Meet The Egyptians Making Waves in the West

January 19, 2020

Egyptian actor Rami Malek wins oscar for Bohemian Rhapsody

Image: Egyptian Actor Rami Malek wins the Oscar for Best Actor for his role playing Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody

Quick, name a famous Egyptian that hasn't been dead for 3,000 years!

Stumped? What if we told you that Egyptians are behind some of today's biggest moments in sports, Hollywood, journalism, and fashion?

Fear not, it's pretty common to draw a blank when searching the back of your brain for popular Middle Eastern personalities. A community most famous for their ancient past, modern Egyptians are paving new roads for themselves in all sorts of industries, particularly in the western world where Arabs haven't exactly thrived.

The last couple of years have been big and soon enough, your Google search of Egypt will toss you a few more gems than the pyramids and hummus.


The Athlete: Mohamed Salah

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Featured on the cover of 2019's Time Magazine's 100 most influential people with commentary by news comedian John Oliver, soccer superstar Mo Salah is a phenomenal athlete, philanthropist, and overall good guy you'd love to be friends with. Lead scorer for England's Liverpool Club, he's trailed by an insane number of awards and championship titles in his wake. So much so, that his football-obsessed fans created songs about.... being Muslim? No joke, picture a stadium full of Brits joyously chanting:

"If he scores another few, then I’ll be Muslim too, 

If he’s good enough for you, he’s good enough for me, 

Sitting in the mosque, that’s where I wanna be!

Mo Salah-la-la-la, la-la-la-la-la-la-la" 


The Fashion Designer(s): Aya and Mounaz Abdelraouf 


Imagine pouring your heart and soul into your biggest passion. Then imagine Beyoncé sharing your work with her 100 million + followers on Instagram. For luxury handbag designers Aya and Mounaz, that crazy dream became their insane reality. Since Queen B's fashionable stamp of approval, the duo's brand Okhtein (which means sisters in Arabic) has been labeled as one of Egypt's most successful high-end brands to reach the western market. Their most popular items hang off the shoulders and hips of fashion-savvy celebs like Emma Watson and Gigi Hadid.

The Actor: Rami Malek 

Rami Malek with Emmy Award
That voice. That swagger. Before Rami Malek's Oscar win for his stunning portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, he was known as Elliot Alderson in Mr. Robot, earning him several acting awards, including an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor. One of the very few Egyptian actors to land a leading role in Hollywood, he's a favorite among today's critics and directors. You can catch Malek next as the latest villain in the Bond franchise's 37th installment opposite Daniel Craig. Bravo Rami! You might not be a doctor, but I'm sure your mom is still proud #childrenofimmigrantsproblems


The Activist: Mona Eltahawy


When you write a book titled "Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution", you're going to turn a few heads. Outspoken feminist and advocate for women's rights (especially within her own Muslim community), Mona is a regular columnist for publications like the New York Times, Washington Post, and NBC Think, offering scintillating and unapologetic pieces on social issues and gender equality. With multiple prestigious awards from the journalism community under her belt, Mona is a much needed voice for today's women and underrepresented minorities.


The Comedian: Ramy Youssef


Hot off of a Golden Globe win for Best Actor, Ramy Youssef is getting his fair share of attention after edging out competing actors like Bill Hader and Paul Rudd. His namesake comedy series launched on Hulu in early in 2019, followed by his standup special on HBO, where in both places, he shares the honest, hilarious truths of growing up Egyptian American. He might be fasting for Ramadan, but he's also crushing on the girl who got him in his feelings after a casual one night stand. Maybe it's the weed. Or maybe it's God. Either way, Ramy's got something to say, and we're all ears.


The Stylist: Mikiel Benyamin

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Happy birthday to someone who not only changed my life once in 2017 when it was all downhill for me, no but someone that continues to change my life everyday. Someone who’s taught me so much about life and work by just watching her work ethic everyday. Someone who not only do I get to call my client..... but MY FRIEND. Someone who doesn’t know how much she’s changed the lives of everyone around her for the better.... everyone around her. i love you @bellathorne thank you for being in my life and being authentically you everyday. I love you for never changing, never conforming and being the kind person that you are every single day through good and bad...... i love you libra sister 💕 Here is us back in 2017 during fashion week

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Immigrating to the US from Egypt at age 11, Mikiel Benyamin is now the wildly successful stylist behind the looks of Cardi B (his major debut being the creative force behind Bodak Yellow), Lady Gaga, Bella Thorne, Sza and Keke Palmer. Pretty impressive clientele for the 25-year-old New Yorker. Starting in fashion at 17, Mikiel worked unpaid internships for years, learning his craft and refining his streetwear-meets-couture aesthetic along the way. His style may be one of a kind, but he draws much of his inspiration from his love of his homeland


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