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Mena Massoud      

Egyptian-Canadian Actor; Best Known for Disney's "Aladdin"

Mena Massoud is an Egyptian-Canadian actor and singer. He is best known for starring as Aladdin in the 2019 live-action adaptation of the musical fantasy film of the same name. Massoud launched his career as a professional actor in 2011, when he appeared briefly in single episodes of the television series "Nikita" and "Combat Hospital." He also starred as Jared Malik in the 2015 series "Open Heart," and Tarek Kassar in the Amazon Prime series "Jack Ryan."

In 2017, Massoud landed a breakthrough role when it was announced that he had been cast in the role of Aladdin. While talking about playing the role, he said: "I was excited to finally have an opportunity to play a character that wasn't a terrorist and didn't have a negative connotation on them. This has a very positive connotation. It's an inspiring film, an inspiring role. And I was just excited to finally have a shot at something like that." He also went on to state that it is an important movie for representation of People of Colour in Hollywood. Massoud was joking along with Guy Ritchie that "Aladdin" is going to hit the one-billion dollar mark in the box office; ironically, the movie has surged past USD one-billion in worldwide collections.

Massoud was born in Cairo, Egypt, to Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Christian parents. His family immigrated to Canada when he was three years old, but Massoud remains close to his cultural roots. He's a huge admirer of Egyptian comedy movies, and in an interview with the BBC, he stated how his Egyptian heritage has inspired him as a comedian. Massoud is also vegan and is the founder of the plant-based food travel show "Evolving Vegan." In September 2019, Massoud was officially announced as Egypt's ambassador for the Speak Egyptian initiative, which seeks to protect the Arab identity of the Egyptian diaspora and in particular Arab children.

Massoud also launched a charitable foundation with the aim to support talented artists from underrepresented groups and help them start in his native Canada before setting up in Los Angeles. Massoud struggled in his early career in Toronto before his role as Aladdin. He mentions that casting for lead roles is done out of LA and the foundation aims to change that by helping them secure mentors, aid for training and pay for headshots to get them in front of casting directors.

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