On this very day, 57 years ago, one of the biggest iconic superstars in the Arab world was born. A force to be reckoned with, not just for her sheer natural talent and stage charisma but for her persistence in the face of tragedy, Sherihan will always be known as the playful triple threat that has not only graced the silver screen but brought her talent to the stage, especially during her long-run fawazeer.
How It All Started
From an extremely young age, Sherihan had this sort of unabridged love and passion for any type of performance and being the half-sister of the infamous guitarist Omar Khorshid, she took her first dip into the world of stardom and fame.
Through Khorshid, she was able to meet the likes of legends including Abdel Halim Hafez who was immediately enraptured by her exceptional ability to perform and impersonate several big-time actors. She even brought Umm Kulthum into a fit of applause after impressing the music legend through her movement. Beyond impressing Egypt’s biggest stars, at the age of six, she also took part in prominent films like the 1970 film “Pack of Devils” where she acted alongside comedic legend Fouad el-Mohandes. Farid Shawky was another big name Sherihan shared the screen with, in the popular film “Cat On Fire.”
With the start of high school, the young starlet also began making a name for herself in the world of theatre, taking part in several theatre productions, the biggest being the popular “Lock Your Girls In” that tracked the life of a father played by Fouad el Mohandes desperate to get his three daughters married so that he himself can marry his secret lover. From there, she would jump from role to role with her screen presence totaling 20 successful films including the likes of “Raya and Skeena.”
Her Eclectic Fawazeer-Run
With all that she’s done, it is hard to imagine Sherihan without remembering her contagious spirit and energy during the long-running Ramadan shows known to everyone as “Fawazeer.” Her most popular show during that time was the infamous 1001 Nights “The Proverb Riddles” where in every performance she would transform into different Arab characters, mimicking their accents, singing their songs, and dancing their folkloric dances. Viewers would have by the end of each episode to guess the character that Sherihan is impersonating.
Pharaohs and mermaids were also part of her character lineup during other Ramadan shows like “Bride of the Seas” where she donned a multi-hued sparkling sequins costume during the long-running hit Ramadan series.
With her “Around The World” series, the actress graced the stage with even more iconic costumes as she wowed the crowd during catchy dance numbers set across different world locations. Viewers again got to join the star as they tried to guess which country she is visiting in each episode using only a handful of clues given by the actress. To this day, these performances have left a mark on those same viewers who every now and then would revisit their favorite episodes.
A Hero In The Face Of Tragedies
Behind the screen and curtains of the stage, Sherihan’s life was a whirlwind of tragic moments; each one a stepping stone on the actress’ long journey as she faced each challenge with courage and persistence.
It all started with the tragic death of Khorshid during the 80s who wasn’t just a brother to the starlet but a loving father figure and close friend. It was an extremely difficult time for the actress, marked with long nights but that did not stop her from getting on that stage, continuing her performances as millions watched her across Egypt and the Arab world.
The first moment the actress disappeared from the spotlight was in 1989 when she faced a life-threatening car accident, fracturing her bones to the extent that she was at risk of paralysis. For four years, the actress no longer graced the screen yet during that time, she managed to inspire her fans when she showcased her unmatched persistence by shortening her recovery period, getting back on her feet in two weeks instead of the expected one month.
What followed was her imminent return to the spotlight in 1993 but that was also short-lived as it was followed by another tragedy in 2002 when the actress discovered she has one of the rarest and deadliest forms of cancer, that of the salivary gland. To remove a tumor from her face, she had undergone a 17-hour extensive operation. So far, the incidents she went through are the kind that would push an individual towards giving up and letting go, yet when it came to Sherihan it was quite the opposite as she continued to fight back no matter the hardship.
The Ultimate Comeback
Surprising everyone after disappearing from the spotlight for nearly two decades, the artist knew exactly how to make a comeback that was not only memorable but also inspiring. Among the many commercials that ran between our favorite Ramadan shows during 2020 was one that told the powerful raw story of Sherihan. The artist partnered with a telecommunications provider to bring together a musical production, unlike anything she’s done before.
The commercial song dubbed “Eshna we Shofna” (We Lived and We Experienced) is imbued with inspiring lyrics like “we fought and never gave up” along with multiple musical numbers as Sherihan takes the viewers on a journey of the biggest moments during her life including a harrowing re-depiction of her car accident and operation.
Fans were equally ecstatic when they found out that Sherihan planned a bigger comeback to the large stage when she transformed into Coco Chanel during her 2021 theatrical performance of a musical of the same name. With five major musical set pieces, the actress brought forth a mix of rich performances including her “Ya Birnati” (My Hat) number where Chanel plays around with her exquisite feather hat designs while dancing and tapping along to jazz music bursting through the streets of Paris.
Coming back for a bigger second round with Coco Chanel’s creator Medhat El Adl, Sherihan will be gracing the stage in yet another theatre production that is currently getting written up by El Adl. Not many details have been released about this new production but one thing for sure is that with all that she has done to this day, audiences across the region will constantly await her presence, whether on the screen or on the stage, knowing that they will be magnetized by her constant ability to inspire and entertain millions. We know that we can’t wait for what’s to come for the legendary superstar.