A BAHRAIN-BORN actress has played the first Arab character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
May El Calamawy portrayed Layla Al Faouly in Moon Knight, a six-episode American television miniseries created for the streaming service Disney+, which provides a fresh take on the world of Egyptian mythology.
The series, about a mercenary who has dissociative identity disorder and is drawn into a deadly mystery involving Egyptian gods with his multiple alters, premiered on March 30 and ended on May 4.
Ms El Calamawy was born on October 28, 1986 in Bahrain to an Egyptian father, who worked as a banker, and a Palestinian-Jordanian mother.
After completing high school in Bahrain, she moved to Boston, Massachusetts at the age of 17 to study industrial design. She lived in Dubai for five years before moving back to the US to pursue an acting career.
Ms El Calamawy has a BA in theatre studies from Emerson College, and she has also studied at the William Esper Studio in New York City.
She started her career acting in short films, dividing her time between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, from 2009 to 2014.
Her first major film role was in 2013, when she starred in Tobe Hooper’s Djinn, which was the first horror film to be produced in the UAE.
In 2017, she had a recurring role in the National Geographic miniseries The Long Road Home, as well as guest-starring roles in The Brave and Madam Secretary.
The following year, she guest-starred in the CBS crime drama television series FBI.
In October 2018, it was announced that she would have a recurring role in the Hulu comedy-drama series Ramy, playing Ramy’s sister, Dena Hassan.
In 2020, she had a voice role as Ellie Malik in the video game NBA 2K21. Last year, she appeared in the film Together Together, in January of the same year, it was announced she would appear in Moon Knight.