Dana Al Salem. UAE & Bahrain. @dana.al.salem

“I am Bahraini (with Saudi roots)/Emirati and I’m a proud Middle Eastern. I always knew I would be where I was because I consistenly work very hard for it. It’s a nonstop passion (former hobby and my current career) that I am very grateful for. I am a huge advocate of academia and hard work & experimentation combined. What drives me is that I get to live in and out of different lives, tell all kinds of stories and be a mass communicator for those who cant speak for themselves. I knew very early on and so did my immediate family; when I first started walking, talking and breathing I knew all I wanted to do was become an artist- I even tried to prove myself otherwise just to make sure I wasn’t ignoring my societal pressures of “getting a stable job” or “making sure I have a pension set” – I even tried corporate and did my first bachelors degree in International Logistics Management before I went off to study cinema and theatre. Only art makes sense to me. Everything else is just technical. Acting, filmmaking, performing, contemporary and circus arts and ballet – thats who I am. 
I’ve been faced by so many challenges I don’t even know where to start! But one that everyone can relate to is bodyshaming. Its a very disgusting phenomenon that affects everyone involved. I’ve been using my platform to address this issue and I’ve been getting a lot of positive and negative feedback , which just means I’ll have to do it more technically. Id like to address this more specifically, I am currently working on something thats going to come out soon in this regards.  As a humanitarian cause I’m passionate about mental illness because its very stigmatized in our region (& worldwide). It started with me living in characters facing various mental illnessess; & it was exhausting. I know that its very hard to relate on a medical  and internal level but my character studies are usually very deep and intricate because I know that i have a responsibility of making sure that the message is accurate. I also know that it will never feel like the real thing and I respect and appreciate everybody going through this, I see and believe in them. They are undercover geniuses who are highly empathetic and I would be honored to one day be able to help in the removal of the stigma of mental illness and its “maintenance” & “happenings”. Its a very vast subject that needs a lot of awareness in which I am currently – and very slowly – learning in order to be able to make a difference. My father is also a mental health professional and my mother is a doctor and they have helped me understand how it is to be an aware and understanding individual (especially when dealing with complex illnesses & by watching them spend their lives helping others) the human mind is a very strange and wonderful thing. People can also sometimes be cruel and misunderstand certain geniuses because of their lack of awareness, and I have seen it LIVE on many occasions (not just through performance).”


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