INSIDE/OUT: NAMSHI X NIKE WOMEN

INSIDE/OUT: NAMSHI X NIKE WOMEN

'What'll they say about you?' A common phrase young Arab girls have been facing all their lives when it comes to their personal passions and endevours. For many years in this region, women in sport have not been encouraged or celebrated, but questioned for their choices - but Nike has set out to change that. In their recent hard-hitting campaign, the sports giant teamed up with inspiring young athletes from the Middle East, to create a film that speaks to and encourages women to keep a fighting spirit, and go beyond what it expected of them. 

Here at Namshi, we spoke to four of the women- each of which take the 'What'll they say about you' mentality and use it to push boundaries, break moulds and banish stereotypes by becoming pioneers in their sport. Watch our video and meet Zahra Lari, Nadine Schtakleff, Yasmin Baker and Amna Al Marri, telling you what their sport means to them and why you should always just keep on doing it

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Zahra Lari, Figure Skater

How long have you been practicing your sport?
9 years!

How did you first discover you were interested in figure skating?
When I was 12 years old, I watched the Disney movie Ice Princess and I fell in love with figure skating. I told my mom I wanted to try it. At the beginning she said no, so I asked my dad and he took me to the ice skating rink the next day after school - I’ve been skating ever since. 

What do you love most about your sport? 
I love the speed, the jumps and the power that it gives me. 

What keeps you motivated? 
What keeps me going, even when I get so tired is thinking of my goals and where I want to reach in the future. Now I’m thinking of the Olympics. Thinking about the gold medal. Even if I fall 20 times, so what?I keep trying as being consistent at jumps is so important.

As a woman in sport, what message do you want to give to others girls? 
I want to tell the young girls that I wish for them to find their passion, to not let small obstacles seem like mountains, to strive for their own betterment, to not see the differences in people but only their likenesses, to feel confident, strong and believe in themselves.

What do you want to prove through your sport?
It really isn't about proving anything. It's about taking what is my right to take. I am fortunate to have found my passion in this sport and work very hard each day. I hope that all young ladies find their passion and do the same. Nothing is given freely, you must work for it. 

How did you find your support network whilst growing up?
When I have a bad day my whole family and parents especially always there for me. What I appreciate about them is that they have always told me that if the day comes that I want to stop skating, I can stop. 

What are your personal goals for 2017?
My personal goals for 2017 are to continue to improve my technical points and qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Nadine Schtakleff, Football player & Athlete. Striker for Dubai Football Club

How long have you been practicing your sport?
For as long as i can remember. I started playing football at a very young age, 7 or 8 maybe. I started taking it seriously after joining my university team in Lebanon, then moved on to take it professionally once I captained the Lebanese national team and a first division club team. I then moved on to playing for a professional club in Abu Dhabi.

How did you first discover you were interested in your football?
I believe my turning point as a child was when I was the only girl asked to join the boys team back in school. Needless to say I kicked butt. That interest still follows me til today. 

What do you love most about your sport?
How comfortable I am with it and how comfortable it is with me. The most confident I feel is on the field. Autopilot kicks in and it feels amazing to be certain of what you can give out there, whether I play well or not, win or lose.

What keeps you motivated?
I won’t lie, staying motivated isn’t really the easiest thing. Matter of fact it’s one of the hardest. Going through lows and bad slumps is very common, its almost necessary for any athlete to be humbled and challenged physically and mentally. Its knowing that there is an ending to that slump, be it having a great game or pulling one good move that tells you “you still got it”, it's what gets you hooked and keeps you going. Also, winning it’s great! That feeling of success is incomparable.

How did you find your support network whilst growing up?
This is the answer that most people will give, not because it’s the cliché but because it’s the truth. Those encouraging words from your parents and friends is the main initial support that every child needs to hear. Then the support circle grows wider to include your coaches, team mates and even your competitors.

As a woman in sport, what message do you want to give to other girls?
If you're thinking it in the first place that means you believe you can do it. Don’t take no for an answer, the response or consequences are not as bad as you believe them to be.

What do you want to prove through your sport?
I dont want to prove anything. I play football or any other sport because it satisfies me. If anything - I just need to prove to myself that I can keep competing with myself, and I can be the best version of me.

What are your personal goals for 2017?
To be happy. I’m not one to sit down and put a list of things I want to accomplish. Good things come in due time, I will just be there happily welcoming all new experiences.

AMNA AL MARRI, RUNNER

How long have you been practicing your sport?
I started getting into boxing in 2012, followed by Crossfit. I started running in late 2014.

What do you love most about your sport?
It can be done indoors or outdoors, with a group, or solo. It suits all ages and it doesn't matter if you're a beginner or  have been doing it for a while.

How did you find your support network whilst growing up?
I got support from everyone. Family, friends, gyms, brands and initiatives.

As a woman in sport, what message do you want to give to others girls?
Don't be afraid of trying. Don't build impressions in your head about things you have never tried. Take the first step and it will lead you towards what works better for you. You will fall in love with it and you will never stop.

What do you want to prove through your sport?
That God put us on this earth to achieve something. To make it better. So lets start with ourselves, then let's help others and make this a better world - a healthier one.

What are your personal goals for 2017?
Write a book about eating clean and open up healthy cafes in public places.

YASMIN BAKER, AERIAL SILKS PROFESSIONAL

How long have you been practicing your sport?
Around 8 years but have been teaching for almost 2

How did you first discover you were interested/talented in your sport?
I had always been fascinated with athletes, and was always athletically inclined myself. As a child I enjoyed movement and trying new activities- it was a great way to expand my horizons and discover new skills (or lack there of). I was first introduced to aerial dance when attending 'human circus performances. I was so intrigued, but it was always just an interest at the back of my head. It was only when I took a dance class in University that I actually attended my first aerial class. It just so happened that my dance professor's wife was an aerialist and aerial instructor- so she gave me my first (torturous) session.

What do you love most about your sport?
I love that it retains the fun element, but is still a challenge. And it instills many life skills- patience, confidence, focus, trust in your body, overcoming fears, getting yourself out of tricky situations, accepting that improvement is not a slow process, creativity and again, its just fun. Whenever I am training with a group or have a session with students, we're just a ball of laughter (and sweat and burns and bruises, too!)

What keeps you motivated? 
What keeps me motivated is the fact that it is so fun, but has never felt like a chore. I am not a competitive person, but I am driven, and although some people thrive off seeing fast advancement. I actually think that for me, that detracts from just the experience of learning aerial dance as a skill. You are not competing with others, or not really with yourself. You are just allowed to be creative and 'play.' I really like that no pressure style and try to use it in my sessions to encourage my students.

How did you find your support network whilst growing up?
My support mostly came from my instructors and the aerial community I was surrounded by; my fellow students, top aerialists etc. I am self-driven and self-motivated and usually prefer to push myself rather than to rely externally for that, because it may not always be there when you feel you need it. One of the reasons I like my sport is because it is a very personal thing, I can plug in my earphones, do my stretches and it's just me.

As a woman in sport, what message do you want to give to others girls?
Be curious. I love trying new things, finding what suits me and what doesn't, what I like and what I don't. I think having that curiosity accelerates my growth as a person.

What do you want to prove through your sport?
I don't necessarily want to prove anything through my support. I  want to welcome people, welcome their curiosity, encourage them to try different things. You have nothing to lose by doing that, you either gain a new interest or a good learning experience.

What are your personal goals for 2017?
For me, 2017 is hopefully going to be more balanced, more present, more centered.

WATCH THE FULL NIKE CAMPAIGN VIDEO HERE.

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