“I am the son of immigrants from Egypt, a first-generation American,” he went on. “And part of my story is being written right now". And I could not be more grateful to each and every one of you, and everyone who believed in me for this moment. It’s something I will treasure for the rest of my life.”
That was Actor Rami Malek giving an acceptance speech after winning the highest honor, Best Actor at the 2019 Oscars in Los Angeles. Thousands of miles away in a village called Minya, Malek’s kin stood by until 5 am to celebrate Malek’s Oscar win, the first by an actor of Egyptian heritage. "We celebrated with cookies and soda, and also with firecrackers that we had bought earlier," said Essam Fawzi-Malek, a cousin of the famed actor.
At 37 years old, Rami Malek has been in the industry for some time but has recently been gaining attention. This started with him winning an Emmy for his work on the celebrated cerebral drama “Mr. Robot” but it was his portrayal of the Rock Band, Queen’s frontman Freddie Mercury in the movie Bohemian Rhapsody that has cemented his transition from a known face to a bona-fide superstar.
It is Malek’s incredible ability to get into character and behind the mic and play the late Mercury that has really captured imagination and had already until the recent Oscar win earned him the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama.
After his debut in “Night at the Museum” in 2006 where he portrayed the character ‘Pharaoh Ahkmenrah’, Malek went on to appear in few TV shows including “Gilmore Girls” and “Medium”. Malek continued to bid his time till he got his big break in the series Mr. Robot in which he played Elliot a hacker, that earning him several awards including a Golden Globe, a Critics Choice Award, and a SAG Award.
The journey hasn’t always been smooth sailing as Malek recalls. In order to get attention and opportunity to audition, then working as a pizza delivery boy, Malek recounts how he had to get creative by handing out pizza boxes with his face taped to them for years on end before the big call came.
Malek’s story goes to show us that given opportunity and support creatives of color can add a much needed layers of perspective, intrigue and talent to whatever spaces they choose to take up.