For almost 40 years, the strikingly beautiful Egyptian actress Zubaida Tharwat, who recently made waves as Jennifer Lawrence's doppelganger, has kept a low profile away from public TV appearances. Until just earlier this week when journalist and TV personality Amr el-Leithy paid the charming Tharwat a visit at her home for an interview.
Leithy was taken aback by how the "Kitten of Egyptian Cinema's" eyes had retained the same allure as when she began her acting career in 1956.
Shuffling between topics, Tharwat shared tales about her love stories behind the scenes, her daughters and grandchildren, her admiration for the toppled President Hosni Mubarak and the family roots she intentionally kept hidden from the public eye.
Turns out that the "Kitten" everyone had fallen for was not only a charming lady, but a royal charming lady. During her interview with Leithy, Tharwat confirmed that she is royalty, saying that, "My mother is Princess Zubaida Hussein Kamel, granddaughter of Sultan Hussein Kamel, son of Khedive Ismail."
But as royalty who outlived the 1952 revolution, which changed the Egyptian ruling status from a kingdom to a republic, it meant witnessing all of her mother's wealth being confiscated.
"I even remember when they took away her Ayat al-Kursi (Throne Verse in Quran) pendant that she wore around her neck," Tharwat said.
And similar to all stories of princes or princesses, cupid always plays part.
"But do you know who was it whom I really loved, and him really loving me back?" Tharwat commented, buildng up some anticipation. "It was Abdel Halim Hafez."
"He loved me on set, and in real life," Tharwat added. "During the movie, "Yom Min Omry" (A Day in my Life), it wasn't just acting, neither on my side or nor on his."
Tharwat carried on recalling her unspoken affection for cinema and music icon Abdel Halim Hafez, saying that she was too young to openly tell him that she loved him. Nevertheless, Abdel Halim did in fact approach her father to ask Tharwat's hand in marriage, only to be met with strict disapproval.
"I will not allow my daughter to marry a singer," Tharwat recalled her father saying.
However, Tharwat's previous will requests to be buried next to Abdel Halim when her day comes.
But it wasn't all rainbows and butterflies for the gorgeous actress. Even though she quit acting rather early, Tharwat was forced to make a comeback when she barely had any money to sustain her family's basic needs.
During the time when her husband and producer Subhy Farahat was imprisoned in Tunisia, Tharwat went through financially dire times, explaining that "there were times when I didn't know what to feed my children for breakfast."
Even though Tharwat continues to be elegant, she has admitted that age has taken its toll. She spoke about the fact that she wished she never began smoking, as the habit has taken its toll over the years. Now finds it hard to quit, despite her illness.
She pleads with teenagers, saying that "if someone offers you a cigarette, you should know that they hate you."
After the long interview that was nothing short of cozy and heartwarming, it was obvious that at 74, Tharwat may have quivering voice that tells how she has aged, but that the star remains beautiful and sincere to herself as her fans always knew her. She'll always be our kitten.