dictated. I remember always thinking, ‘Why did God not create me as a boy so I could do whatever I want and go where ever I want?’ I never stopped dreaming.
“I inherited my artistic side from my mother – she is an artist. I began painting on every surface I saw: drawing characters from cartoons and movies. I wrote stories and comic books and I was told by my music teacher that I had singing ability.
FINDING MYSELF IN FILM
“I did jobs that I never loved just to please my family. But I also felt lost for many years. I worked in marketing and business development, but I was not happy. I wanted to be proud of myself instead of pleasing others and I never gave up despite all the rejections I encountered. Then one day I got my first chance to work in a film production as a crew member. This led to several successive projects that helped build my experience in production. God had heard my prayers. I got a gig in theatre and got approached for film work and TV commercials
“Getting into acting as an Arab woman is not easy. I strongly believe I can reach my goal internationally, while still holding on to my principles and my traditions. My slogan in life is ‘dream, believe and act’.
“I have just started a VLOG with a fellow actor. I strongly believe it will be a hit and that it will give us international exposure. My dream is to make it in Hollywood. And dreaming is the first step to reality.”