Mena Massoud Biography

(Canadian Actor Best Known for His Title Role in the Fantasy Adventure Film ‘Aladdin’)

Birthday: September 17, 1991 (Virgo)

Born In: Cairo, Egypt

Mena Massoud is a Canadian actor of Egyptian descent, best known for playing the title character in Walt Disney’s fantasy-adventure film, Aladdin. Born in Cairo, he moved with his family to Canada at the age of three, by which time he was already introduced to his favorite character, Aladdin. Remembering his early years in Canada, he had later said, “That’s a tough thing for any immigrant, you never feel like… I never felt 100 per cent Egyptian or 100 per cent Canadian”.  A natural actor, he was also a good student and on graduating from school entered University of Toronto with neuroscience. But shortly, he realized that his passion lay elsewhere and began studying acting at Ryerson University. Concurrently, he started appearing in films and television productions, in course of which he had to face difficulties in finding good and positive roles because of his ethnicity. Today established as a star, he is also working to make the film industry more inclusive.

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Quick Facts

Canadian Celebrities Born In September

Girlfriend: Emily Shah

Also Known As: Mena Mansour Massoud

Age: 31 Years, 31 Year Old Males

Family:

father: Mansour Massoud

mother: Gorgit

siblings: Margaret, Marian

Born Country: Egypt

Actors Canadian Men

Height: 5'8" (173 cm), 5'8" Males

Notable Alumni: Ryerson University

More Facts

education: Ryerson University

Childhood & Early Life

Mena Mansour Massoud was born on September 17, 1991 in Cairo, Egypt. Both his parents, Gorgit and Mansour Massoud, are Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Christians. Born youngest of his parents’ three children, he has two elder sisters, Marian and Margaret.

By early 1990s, life became difficult for the Christians in the Muslim-majority Egypt. Realizing the situation, his parents began to think about leaving their homeland so that their children could grow up in a safer environment and lead a better life.

When Mena was three and half years old, the family immigrated to Canada, eventually settling down in Markham, Ontario.

As a child, Mena had a strict upbringing, having to beg for days to get a pet bird. However, they were allowed to see films, one of them being Aladdin. He later said, that he almost grew up with the character and that it was possibly the only one that he could culturally relate to.

From his childhood, he knew that he wanted to be an actor, He re-enacted roles from films he saw at home. They not only included Aladdin, but also comedies like Mrs. Doubtfire, Rush Hour and Miss Congeniality. He also performed in school plays, starring as Peter Pan in his elementary school.

He had his high school education at St. Brother André Catholic High School, where he continued to perform, eventually becoming the head of the improvisational team. His drama teacher, Dori Elliott, remembers him as a "shape-shifter," who could fill in any role.

Dori Elliott also describes him as a "quiet, soft-spoken, low-key, introspective and respectful young man…. He sort of flew under the radar until he got up to work. And at that point, he was like a force of nature. He was volcanic."

On graduating from high school, he initially entered University of Toronto with neuroscience as his major, intending to become a doctor. In this, he might have followed his elder sisters, both of whom are in the medical field.

Good at studies, he soon earned a spot on the Honor Roll; but realized that his passion lay elsewhere. Therefore, after one year of studying neuroscience, he gave up his medical education and took transfer to Ryerson University, where he enrolled in their theatre performance program

Although his parents initially objected they had to finally relent. Eventually he graduated from Ryerson with a BFA in Theatre Acting in 2014.  By then, he had already started appearing in films and television productions.

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Career

In 2011, Mena Massoud began his career as Al Qaeda No. 2 in one episode of Nikita and as Salman Zawab in one episode of Combat Hospital. Although he took up the role of a terrorist in Nikita he was not happy about it, promising to get more positive roles for himself.

Also in 2011, he appeared in the recurring role of Bretten Thomason in six episodes of Poser, concurrently giving voice to multiple characters like Hafiz the Preserver, Dave, Saad in The 99.  Also in the same year, he starred as Jad in a short film called What Happens Next.

In 2012, he appeared in a recurring role in Cut to the Chase, playing Jason, the sidekick of the main character in seven of its episodes.  Also in the same year, he guest starred as Malik Atassi in one episode of King

In 2014, he appeared in his second movie, playing Mohammed Ali in the short comedy film, Americanistan. It was followed in 2015 by his first full length feature film, Let's Rap, in which he appeared in the role of John.

While Let's Rap failed to attract much attention, his role as Jared Malik in the 2015 mystery-drama series Open Heart got better response.  However, it too was cancelled after one season. Thereafter he took hiatus for one year.

In 2017, he appeared in two films, playing Ollie Santos in Ordinary Days and Zaid in Final Exam. But his biggest moment came when on July 15, 2017, it was announced that he would be starring as Aladdin in the eponymous musical fantasy film to be produced by Walt Disney Pictures.

Filming for Aladdin started in September 2017.  In 2018, concurrently with working on it, he also appeared in a recurring role (Tarek Kassar) in the first season of the political action thriller television series, Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan and starred in a short film called .Masters in Crime.

Aladdin was theatrically released in the United States on May 24, 2019, which finally made him a household name. In the same year, he appeared in two other films, Strange but True and Merging with the Infinite and starred as Ethan Hart in the streaming television drama series, Reprisal

In March 2020, he had his tenth film, Run This Town, commercially released, appearing in it in the star role of Kamal. It was followed in 2021 by Lamya's Poem, in which he appeared in the voice role of Rumi and in 2022 by The Royal Treatment, starring in it as Prince Thomas.


As of August 2022, he has three films at hand, one of them being Fe Ez El-Dohr, his first Egyptian film in which he will be starring as Hamza.  Two other films on cards are Keeper of the Cup and The Sacrifice Game.

Major Works

Mena Massoud is best known for portraying the titular character in Disney’s fantasy-adventure film, Aladdin, An adaptation of the eponymous animated film; it grossed a worldwide total of $1.051 billion against a production budget of $183 million, and earned him nominations for Teen Choice Award and National Film & TV Awards.

Trivia

In September 2019, Mena Massoud was appointed an ambassador for Speak Egyptian initiative, launched by Egypt's Ministry of Migration. Later in the same year, he launched a not-for-profit organization called Ethnically Diverse Artists Foundation to help Canadian artists from underrepresented groups to start their careers.

A confirmed vegan, he has also established a company dedicated to getting people to practice plant-based living.  Called Evolving Vegan, its first project, also led by Massoud, is a vegan lifestyle cookbook, which was released on September 15, 2020.

Family & Personal Life

As of August 2022, Mena Massoud is in relationship with Emily Shah, an upcoming actress and a successful model.

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