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  • Writer's pictureLeigh Maynard

YASMEEN SCOTT


Emirati actress, Yasmeen Scott talks about her Netflix show The Sandman, her craft and anticipations.  Shot by Morgan Shaw
Dress by Toga Pulla. Belt by Underground. Shoes by Rosamund Muir. Earring, necklace and ring by Giovanni Raspini. Necklace by Thomas Sabo. Ring by Miphologia

A chance meeting in St Christopher's place brought Emirati actress Yasmeen Scott to the attention of 5ELEVEN. Fresh after appearing in an upcoming Hollywood production, she is relatively new to her profession yet garnering the recognition only a lucky handful of fledgeling artists could wish for. With her recent work for this full-length feature and a role in Netflix's The Sandman alongside Tom Sturridge, Yasmeen's career is on an upward trajectory. She spoke to 5ELEVEN about her love of her craft, her anticipations for the release of her latest independent project and her aspirations as one of the few Emirati actresses in the U.K.


Words by Leigh Maynard.


Yasmeen Scott was photographed by Morgan Shaw. Styled by Chalisa Guerrero.

Production by Leigh Maynard. Assistants, Melina Silva and Lorena Almeida.

With thanks to Gavin, Evie and Luca at Jacuzzi, Big Mamma



As with so many accomplished and admired actors, there's a certain indefinable quality that sets them apart, and for Yasmeen Scott, there's a warm amiability that immediately puts you at ease. Hailing from the United Arab Emirates but residing in London, perhaps those precious moments of contemplation taken on the beaches of her home country instil this poised sensibility. This quietly confident yet calm semblance is surely what draws directors and casting agents to her. It's a composure not to be mistaken for lack of ambition, as it's evident that she has immense enthusiasm for her craft and a fierce drive to succeed.


Emirati actress, Yasmeen Scott talks about her Netflix show The Sandman, her craft and anticipations.  Shot by Morgan Shaw
Dress by Buerlangma. Earrings, bracelet and ring by Giovanni Raspini

Though she has taken her time to enter the acting sphere, Yasmeen's passion for performing has been there for as long as she can remember. As a child, she danced semi-professionally with a ballet company in the U.A.E. "We were quite young, we were children, but it went up to teens, and I just loved the thrill of performing and being on stage gave me that excitement that this could be something that I do as a job. And I always thought that acting would be the same, being in films or being on T.V. It was a job that blew my mind and inspired me."


As she pursues that childhood dream, she contemplates her decision to enter the profession later, conceding that there can be benefits but also some challenges, "I think that if I had started earlier, perhaps I wouldn't have been ready. The maturity of starting later was that I knew what I wanted to do, so I was more willing to go out of my way to make it happen, but the disadvantage was that I didn't go to a traditional drama school. You get so many advantages when you attend drama school, and I had to enter the industry independently." She notes that it took time to build that confidence and find an agent without the guidance and knowledge afforded to film and theatre graduates. However, that initial apprehension has made way for an assuredness and belief in her ability and chosen career timeline. "There are pros and cons to both, but I wouldn't change my path and how I have entered it because where I am today, I am happy with. I can't imagine starting at 18 because I don't think I knew who I was back then, and every year that passes, I feel more conscious and more self-aware, which helps my development as an actor."


Emirati actress, Yasmeen Scott talks about her Netflix show The Sandman, her craft and anticipations.  Shot by Morgan Shaw
Blazer by CultNaked. Top and skirt by Tory Burch. Handbands, necklaces and rings by Giovanni Raspini. Bracelet by Mi Manera

Yasmeen talks animatedly about her upcoming projects, including her first feature-length production, Kal & Cambridge, which is set for release this year. The Romcom celebrates the Arab community in London, with a cast hailing from a cross-section of countries from Alegria, Iraq, Syria, Saudi and The United Arab Emirates. With a range of talent from established to emerging, the film is a platform for all sections of the community while commenting on the generational gap between immigrant Arab parents and UK-born kids. The sophomore production from Iraqi-British Director Ja'far' Abd Al-Hamid features Yasmeen as Fayza, a junior doctor who is fun and mischievous and the best friend of Sara, the lead. The film allowed her to understand independent production values better while working with many established actors from the Arab community. It was a gratifying experience. "There are films that I have watched with Emirati actors back in the middle east, but in the U.K., we are such a small population, and our diaspora is very small. It is an all-Arab cast and mainly Arab production, writer and director too. We even had people behind the camera from a middle eastern background, and it became like a family because it's so small and everyone is helping outside of their roles. I definitely wouldn't stop doing smaller productions because it's such an experience, and so much passion goes into those projects."


