Tehran, IRAN - Actress
Interview made by Cyril Bruyelle in November 2017
Ghazal is a young 22-year-old Iranian actress. She’s passionate and dreams one day of becoming a great actress. I met her in a cafe in Tehran where for the first time in Iran I saw a woman with the veil completely fallen. Many women told me how annoying it was to wear this constrained accessory, but none dared to take it off. "Don’t worry", she told me when she saw me looking at her a both surprised and worried. I knew what reprisals she was exposing herself to. She then asked me a lot about drama schools in France and Europe, and how to get there. As you’ll see, she’s a very determined person. Hope to see her soon on our screens!
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
When I was a kid, my mom wanted me to become a doctor. That's why I always wished to be a doctor too. A gynaecologist. Well, I liked acting very much too but my family wasn't really supportive of that. They always wanted me to be a doctor, or an engineer, but being a doctor was more important. They used to tell me that being a doctor is in your blood. But when I grew up, I realized that that's not what I wanted so I decided to follow my dreams.
With whom would you like to have a coffee?
Al Pacino I guess, because he is one of my idols and he's a great actor. I'd like to hear about his life, his experiences, and talk to him.
If you could choose something that could be taught in every school in the world, what would it be?
What we, unfortunately, don't teach our kids in Iran is to follow their dreams, what they want, what they're excellent in. We just force our children to study, but we don't teach them how to live, we don't teach our children the proper way of living. If I ever have a child, I'll teach her to find what she's good at, to be happy. We only live once, and being happy is what life is about, we should find a way to be happy. And I really like to tell children, or anyone I meet, to follow their dreams, to do what they like.
To you, what’s that main characteristic that all human being have in common?
Some sad incident happened to me, I lost my cousin two days ago, and she was like a sister to me. Her mother wasn't feeling well at all and my cousin died in Germany. It would take 10 days to bring her body back to Iran, and we decided not to tell her mother what happened before they brought her back, because if she finds out she would suffer in pain waiting for her to be brought back and buried after 10 days, but sadly my aunt found out on the very first day. I was giving her some water, I was taking care of her, she refused to believe what had happened at first. And at the same time, she was telling me that she had to take her pills in half an hour. I was thinking she just lost her daughter, it's a great sorrow and she's still concerned about her own health, she's thinking she has to take her pills, she has the will to live.
The human kind has the will to live, to be immortal. Everyone would do things to become immortal. An artist makes art to become immortal, so that after a hundred years when he's dead, he would be remembered. In my opinion, everyone has the will to live and to be immortal.
To you, who is the happiest person on earth?
I think no one is completely happy, it all goes back to how well we pretend; everyone thinks that I'm very happy and joyful, but in reality it isn't so. The happiest person I know is me because I know how to pretend well. Nobody is always happy. But if I am to name somebody else, I would say my Dad, because he's the nicest person I know.
If you were President of the US, what would your first reform be?
First of all, I would enhance relations with Iran, because the poor relations has been very troublesome to us, there have been many sanctions. Iranian people have suffered, including my father, who runs a business. People had to deal with the sanctions and the increase in costs in Iran, and all the harm that was caused. Many went bankrupt and out of business. The first thing I would do, because I'm an Iranian after all is enhance relations with Iran.
What would you do if we gave you 1 million dollars now?
I would spend half of it on charity, on child labour in Iran, because it really hurts to see children as young as 4 or 5 years old, street vending, selling flowers or other things. And the other half I would use to travel and have fun.
Which innovation, realistic or not, would greatly ease your day-to-day life?
I would definitely invent something that would help people teleport, for when you miss someone, even if they're all the way across the world, you could go to them in a second, hug them and then come back.
What’s the news that affects you the most in your country these days?
The very catastrophic thing that happened in my country this year, was the fire in Plasco building, which caused the building to collapse while the fire fighters were still inside, extinguishing fire. I knew one of those fire fighters, there was only one day…or one month left before he could retire. I knew that he had a 4 or 5 years old daughter. I was devastated when I heard that he had been trapped under rubble and killed.
Do you think your life is easier or more complicated than the life of your parents?
Well, my life is way more complicated than my parents’ because they were born at a time that, at least in my country, things were easier. In my mom's time, girls used to get married and have their own family earlier in life. And men used to go to work and support their family. But now when I look into myself, or my friends’ lives, I realize that life isn't just about getting married, having babies, and dying in the end. Life is about pursuing what you want, your dreams and to leave something behind after you die, to add something to this world.
If you had to create a company, what would it be?
If I could start a company... Well, not a company but I would start some courses to educate people on how to live a better life, how to reach their goals, how to be happy, how to be good parents, good children, and these things.
Can you draw something beautiful?
It's a vase with roses in it, some of them have fallen down. I learned how to draw this when I was in secondary school, my art teacher taught me this. Whenever I'm bored and I feel like sketching, I always draw this and I don't know why. But I always draw a vase with roses in it.
What are you afraid of?
Death. I fear death, I fear the death of my family members, especially my dad. Whenever I think about it, my eyes fill with tears, which isn't okay at all, me fearing the death of my family members so much. But it's subconscious and I can't help it. I fear my own death too, very much. I fear dying at a time when I still haven't reached my dreams and have unfinished work to do.
Close your eyes, you are in 2100, what do you see?
Everything is more advanced now, but as we go on and humans interact less and less, I think less love can be seen in the next hundred or thousand years. And everything is robotic, like now, but even more. Everyone's on their phones or many other things. There is very little human interaction, friendships don't mean much, aunts, uncles, you'll see less of these things and people are lonelier, I would say.
What is the most beautiful thing that you’ve seen in your life?
When I leaped off the highest Bungee jump in the world, I saw the river and the green valley beneath from a different angle, which was very beautiful, because I was upside down. This could be one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
What does religion mean to you?
Well, I was born in a country with many religious people and some fanatics. Much of these religious ideas have been imposed on us since childhood, we've been told that this is the most complete religion and you are not allowed to convert to another religion or you'll be executed. In my opinion they have killed the curiosity in us, we aren't encouraged to investigate our religion. Personally, as a young girl who is a Muslim, I haven't investigated my religion that much. But as I travelled and met people from different religions, I realized that, in general, religion is meaningless and absurd. There's only one religion and that's humanity. We should all learn to be human. If everyone had learned how to do this since the beginning of human history, there would've been no need for religion, or so many different cults, which have caused many wars and killings. In my opinion the only religion is humanity, the ability to be a good person, to help one another and to add something to this world before we die. That's it.
Which of your country's cultural specificities are you the proudest of?
We are very hospitable. There are really nice people here, so nice that it's sometimes hard to believe, and you can't find this much kindliness anywhere else in the world. It comes from our descendent, our past. And I think hospitality is the most interesting side of our culture.
If you had to explain our planet to an alien, what would you say?
The air is very polluted, we can't breathe, don't come here.
And you, which question would you like to ask to the world?
If I want to ask the world a question and answer it myself, it would be what is beauty?
And I think beauty is anything that has been created by God and whenever we, humans, make alternations to something, we take away its beauty, whether it's a face, a body, nature, or anything.