Arab women are continuing to shatter stereotypes and break new ground. In the past couple of weeks,Raha Moharrak became the first Saudi woman to sign on as a brand ambassador of Tag Heuer, Emirati figure skater Zahra Lahri made headlines as the first UAE athlete to make the Winter Olympics, and Ahd Kamel became the first Saudi woman to land a major role in a Netflix series.
The latest to challenge perceptions about Arab women is Shadia Bseiso, who has made history by becoming the first Middle Eastern woman to sign up to professional wrestling organization, WWE. The Jordanian athlete was selected from 40 competitors to join the WWE’s international roster following UAE try outs in April.
Her historic role on the global stage (read: wrestling ring) should come naturally to the jiu jitsu fighter, who is also a television presenter in Dubai. Indeed, Bseiso is reshaping the future for female wrestlers around the world. Wrestling has traditionally been a male-dominated sport, especially in our region. While there have been a few wrestlers from the Middle East in the WWE in the past, there has never been a female Arab representative.
“It is an honor to be the first-ever woman from the Middle East to sign with WWE,” said Bseiso. “I have personally witnessed the power of WWE and the passion of WWE fans. I look forward to starting on my path to becoming a WWE superstar.”
Bseiso isn’t the only athlete in her family. The 30-year-old is the younger sister of national boxing champion and newly-minted Nike ambassador, Arifa Bseiso – who featured alongside other game-changing Arab athletes in the pages of Vogue Arabia’s inaugural September issue.
Those who want to follow the athlete’s journey can tune into OSN’s one-hour special with behind-the-scenes footage from the Dubai try outs. The program is set to air on OSN Sports Action 1 HD this November.