With the second season of Ramy dropping this week on Hulu, May Calamawy discussed the role of Dena Hassan, crying to Swan Like, meeting penguins, and more in the latest installment of Rolling Stone’s The First Time.
Calamawy kicks off by recounting the first album she ever bought, either Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill or Real McCoy’s Another Night, both released in 1995. “I don’t really remember,” she says, laughing.
The actress recalled the first time she met co-star Ramy Youssef, six months before her audition for the role of his onscreen sister, Dena. “I haven’t been a part of many productions,” she admits. “But from what I hear, it’s a really special thing that we have going on, ’cause it really does feel like a family. There’s something about us sharing the same culture that also brings us closer.”
Calamawy described the first time she visited the United States and her brief stint studying industrial design, after she finished high school in Bahrain and wanted to attend college here. She also cited the first time she wanted to be an actress — which involved watching 1992’s Death Becomes Her on repeat at the age of five. “That really solidified the decision for me,” she says.
Elsewhere in the video, Calamawy shares memories of crying to Swan Lake, working with Téa Leoni, and meeting penguins in Dubai. “It was weird though, because one of the penguins came up to me and started humping my leg,” she says. “The guide was like, ‘Just don’t move.’ And then when [the penguin] was done, he didn’t want anything to do with me. I thought it was an invitation to pet him, but he tried to bite me.”