STYLE ICON: Egyptian dancer and film actress Samia Gamal (1924-1994)
Born Zaynab Ibrahim Mahfuz in the Egyptian town of Wana, Gamal and her family soon relocated to Cairo settling near the Khan El-Khalili bazaar. Years later, Gamal would meet the founder of modern Oriental dance, Badia Masabni, who invited Gamal to join her dance company. It was also Masabni who gave her the stage name, Samia Gamal.
As Gamal’s stardom and popularity rose, she became a respected and well-known dancer who incorporated techniques from both ballet and Latin dance into her performances. She was also the first woman to perform on stage wearing high heels.
During her movie career, she starred in many films alongside popular Egyptian actor Farid Al Attrach. Not only did they play each other’s love interests on screen, but were also lovers in real life. Unfortunately, due to Farid Al Attrach’s status and personal beliefs, he and Gamal never married.
Samia Gamal would later move to the US, where she gained notable popularity and also married the so-called “Texas Millionaire”, Shepherd King III. The marriage was shortlived and she later married her second husband, Egyptian actor Roshdy Abaza.
Samia Gamal starred in over 50 films and continued dancing well into her 40s. On December 1, 1994, at the age of 70, Samia Gamal passed away in Egypt.