El Gouna Film Festival is almost over but we’re not ready to say goodbye to some of our favourite celebs that blessed the red carpet over the last week. So, we sat down with Egyptian actress, best known for her roles in La Totfe’ El Shams and Zay El Shams, to find out why she’s become an advocate for a cruelty-free and pescatarian lifestyle and how it’s affected her life. Scroll down to get all the juice.

Courtesy of Red Pepper Films

The actress decided to become cruelty-free back in 2014, “I had a really important event, and I was looking at makeup artists to work with, but it was really expensive at that time, so I decided to teach myself and do my own makeup. And I came across a couple of videos that talked about cruelty-free products and it just grabbed my attention because I didn’t understand what that meant. I’m the kind of person who likes to research, so I started reading up on it and I realised that there was such a thing as animal testing and it wasn’t just about the medical community, it was also in the cosmetic industry and that didn’t make sense to me. And when I started watching videos and seeing what happened, it was just awful. The idea that a living being would go through so much pain and so much torture just for me to put on lipstick or foundation didn’t sit right with me,” she recalls.

The problem with being a celebrity in this day and age, is that it can be difficult to find make-up artists to work with that only use cruelty-free products, and El Khost seems to agree. “I try to make my peace with the fact that I’m not spending my money to purchase these products. I try extremely hard but sometimes it is not possible. I also try to use my own products whenever I can.”

El Khost decided to make a major lifestyle change by becoming pescatarian, and it’s something she argues has changed her life for the better. “On the ethical side of things, I just feel better. It has changed the way I feel when I eat. With meat, there’s a certain kind of full, you can’t breathe. But when you’re vegetarian, I’ve noticed that I generally feel lighter,” she explains.

For those of you considering this lifestyle change and are wondering how difficult it would be, Mariam believes that it’s all worth the struggle. She explains that although it may be a difficult transition, “every time I miss meat, I remember certain things and it just feels like, okay, you can’t be okay with something going through this kind of suffering because you miss meat.”

It could be difficult to find cruelty-free brands to shop from, and that’s why we asked the actress what her favourite ones are. “I use The Body Shop all the time because they’re not just cruelty free, they’re a hundred percent vegan and they contribute to saving forests. They also have so many causes, which I think is brilliant.”

Courtesy of Red Pepper Films

We were also curious to hear from Mariam about her thoughts on El Gouna Film Festival, so we asked her if she could change one thing about film festivals, what it would be. “One of the biggest things I think needs to change is that the press interviews need to be scheduled after the screenings. Because although its great to talk about what celebrities are wearing and how their hair looks, but when they come out, I want to hear what they have to say. I want to know what they saw and what they thought. The press does not need to have an opinion about the film, but the press needs to be able to ask smart questions, even if it means reading the log line and get different opinions on the film that are screened.” We have to say, we couldn’t agree more.

Courtesy of Red Pepper Films

When asked about her favourite film screened at the festival so far, El Khost could not stop praising the Egyptian film Amira, ” I watched Amira yesterday and honestly, I was blown away. I couldn’t, I swear to God the whole time I kept looking back at Huda El Mufti because she’s one of my closest friends and has incredible taste. Before watching Amira, I told her to not raise the bar for me. And she said, no matter what I tell you, it’s not going to be enough. And she was right. I watched the movie, and it was unbelievable.”

Interview courtesy of Yasmin Reda and Twinkle Stanly.