Zeina, born Wessam Reda Ismail El-Degwi in Cairo in 1977, began her career as an actress and model, appearing in music video clips in the mid-nineties. She also presented programmes for the Jeddah-based Arab Radio and Television.
In 1999, Daoud Abdel Saeed gave her a shot at her movie debut in Ard El Kof (Land of Fear), and Zeina was born with her adoption of her stage name.
Zeina has appeared in at least 13 movies since then, as well as a smattering of TV shows, including an award-winning role in the series Hdrat El Motaham Aby (My Father the Accused).
Zeina's movie highlights include starring alongside Egyptian pop star Tama Hosny in both the 2005 drama Sayed El Atefy and the 2008 musical football comedy Captain Hima, and sharing the screen with big-hitting Egyptian action star Ahmed Mohamed Salah El-Sakka in the 2007 crime drama El Gezeira (The Island).
She has attracted comparisons to a number of Hollywood stars over the course of her career. Director Youssef Chahine described her as "The Sofia Loren of Arabs" after seeing her performance in 2005's El Haya fe Montaha el Laza (The Joys of Life), while actor Ahmed Zaki, one of the true greats of Egyptian cinema, compared her to Penelope Cruz after the pair worked together on Zeina's 1999 debut.