'Having our hearts beat together despite the distance, is invaluable' - A Heart-to-heart with Turkish Star GÜLSIM ALI

'Having our hearts beat together despite the distance, is invaluable' - A Heart-to-heart with Turkish Star GÜLSIM ALI

Happy girls are the prettiest and the Turkish beauty Gülsim Ali has this quality of bedazzling anyone with her gorgeous smile and delightful demeanour – she certainly has worked her magic up on the Pakistani audience, first through the extremely popular drama Diriliş: Ertuğrul as Aslıhan Hatun and now with her latest drama Gönül Dağı. Call her lucky, call her hard working or just call her persistent, she’s certainly on her way to capturing the top spot at the marquee with verve and zest. Whether it’s her gorgeous grin, her infallible personality or her spunky aura, she’s just a veritable hit with the fans.

We had been trying to make this shoot happen with the beautiful and talented actress for months and finally got together with Gülsim for our first digital cover and we couldn’t have thought of anyone better than her and her fans in Pakistan and otherwise will surely agree. Maintaining a perfect balance of shine and substance in her reel and real life respectively, Gülsim has carved a comfy spot in the hearts of her Pakistani fans – the actress has revealed her plans of visiting the country, favourite Pakistani actors and a lot more in a blockbuster chat…

Hello Gülsim. Pleasure to have you on our cover this month. Tell us a little about yourself: Where were you born and where did you grow up?

I was born in Ruse, a small city in Bulgaria, as the middle child of a family of Turkish origin. I have an older sister and a younger brother. My mother and father are engaged in commerce, and they have been working ever since I could remember. Despite all that rush, I have never seen them complaining or not standing by us whenever we needed. I think it is the best way to sum up my childhood in this sentence: ‘I had a beautiful childhood in a family wrapped with love living in Ruse, a tiny Bulgarian city’.

Outfit: Cihan Nacar; Accessories: GoodThings;  Shoes: Özkan Aslan

What about your education? Was acting something you always wanted to do, or did you have other plans?

In fact, in secondary school years I considered being a dentist since my father wanted me to become a dentist. However, a series of unexpected things happened later, and everything radically changed all of a sudden. I used to be taller than my peers in secondary school years as well and in time, I started walking with a hunch unknowingly. Thinking that it would become a problem in future, my father registered me for a modelling course to teach me how to walk properly and correct my posture, and everything happened afterwards. A beauty competition and the title of the most beautiful girl of Bulgaria… Then the world beauty contest in Brazil… the first major disappointment… I couldn't make it to the top spot. But when I look back from my current place, I say “how good that I couldn't win”. If I had won, I might not have been here, but God knows, acting was my first love. It had been my first love long before my father impressed the idea of dentistry upon me. It was my childhood dream, believe me though, nothing has been as easy as I am writing here though. First, I came to Turkey, my homeland I always dreamt of, for which I needed to convince my family. I re-acquired my mother tongue, to which I was a stranger, a foreigner. I had acting training for years, got rejected at many auditions but never gave up. My family’s constant support was the biggest motivation for me through this process, I promised them. Happily, now I am proud of having fulfilled the promise I made.

Suit: Si Causeway

What did you have in mind when you first become an actress? With what motivation did you want to be an actor? Did you find what you hoped? What is the hardest part of fame?

Actually, all I wanted was to be there on that screen in one of the TV series I was watching. At first it was a childish dream, but then I wanted it so much, I believed that I would succeed, I worked hard to achieve the dream, without giving up and without losing my faith. People want to see and love you as they want. They want everything to be as exactly as they want to see you, from your dressing to lifestyle, but unfortunately it is not possible to please everyone and all the time. In all in all, I have a private life apart from my profession, and my own preferences.

Outfit: Cihan Nacar; Necklace: Lila Luxury;  Bracelet: Bayemeyc; Shoes: Özkan Aslan

We’ve seen you in a few dramas but your role in Diriliş: Ertuğrul, is what introduced you to the Pakistani audience — what kind of roles do you see yourself doing in the future? 

I am a young actor and so enthusiastic for my profession that I want to play any role as long as I believe in and like the script. As I have just mentioned above, I watched a lot of TV series in my childhood, mostly historical ones. I used to watch them with admiration. I wanted to be one of them, so much so that it became my destiny. Most of the TV series I starred in were historical and period shows. (Smiles)

Suit; Si Causeway

Any chance of a collaboration with Pakistani entertainment industry? Any favourite Pakistani actors you’d love to share screen space with?

