Shadia Bseiso, a Jordanian versed in jiu-jitsu, dreams of encouraging more Arab women to take up sports.
“Female athletes are finally getting the credit they deserve. The world is more open to that, and in terms of how the region will react to it, I’m hoping its going to be very positive,” said Bseiso.
While women exercising in public is rare in the Arab world and the local entertainment industry often relegates them to docile roles, big companies such as Nike have stepped up advertising geared towards female athletes.
Bseiso said she made sure to tell her parents in person about her career choice.
After announcing she would join the WWE ranks, they paused in disbelief for a moment, she said, worried for her safety in the often-bruising shows. However, they supported her fully.
She now heads to the company’s Orlando, Florida, training centre for gruelling in-ring training and what WWE calls “character development” - transformation into one of their trademark big personalities.