Name: Mena Massoud
Mena Massoud was born into a Coptic Chrstian Orthodox family – which included not only his parents but two older sisters (Margot and Marian) as well – in Cairo, Egypt. When he was three and a half years old, his family found a new home in Canada to create a better life. The Massoud family moved to Markham, Ontario, Canada. Young Mena would create performances while re-enacting movies such as Mrs. Doubtfire, Rush Hour, and Miss Congeniality around the house; which fed his love of performing, including starring in Peter Pan in elementary school. He was a huge admirer of Egyptian comedy films and comedians Ismail Yassine and Adel Emam, which helped him create a different kind of performance for himself to help him stand out. Mena attended St. Brother Andrè Catholic High School, where he was the head of the school’s improv team. Mena was also a member of the Ontario Basketball Association while in high school. After high school, he attended the University of Toronto, majoring in neuroscience before transferring to Ryerson University to major in theater performance.
In 2011, he broke into acting professionally with his first television appearance on the show Nikita, starring Maggie Q. Mena also had a recurring role on Poser as Bretten Thomason and had appearances on Combat Hospital, as well as voicing a few roles on The 99. 2012 brought another recurring role, this time as Jason on Cut to the Chase. He also appeared on the show King as Malik that year.
2015 brought Mena onto Nickelodeon as Jason on Open Heart, a show revolving around Dylan Blake and her family’s Open Heart hospital. He also had his first taste of film with his first role in Let’s Rap as John. He voiced his first video game character in 2016 with Watch Dogs 2 before landing a guest role on the popular show Saving Hope in 2017, with a follow up movie Ordinary Days that same year.
In 2018, Mena was announced at the Disney D23 Expo that he would be playing the role of Aladdin in the live-action version of the Disney animated classic, by the same name. While excitement was stirring up for the film that also included Naomi Scott and Will Smith, Mena’s next recurring role on television would be coming, thanks to Amazon Prime’s streaming service with Tom Clancey’s Jack Ryan, playing Tarek Kassar alongside John Krasinski and Timothy Hutton.
2019 would bring Mena his biggest year to date. Leading off with a bang, Aladdin was released in theaters on May 24th and would gross over $1 billion worldwide. Over the summer, he would be nominated for four awards – a Teen Choice Award, two National Film + TV Awards, and a GQ Men of the Year Award – and won one – Breakthrough Talent at the GQ Men of the Year Awards.
Strange but True, a film adaptation of the novel by John Searles, would be released, also starring Greg Kinnear, Nick Robinson, and Amy Ryan. Also in September, he would be announced as Egypt’s ambassador for “Talk Egyptian” (Etkalem Masry), an initiative launched by the Egyptian ministry in an effort to preserve Egyptian identity. Mena launched his Ethnically Diverse Artists Foundation to support the talented artists in underrepresented groups break into the business in Canada and Los Angeles. After launching his foundation and becoming an ambassador for “Talk Egyptian,” his next project Reprisal hit the Hulu streaming service on December 6th, also starring Abigail Spencer.
2020 will bring Run This Town, a film revolving around a political scandal in 2013 Toronto through the eyes of staffers at the city hall and newspaper, also starring Ben Platt and Nina Dobrev. He is also currently working on the animated fantasy film Lamya’s Poem, voicing the character Rumi.
Outside of acting, he’s passionate about staying active and healthy. He is vegan and is the founder of the plant-based food travel show Evolving Vegan. He also has a passion for recreational horseback riding and the environment.