Nike celebrates Arab women athletes in new ad
Nike launched a bold new ad campaign that celebrates female athletes from the Middle East and explores the challenges young Arab women aspiring to a professional sporting career may face.
The global label cherry-picked five pro and sporting aficionados from a range of disciplines, including parkour trainer Amal Mourad, boxer Arifa Bseiso, fencer Inès Boubakri, singer Balqees Fathi, and figure skater Zahra Lari to star in a short film that explores the question “What will they say about you?” narrated by Saudi artist Fatima Al-Banawi.
Zahra Lari, the first Emirati figure skater, is one of the featured athletes. Dubbed as the “Ice Princess” of the United Arab Emirates, she has gracefully glided and jumped over obstacles put forward by her own community.
“People thought it’s dancing. In front of men, that’s not acceptable,” Lari tells in an interview.
She is shattering not only the gender norms within her country but also disrupting the Western perception of Arab women.
“I am covered, I am Muslim, I am from a desert country, but I am doing a winter sport and it’s fine,” Lari told Nike. She aspires to become a role model through persistence and stamina.
Campaigns from sporting giants like Nike, Adidas and Under Armour have been credited with encouraging more women to participate in sports and fitness. The Nike+ Training Club recently saw more than half a million women worldwide get involved in the sport, including in regions where women wouldn’t typically exercise or wear athletic clothing.