Top and trousers by Rxquette. Shoes by Di Minno. Necklaces by Giovanni Raspini and Atelierso



Yasmeen explains that she'd still like to see more representation of her community and other ethnicities in the industry. When asked if she hopes that her work inspires other Arab women, she replies, "I would like to hope so to some degree or at least open up the option that you can come over to Europe or the U.K. and start a career in the arts and in acting in particular. I know traditions and religion come into it and can make it more difficult. Still, some might want to pursue a career in acting, so I hope to display that it is possible and to be a good representation." Yasmeen is patently aware of the challenges women face in this male-dominated industry. "There are some great productions at the moment that have more women in the lead roles, but I don't think it's equal enough yet, and hopefully, that continues to change. I read something recently that said that most academy award-winning films had a concerning amount of disparity between the spoken female and male characters, which shocked me. Even more so for women of colour. It's often just ticking boxes casting them as side characters or best friends and should not be so specifically targeted to decorate the main cast." One actress Yasmeen admires and who is trailblazing for women is Viola Davis, whose work includes The Hunger Games, The Help and The Woman King. "I think she's completely inspirational because of the different roles that she takes and the range that she has, being that bit older and a black actress. I want to see more Viola Davises in the world because there are obviously loads that you don't see. She's the person I admire most in the industry."

Yasmeen is following Viola's lead and making headway with a recent role in Netflix's The Sandman. She explained that the audition involved a certain level of adaptability, and despite filming her casting tape in the most unlikely of locations (the ladies at her day job), the interpretation of Lottie, a book critic, paid off. "I propped up my phone, wrote my lines on a piece of card and thought, she's a book critic, likeable, smart and attractive. I kept that same energy on the day."

The pressure to perform and deliver with an entire crew on set can be nerve-wracking for any young actor. Still, Yasmeen quickly discovered that those feelings play upon fledgeling and seasoned performers, and she appreciates her fellow cast member Arthur Darvill the more because of it. "It made me realise that no matter where you are in the industry, you will always have the same nerves and want to get it right. He was so kind that it made me feel so at ease, and it put me more into character because I felt comfortable enough with my abilities. I was so lucky to have him as a partner in my first T.V. role, and I couldn't imagine having a better experience than I did."


Emirati actress, Yasmeen Scott talks about her Netflix show The Sandman, her craft and anticipations.  Shot by Morgan Shaw
Dress by Buerlangma. Socks by Falke. Shoes by Daniela Uribe. Earrings, bracelet and ring by Giovanni Raspini. Rings by Mipholigia

While Yasmeen welcomes the opportunity to work across all areas of film and television, the call from Hollywood was one that she particularly welcomed, acknowledging the calibre of such an opportunity at this stage of her career. While the film is still in production and cannot be named, Yasmeen shared some insights into working at such a high production level, and her excitement is palpable. "You go into it thinking, I can't believe I'm here, everyone's going to know that I am a newbie, but as soon as you are on set, you realise that everyone is so kind and they treat you so well." That treatment extended to the standard of service she experienced, "I had my own trailer. I remember the car when it picked me up for my fitting was the most incredible car I have ever been in." Yasmeen also recognised the degree of work required behind the scenes in a Hollywood film and ultimately appreciated her chance to demonstrate her talent. "Going into a big production, it's vast, and you just think about all of the money invested in these productions and all of the jobs it creates. It's really fun. I feel very fortunate and excited even to have the audition to be in these productions and to land a role in one of them. I am so excited for when it comes out, and I can say what it is! "


Emirati actress, Yasmeen Scott talks about her Netflix show The Sandman, her craft and anticipations.  Shot by Morgan Shaw
Dress by Toga Pulla. Earring and necklace by Giovanni Raspini. Necklace by Thomas Sabo

The chance to work with directors and producers at the pinnacle of the industry is one every actor aspires and strives for. Having tasted that degree of success, Yasmeen is hopeful for similar opportunities in the future. However, there is one director whose work she admires predominantly, and she enthuses, "I would love to work with Steve McQueen. I love all of his films. I think that he's incredible. I have even watched panels where he has spoken and think that he's a genius." With objectives set for the long term, several of Yasmeen's projects are about to hit our screens in the short term, including Kal & Cambridge, the independent film she regards with great affection, " It has been a labour of love for everyone involved. It was a self-funded project from the writer and director, we had a private screening recently, and it was fabulous." There are also more commercial projects, like the recently released ad for Volkswagen, that will help propel her career further. As with many of her fellow actors, tenacity, patience, talent and a modicum of luck are required when working in this most competitive of professions. Still, Yasmeen is determined to hone her craft and push forward in pursuit of her dream. "I'll keep grinding, and something great will hopefully come to my doorstep. The thing is that with these auditions and jobs, they come out of nowhere, but they can be life-changing, so fingers crossed for that!"


Emirati actress, Yasmeen Scott talks about her Netflix show The Sandman, her craft and anticipations.  Shot by Morgan Shaw
Blazer by CultNaked. Top and skirt by Tory Burch. Handbands, necklaces and rings by Giovanni Raspini

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