We haven't had the chance to cooperate with the Pakistani entertainment industry yet, but I had the opportunity to work with one of the top brands of Pakistani fashion industry, dear Maria B. In fact, there are so many similarities between the two nations; the people of both countries are very friendly. The whole team, especially Maria, was great. We had the opportunity to work with my dear Ayeza Khaan in one of the works we did with her, and thus, I made a very good friend. Ayeza is a wonderful woman. We have a saying in Turkish: The beauty of her heart is reflected on her face. It perfectly describes Ayeza. I also wanna say she is much prettier than she appears on the screen and social media.

Jacket: Zala Alpaslan;  Corset: Cnswomen;   Earring: Lila Luxury

The Pakistani audience loved your role as Aslihan Hatun in the series Diriliş: Ertuğrul. How strongly do you identify with this character you play? 

All the characters I played left their mark on me, but Aslıhan has a distinct place. She is a strong, intelligent, resolute character. I sometimes watch reruns of the episodes, and I adore her all over again. It's a feeling (sensation) that's hard to describe, as if it wasn't me. In fact, Aslıhan Hatun's comportments and attitudes were reflected in my life for a while, I always relate a memory whenever the subject comes up. When I got my driver's license, the show was still airing, and we went out by car to show my family around Istanbul. I was a novice driver, so excited to have my family with me, my father was sitting in the next seat. I was confused over which route to take and stopped, and honking started coming from the cars behind us. I didn't know what to do out of panic, so opened the window and started shouting stuff out of window to the drivers. My father grabbed my arm and told, ‘calm down, you are not Aslıhan Hatun’. Sometimes I get carried away.

Jacket: Stylist Product;  Necklace: Bayemeyc

What to you are the ideals of beauty in a woman? Name three famous women who inspire you and why?

Every woman who is comfortable in her skin is beautiful. I don't think it has anything to do with appearance, weight or height. Every woman who has self-respect, believes in herself, and manages to stand on her own feet is beautiful. Talent is a very important factor too. Even if a woman or a man is not considered very beautiful by common standards, she or he can fascinate everyone around, including you, with her or his talent so much that you would be surprised. Beauty is temporary. I am a person who favours naturalness. I try to take time for myself as much as possible. My three female colleagues who have influenced me the most are Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence and Angelina Jolie. Successful women with talent, beauty and intelligence.

Outfit: Cihan Nacar; Necklace: Lila Luxury;  Bracelet: Bayemeyc;  Shoes; Özkan Aslan

In your view, why do you think Diriliş: Ertuğrul resonates with the Pakistani audience? Would you like to give the Pakistani audience a message?

Our roots and culture show similarities in many respects. I noticed this affinity from the Pakistani audience's reaction to the drama when it started airing in Pakistan. Later, when I had Pakistani friends, I witnessed it with my own eyes. We are very similar – probably thanks to the cross-cultural similarity, the series Diriliş Ertuğrul has caught and made both the Pakistani and the Turkish audience tune in, and it has become very popular.

You have a huge fan following in Pakistan. Are you planning on visiting the country soon? What makes you the most curious about the country?

After the show was broadcast, a huge Pakistani fan base started following me on social media. Aslıhan Hatun really has a huge fandom in Pakistan. It excites me. It is a great pleasure for me to be liked so much in Pakistan. Actually, I had planned to visit the country for a cooperation last summer and we would go to the Skardu Valley, which I was very curious about. It was a 10-day program, but we started the shooting of a new feature film and unfortunately it was not possible to match the dates due to some unforeseen disruptions in the program. But I hope this summer, I will get the chance to make the visit. I won't make a promise for exact dates, but a visit to Pakistan is at the forefront of my 2022 plans... (Smiles)

When you stay with yourself, as Gülsim, what makes you happy, what excites you the most, what occupations make you feel good? 

Spending time with my beloved ones makes me very happy, I blow off steam. I live away from my family for a long time so we don't get together much but talk every day and keep each other posted about everything. I wake up, I am here and there, I work, travel, sleep etc. It has been the routine for years, our bond with each other has never been broken. I love Istanbul, enjoy driving and listening to loud music. When I spend time at home, I cook, don't think about anything. I focus on the food while cooking, it relaxes me a lot. At that moment, the only thing I care about is whether the food will be delicious and liked. (Smiles) Lastly, I love putting make-up on. Researching on make-up and care products and buying new products is one of my favourite things. It must be a sort of disease, I have a lot of makeup products but still can't get enough of them, and I love them all.

