Alison Sweeney, who's returning as Days of our Lives' Sami Brady next week, is a jack of all trades, having already added actress, model, author, and host to her résumé. And now she can add journalist to the list, because she just authored an op-ed piece for CNN.
The California native took pen to paper (or perhaps fingers to keyboard) to write a piece about her encounter with Syrian refugee Nujeen Mustafa, who confessed to reporters that she learned English by watching DAYS. The 16-year-old's story was so inspiring, Sweeney and her former costar James Scott (ex-E.J. DiMera) reunited to film a special segment for the girl. And now the beloved actress is sharing what happened afterward.
"A few days ago, I was able to finally speak with Nujeen on the phone. It is really hard for me to put into words how it felt talking with her," Sweeney writes. "She didn't really want to discuss what she had been through. I asked her what she thought when she saw the ocean for the first time and she laughed, saying it was beautiful. While she shared with me a few things that were tough, it was what she didn't say that affected me. She had no interest in dwelling on the negative. Nujeen wanted to squeal about Sami and EJ, she wanted to tell me about her favorite scenes and how devastated she was when EJ died. She brushed aside the idea that she learned to read and write on her own because she wasn't allowed to go to school. She told me that I taught her to speak English. I apologized for all the curse words."
The actress continues, "I found out later she's been using her language skills to help others from her country communicate in the refugee camps. This incredibly bright girl, who had never been allowed a formal education in Syria, conquered the Internet in a matter of days upon arriving in Germany. She joined Twitter and posted a YouTube video in which she shared her reaction to our conversation and she used it as an opportunity to wish strength, courage and inspiration to others.
"Nujeen has profoundly affected my life. As the mother of two young children, I cannot fathom the struggles she has faced in her short lifetime. She told me that when she was sad or scared, watching 'Days' would always brighten her. I cannot begin to imagine what those words mean to someone in her shoes. She had me laughing about how angry and emotional my character often was and promised that even though she was going to have to watch a new show to learn German, DAYS would always be her favorite."
To read Sweeney's entire CNN article, click here.
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