He is smaller than on TV, but if you know the advertisement you'd recognize him right away, with his oozing confidence and piercing eyes. Properly dressed in an Armani Exchange t-shirt, a pair of jeans and a white cardigan, he courteously introduces himself. He's the famous Ousha from the Kimo Kono ad.
Kimo Kono is an ice cream brand that scored a hit during Ramadan with an ad featuring a young boy named Moudi, who wakes up one day and wants to play the football game "Winning" on PlayStation. Since he hasn't got a PlayStation, he starts a tour of his friends to find someone who has and is willing to play with him. One such friend is Ousha, who's at the local Gamezone playing on single-player, while the entire neighborhood waits in line. On his way home, he buys a KImi Kono and finds a coupon for a PlayStation in it.
Slightly mean, Ousha's character went viral on Facebook.
As he and I approach a café to sit down for our interview, all heads turn towards the young celebrity and people come up to him to congratulate him on the success of the ad. Confident and strong, he has a thin layer of shyness that appears and disappears before you even know it.
Ousha, whose real name is Mahmoud, is a 12-year-old student who has just finished fifth grade with an excellent 93 percent in his final exams. He lives in Imbaba and has four brothers and sisters: Dawlat, Nehad, Shams and Riyad.
Al-Masry al-Youm: Do you work, besides school?
Ousha (Mahmoud): I collect balls in the tennis court at the Gezira Sporting Club. I've been working there for a year. I go to the club at the weekend after I finish my studies.
Al-Masry: How do you get to Zamalek for work?
Ousha: I take the bus.
Al-Masry: How did you get the role in the ad?
Ousha: It's my first ad. The director, Aly Aly, plays tennis at the club and he saw me and asked if I want to work with him and be on TV. I agreed. That same night I got a call informing me of my audition the next day at 4 pm. The next appointment was my fitting session. A few days later, we filmed the ad.
Al-Masry: Is it hard to be in a TV ad?
Ousha: No, the opposite, it was nice. We filmed for an hour and half for my few seconds on screen.
Al-Masry: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Ousha: I want to be a famous actor. I've always wanted to an actor, even before the ad. I also like football. Whichever one works for me. I also sing shaabi music.
After making sure I'm looking the other way, Ousha or Mahmoud starts singing his mawwal (ballad), a somber song about a kid who loses his family. His voice is strong and airy, the typical shaabi sound. It seems Mahmoud has all the necessary elements to be an artist.
Ya leil, ya leil, ya leil,
Ya ein, ya leil,
Two people, and I was the third,
But life took them from me,
My father and my mother left me,
The picture is in front of me,
On the wall consoling me,
Your voice mother, calls for me,
And my father looks at me from the picture.
Al-Masry: Who do you look up to in acting and in football?
Ousha: Adel Emam and Shikabala
Al-Masry: What's your daily routine?
Ousha: I wake up at 7 am, wash and go buy breakfast. It's my responsibility now since my older brother left on an educational trip to Italy. Around 8:30 am or 9 am, I go to the club, and I leave around 8 pm. After work, I pass by Koshary Hekaya and grab some koshary. Back in Imbaba, the football games start.
Al-Masry: Do you know you have become a celebrity?
Ousha: Yes… on Facebook and the net. [laughter] My soccer friends in the neighborhood shout "Vote for Ousha for the presidency! " every time they see me. "Go Ousha… Set them on fire!" Gezira Club members also started to recognize me. More than a thousand people came up to me to say hello.
Al-Masry: Why do you think you've become so famous?
Ousha: Because of my evil eye in the ad. [laughter]
Al-Masry: What's your next step?
Ousha: I've been offered roles in three movies with Ahmed el-Gendy and Sobki, three ads and a program. So I can be in a movie and be famous worldwide.
Al-Masry: What is the role you want to play?
Ousha: I want to be the ultimate hero and I want Mena, the young actress, to co-star with me in a movie, but don’t tell my father. [laughter] Just for the role, because she is my age, but I have someone else in school. [more laughter]
Al-Masry: What would you do if you had lots of money?
Ousha: I'd help those in need and build hospitals. Then for myself, I'd buy a villa, a Hummer and hire bodyguards for my protection. I would also let my parents do the Hajj and Umra.
Al-Masry: What do you think of the 25 January revolution?
Ousha: The revolution put an end to corruption. There has to be a new trustworthy government to let justice prevail.
Al-Masry: What would you do if you were president?
Ousha: I'd let justice prevail, increase retirement compensation for all the elderly, and make Egypt the best country in the world.
Al-Masry: Does the character in the ad resemble you?
Ousha: No. In real life … you never play on single-player.
Al-Masry: Do you play PlayStation in real life?
Ousha: Yes, but I'm not a pro.