My name is Anna Sophie Fadwa Saether Mahfouf, or how it’s actually written in Swedish: Anna Sophie Fadwa Säther Mahfouf. I am of origin half Moroccan and half Swedish and was born in Stockholm, Sweden but raised in Visby on the island off the south east coast of Sweden called: Gotland. A small town rich in nature and culture, and despite the island’s geographic isolation I spent my childhood going to dance classes 4 days a week, doing sports, going to art class; there was always something to do, learn and improve in. Since age 4 I danced basically everything there is to dance, ballet, jazz, tap, ballet on pointe, ballroom, salsa, hiphop, you name it! At age 13 I started singing in a gospel choir and a classical choir, from which a fellow member suggested I come along to audition for Gotlands Musikalkompani (a regional musical theater production company), with which I spent 4 years working on shows such as Sweeney Todd & Curtains as an actor, singer and dancer for about 8 months out of the year whilst being in school.
My multi-ethnic background, and my parents cultural, religious and global diverse interests have always been very inspirational to me and have led me to pursue a potentially ”different” path. I have lived in and speak as many languages as I have names: I lived in Sweden until I was 16, then I moved to France on my own because I had been accepted and received a grant to study at a boarding school in the Bordeaux region (because from the age of 13 I was passionate about becoming fluent in French so that I could fully communicate with my grandma, who doesn’t speak Swedish. There I got to attend school and study the literary program and studied the works of Diderot, Voltaire, Baudelaire, etc while attending acting classes, dance classes and spending my off day: Wednesday afternoon in Latin class (Carpe Diem). I could talk about that year for hours so I’ll stop at saying that it was a very enriching year that taught me about poetry, language, psychology. It also completely changed my already very optimistic soul to the belief that one can accomplish anything one sets their mind to, if one is willing to work day and night for it. Last but not least it taught me Latin that I carry with me to this day, such as carpe diem (one doesn’t need to say more than this really... I also can’t really say much more than this anymore but that’s not the point).
Back to the 5 names, 5 countries and 5 languages. After France I lived in Sweden for a while, then I moved to Norway to fund the program I had been accepted into in California. I worked 3 jobs for three months and saved enough to pay the tuition and housing for the first semester. Country nr 4 is: the US, where I have lived for about 7 years (first in California then transferred to a university in New York). Half way through my degree I moved to Costa Rica and taught English, volunteered at a local kindergarten and studied Spanish whilst living with a local family. Through these experiences I can speak Swedish, French, English, Arabic (not fluent), Spanish, and Norwegian. I typically struggle answering simple questions such as “where is home”, since as you’ve read above (or if you jumped to this part; shame on you) being from two countries, but having lived in 5 and then speaking 5 languages makes for a lot of raised eyebrows and confusion. I’ve always felt following one’s gut is one of the most important things, and I’ve also felt that in order to become the best version of myself (on a human level as well as on a storyteller level): traveling and experiencing moments that challenge one’s comfort zone is as valuable as my training and education.
My passion is acting, music, and dancing but I think it all stems from this curiosity to understand behavior, dissecting expression and communication from infancy until this very moment. Which is why I have chosen the road of combining academic studies with working, studying and volunteering abroad: human beings and what drives us fascinates me. And this fascination has led me to the fortune of having worked on 7 musicals, 15+ plays, 10+ films, 20+ dance shows, 4 workshops, etc. Academia was for me almost always fun, but I always felt that to just be out in the world, outside of my comfort zone and getting to learn and observe humanity, isequal to the acting classes. I have gotten to not only work as a performer but have been a make-up artist, stagehand, costume shop assistant, scene shop set builder, assistant stage managed, produced, directed for the stage and screen. During my university studied I was fortunate enough to work for regional musicals, the regional opera house, school plays, professional plays, a German film, and any other chance I could find on days off to work as an extra to observe and learn the terms on set, the hours, the ethic, the techniques. This recent year has been a whirlwind of doing a pilot picked up by CBS, plays, short films, a music video, and I can’t wait for more exciting things! Thank you for visiting my website and thank you for getting to the end of a text (unless you skipped then I am not as impressed).