Maryam Hassouni / Maryam Hassouni – What the Fuck

Maryam Hassouni – What the Fuck

Maryam Hassouni – What the Fuck

About the book

Maryam Hassouni rises to fame at only fifteen and ends up being the first Dutch actress to win an Emmy. Over the years she plays a wide range of characters. She enjoys her work, but is often surprised to find the same clichéd stories being told over and over again – stories she can’t relate to at all. Slowly it dawns on Maryam that for her, the movie industry has become synonymous with destruction and misery. Even though she wants to be an actor, she finds it becomes impossible for her to continue. She goes to college and decides to start writing her own stories. When she is offered a major part in a TV show and decides, against her better judgment, to go for it, things go badly wrong. It’s not until years later, when she reads the case file detailing her allegations and the resulting investigation and is confronted with the lies and twisted facts, that she knows for sure: ‘It’s not me who’s sick—the system is sick.’

Excerpt from What the Fuck:

‘Maryam, this role isn’t about you, so stop taking everything so personally,’ I’d be told, and ‘you’re not like other Moroccans’ and ‘you’re modern’ and ‘don’t think about what you would do, think about what the average Moroccan woman would do.’

I felt dirty and used and I was ashamed of the image I was supposed to portray: negative, unloved, aggressive, passive. I felt ashamed around my colleagues and crew members. Did they think that’s what I was like too, just because I’m Moroccan? Because the Moroccan culture I know is completely different. Or were they right, did they have a better sense of who I was than I did? If Dutch people thought that I was the kind of person I portrayed on screen, I had to fix that shit. But how was I supposed to do that if no one was listening?

At the age of twenty, I didn’t know much, but I knew I didn't want to be what they were turning me into. I was more than that—all Moroccan women were much more than that.


MARYAM HASSOUNI (b. 1985) made her acting debut at the age of fifteen. After a brilliant career and a degree in English Literature she decided to focus on her writing. She has previously published a children’s book.

© Keke Keukelaar

Additional book information

  • Memoir
  • ISBN 9789403188010
  • Number of pages: 240
  • World rights: De Bezige Bij
  • Price: €21,99