Outfit: Cihan Nacar;  Necklace: Lila Luxury; Bracelet: Bayemeyc; Shoes: Özkan Aslan

You play the character of 'Dilek' in Gönül Dağı, one of the most watched series on TRT 1. How are the shootings coming along?

Gönül Dağı is the new apple of our eye. It has been by far the most watched TV series of the day for two years since it was first broadcast. It is TRT's new phenomenal series. Of course, I am happy and proud to portray 'Dilek', the female lead character. The series has been getting great reactions from the audience since the very first day; however, it is not a coincidence, of course, we work hard and get exhausted, sometimes we are pushed more than enough because we are not used to the conditions, but when the broadcast day comes and the watching rates are seen the next day, all the tiredness goes away.

 

Outfit: Cihan Nacar; Necklace: Lila Luxury; Bracelet: Bayemeyc;  Shoes: Özkan Aslan

RAPID FIRE

Describe yourself in 3 words

Logic, justice, loyalty

Who do you admire the most?

My dear mother. She goes to work, does all the housework herself, raised 3 children in her youth without any help, and although she is far from all three of us now, she is very strong and standing upright for us. God bless her????

What is your favourite song? 

Celine Dion- My Heart Will Go On, in English

What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?

Intelligence, politeness and respect

What do you think your spirit animal would be and why? 

I thought of it before, but when I saw this question, I solved a test and the result is a dolphin. The description reads: ‘You are naive, fragile and sensitive. In short, you are a lively, free and beloved person as your soulmate dolphin.’

What is one of the things you would put on your ‘bucket’ list? 

Pakistan visit... (Smiles)

Outfit: Cihan Nacar; Accessories: GoodThings;  Shoes: Özkan Aslan

What is your favourite movie quote? 

I want to quote from a book, The Alchemist, which I like very much: ‘When you really want something, the whole universe cooperates to make it happen’

What foods do you dislike?

I don't like food with too much bitterness, and I don't plan to eat any seafood other than fish and mussels for the rest of my life...

Weirdest thing you ever asked Google? 

‘In what year Gülsim Ali was born?’ Why would someone ask Google for her birth date, right?.. To admit,  if there weren't people celebrating my birthday on an unrelated date, I would never have thought to search Google. I searched for my date of birth and found out I had different birth dates on many sites.

If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you? 

If a biography of mine is shot, I would like a very strong woman to play me. Since we’re only dreaming, Jenifer Lawrence should play me then

What was the last film you watched? 

Don't look up, in digital, / Dune, in theatre.

What fashion trend do you just not get? 

I don't understand the Crop Top fashion at all, for example, sweatpants are huge but also so short... it makes no sense to me.

What is your best childhood memory? 

I had a good childhood; technology was not so advanced in my time. We used to play Barbie games all the time, build up houses for dolls out of cardboard. I remember them. When I was at school, I used to put chips under my desk in class and secretly pop them in my mouth when the teacher turned his back. I guess that was the biggest mischief I've ever done.

What is one item you could never live without? 

I can't think of such an item, but I can't do without dessert – my favorite thing in life is eating dessert. Chocolate, cake, waffle... no matter what I do, I can't break away and stop myself from eating.

Jacket: Stylist Product; Necklace: Bayemeyc

Your greatest achievement? 

My profession

Your advice to your future self? 

Be confident and don't give up regardless of what happens

Greatness or happiness? 

Happiness, of course, when a person is not happy, nothing has a real taste. Everything feels empty

Message to your HELLO! followers... 

We've been trying to set up this shoot for you for a long time. It is an honour for me to receive so much praise and be admired by you. As I mentioned above, I have always believed in myself and wanted people to believe in me and what I could do, I worked hard for it, I feel to have achieved it thanks to you. Having our hearts beat together despite the distance is invaluable. Be yourself, don't pay attention to people who want to deter you. I didn't listen, I didn't care what they said, I just kept walking on the path I believed in. I faced my fears, continued to do what I knew and trust myself. Do not doubt yourself and do follow your dreams.

Outfit: Cihan Nacar; Necklace: Lila Luxury; Bracelet: Bayemeyc; Shoes: Özkan Aslan

Interview: Sundus  Unsar Raja @sundusunsar

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Photographer: Nadir Özkan @nadirozkan

Videographer: Okan Aysalar @okanaysalar

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