Tunisia’s pride and joy, the celebrated and beloved Egypt-based Tunisian actress Hend Sabri has made a strong comeback on the small screen with the new series ‘Finding Ola’ that’s trending these days upon its release this month as Netflix’s most-watched show in the Arab world!
The six-episode comedy series was written by Maha Al-Wazir and Ghada Abdel Aal, directed by Hadi Al-Bagouri, and has a star-studded cast starring Hend Sabri, Sawsan Badr, Hani Adel, Mahmoud Al-Laithi, and Nada Musa. The show is a sequel to the 2010 hit series ‘Ayza Atgawez’ (I want to get married) by Egyptian writer Ghada Abdel-Aal, where Hend played the popular character Ola Abdel-Sabour.
Finding Ola marks the actress’s debut as an executive producer through her company Salam production, but also the major event that’s the revival of the beloved character Ola.
In this sequel, the heroine is exploring her journey of self discovery after being recently divorced and has lost her sense of identity and purpose.
In an interview with Cosmopolitan Middle East, Hend gave the perfect answer that sums up our feelings about the show.
“What brought Finding Ola closer to the people watching the show is that you always compare the mother to your mother, the father to your father. The Arab world has the same idea. She gets married and wants to take care of her house, her kids, and her husband. So yeah, it’s important for Arab girls to see it, especially as the new aspect of Finding Ola is that the writing of it is modern. It’s very modern. There’s nothing we talk about that ladies in their 40s who are going through a midlife crisis don’t go through.”
Hend kept on demonstrating that this show isn't here to sugar-coat family conversations. Everything is authentic and as real as it can get without pretending otherwise.
And that’s one of the main things we loved about “Finding Ola”. We devoured the show because of its authenticity and relatability, mixed with witty interjections from Ola that we’ve missed so much.
Now Let’s talk fashion
Hend Sabri's looks in the show have played a role in its success, alongside her excellent performance. The public took to social media and especially Twitter to express their admiration for the dazzling outfits made by costume designer Omnia Aly. In the first episode, the styling showed the Heroine’s elegance and ingenuity, as Ola went for the practical and comfortable style with her own touch of class. Ola’s style then started slowly shifting, reflecting the new events and changes that came up in the next episodes, as she went for a tribal ethnic theme with earthy tones, waist belts, and layers. We saw loud patterns, diversity, and cleverness with the layering that gave our protagonist a sharp, sophisticated look with small efforts.
She was also wearing several colorful kimonos that spiced things up with a touch of liveliness thanks to the prints that embellished it. Where can we find them? Brands like Atelier UAE, Etro take the credit
The jewelry used was mostly by Egyptian designers like the simple necklace worn by Ola on her son’s birthday event and some layered necklaces were made by Azza Fahmy who’s known for her simple and elegant creations. There was a tribute to Tunisia as well when she wore jewelry by The Tunisian Brand Meymeriem shop and Calepinage.
Hend Sabri wearing Meymeriem shop necklace.
We also couldn’t help but admire the Arabic calligraphy jewelry from J’s Jewels by Engy Fayad, accessories that perfectly blend Arabic calligraphy with the tribal touch that highlighted Ola’s style through the episodes.
Creations of Jude Benhalim were also worn in parallel with the theme alongside the cuffs from Laila Wahba (who we love for her sustainable jewelry) that gave Ola a powerful badass look in moments where she wasn't in control.
Necklace: Jude Benhalim
Many have admired Ola’s new style, but others criticized it, saying that Egyptian women didn’t possess this kind of taste and didn’t exaggerate their elegance like it was portrayed in the show. They felt that some outfits weren’t in cohesion with the simple and modest personality of Ola that’s been shown in the first part.
But, isn't that the point? We believe that it was a perfectly calculated styling that fits Ola’s new self.
Here’s to arabic women …
Finding Ola is trending among Arab women for its light-hearted relatable take on womanhood, family, business, and social issues. The show depicts modern feminism and tackles gender double standards in its take on divorce and ageist mindsets.
Although, the precedent show 'Aayza Atgawez' (I Want to Get Married) who's iconic for its witty depiction of real-life social stories, even though more than 10 years have passed since its release, it still remains at the top and beloved in the Gulf countries from Egypt to Tunisia and even in Morocco and Jordan for its realistic depiction of Arab societies. The show paved the way for its sequel with Ola tackling a major issue in her life, which is growing older unmarried alongside family pressure and the implemented stigma of being ‘incomplete’ if you’re single.
In Finding Ola, we were learning alongside the heroine how to navigate a divorce, rediscovering yourself, knowing your worth, and how it’s never too late to start over. The artistic direction showed us the aesthetic side of Cairo from a bird’s-eye with an eye-pleasing view to highlight the city's beauty.
Hend Sabri has paved the way for women in the film and TV industries to rise. We hope to see more females participating in bigger roles in the industry and getting the recognition they deserve.
An amazing soundtrack…
The renowned Egyptian composer Khaled Al Kammar joined forces with The Ayoub Sisters on the soundtrack for the Netflix original series. The choice of artists and songs fit perfectly with the show's aesthetic and theme. There was a variety of Arab music from the MENA region and underground artists especially like Massar Egbari (Egyptian rock band), Jadal (Jordanian Arabic Rock band), Babylone (Algerian musical group), Jenjoon (Tunisian Rapper), Shahd EL Shaarawy (Egyptian singer) and Do3souqa (alternative/indie band).
The Finding Ola soundtrack playlist has a lot of astonishing songs that are definitely worth listening to.
This show has celebrated women and has shown us how resilient a woman can be without needing a man to feel whole and complete. Ola got to raise her kids, build a business and discover her identity. There is no age limit for starting over.
With our article coming to an end, we’d like to give you a golden tip: wear what makes you feel happy, for you and only you. It’s great to be inspired by celebrities and characters, but make sure to add your own personal touch to it. The secret ingredient is confidence. Even if you don’t have it, fake it till you make it. That’s what Ola taught us.