Is there anything this woman can't do? Eihab Boraie heads out to Ras Sudr with Quiksilver and the MO4 Fashion team to meet the unstoppable Amina Khalil and find out how the actress is balancing her profession with her love of kitesurfing.
At the beautifully secluded Kite Loop beach resort, sky dotted with neon coloured kites, helping surfer dudes and dudettes flip, turn and soar in their equally vibrant Quiksilver and Roxy gear, a familiar face stands out from the dazzling sea. Raking my brain as I watch her skip across the water, reaching dizzying height by harnessing Mother Nature’s breath, it dawned on me… This kick ass kiter is none other than Egyptian actress Amina Khalil. As we settle on the golden sand, she gives me insight into her personal journey to becoming an actress, transitioning into an avid kite surfer and her ambitious plans to have both her worlds collide.
Throughout Ramadan, Amina Khalil was seen gracing the TVs of a food comatose nation in Ramadan TV series Esteefa. Egyptians will surely remember the established actress for her various roles on both television and the big screen, but what they don’t know of the multi-talented Khalil is that she lives a double life and we’re not just talking about the alter egos she manages to embody with every role she plays. When she isn’t in front of the camera, the trendsetter is almost always on a beach feeding off the adrenalin- pumping, sky-kissing sport that is kite surfing. “I have always been interested in surfing ever since I was a kid. I tried surfing when I was in California and I always wanted to explore all different kind of water sports, but growing up my time was focused on singing until I was17 and then I started acting,” reminisces Khalil, playing with her sun-bleached hair. Choosing to focus on acting as a profession, Khalil continued her theatre studies in various countries honing her talents both on and off the stage. “I used to do a lot of theatre and then I sold my soul to the commercial industry of filmmaking! I find it very hard to do theatre now because I don’t have the time to rehearse, but when I am able to take some time off from filmmaking and TV shows – and when it’s not kite surfing season – I definitely want to go back to the stage,” she says excitedly.
Despite the differences between the disciplines Khalil manages to find a way to draw a comparison between theatre and kite surfing, explaining that “both are similar in the sense that there’s no stopping you. Like, the sky is the limit; you know there’s no ceiling so you just keep going. Just like you keep learning new tricks, you keep exploring new methods of acting.” Citing the building of stamina as a key ingredient in excelling in both kite surfing and acting, she also adds that falling is a key concern for anyone practicing either discipline – this is, after all, the actress who fell and smacked her head on stage one time, leaving a scar on her temple. “The fall in kite surfing has a lot of consequences but the same thing goes for live theatre! During filming we are lucky that we have the chance to say cut and repeat the take, but if we talk about theatre, you are on the stage in front of 200 people and you cannot mess it up. The crash may not be as physically painful but, psychologically, it hurts just as bad!” compares Khalil.
In order to master any skill, one needs passion, determination, and patience which is why Khalil points out that “my biggest kite surfing achievement is not quitting, because there’s so many moments when you say ‘that’s it, I can’t do this, it’s not working for me.’ But then every single step that you accomplish gives you more of push to keep going because it’s a very tough process. It really took a while for me to master the first few steps, which are getting on the board, cruising and going up wind and so on. But after learning those points progress came a lot quicker.” Starting her training two years ago, Khalil was instantly hooked to the extreme sport from her very first lesson. What was supposed to be a two day trip to take the beginners’ course, quickly ballooned into a month stay, as the determined actress wasn’t prepared to part from her new found love. “I couldn’t leave it. It was so addictive for me that I told my parents ‘I want you to come and see this place because this is where I’m going to stay!’” Just like they demonstrated their willingness to assist their daughters acting career, Khalil found her parents once again lending support, going so far to tag along and film her athleticism.
Having travelled to several kite surfing destinations in Egypt, Khalil tends to find herself coming back to Kite Loop at Ras Sudr to continue her development. With Ras Sudr being a lot closer to Cairo and a lot less busy than places like Gouna, Khalil can always rely on finding open space on the water and a variety of knowledgeable and friendly riders to help her advance. “I’m very lucky that I don’t have a 9-5 job which enables me to schedule my life to balance my passions. If I have two days of shooting in Cairo then I shoot and come directly back until my next shoot.” In just two years, Khalil’s routine has completely changed, and just as she’s poised to become an award-winning actress, the starlet believes that with enough perseverance she will get to the level needed to enter competitions.
In the meantime, Khalil is also busy attempting to find a way for her two worlds to meet. Within five years, Khalil hopes to be able to either be a professional kiter or be in a movie as a bad ass kite surfing woman in Egypt. Without going into too many details, the sparkly-eyed surfer mentions that she is working on script and is optimistic that both goals are in her immediate future.
It is rare for any actress to find success in film, TV, or theatre, and yet the gifted Khalil has managed to do all three. With that kind of determination it is only a matter of time before the name Amina Khalil becomes as synonymous with kite surfing as it is with acting, and hopefully along the way inspire others to follow her lead into the fastest growing extreme water sport, in one of the best countries to train in.
Shot on location at Kite Loop, Ras Sudr by MO4 Productions.
Styled by Gehad Abdalla
Photography by Emil Diephius & Aly Bahr
Clothes by Quiksilver & Roxy. Shop the shoot at Quiksilver stores at Citystars, Cairo Festival City or City Centre Maadi.