Q&A with hula hooping expert Marawa Ibrahim

19 February 2018 by
First published: 17 February 2018

Q&A with hula hooping expert Marawa Ibrahim

Hula hooping expert turned agony aunt, Marawa Ibrahim is a woman with her fingers in many pies. Best known by her circus name Marawa the Amazing, the seasoned acrobat has eight world-records to her name, leads a hula-hoop troupe called The Majorettes and teaches classes across London. But despite being one of the most solicited circus performers worldwide, it’s her most recent departure from hoop to pen that has set tongues wagging.

Self-help manual The Girl Guide may be Marawa’s first book, but it’s already making waves. Tackling the issues that girls face during puberty – from periods to heartbreak, and all the spots in between – its 50 lessons, anecdotes and stories are comical, frank, and much needed. Marawa, who in her teenage years was told she was too chubby to succeed as a performer, says writing her book was like writing to her younger self. We took five to talk hooping, fitness, and being a woman in today’s world.

How did you get into hula hooping? What was your first experience of it?

In the playground like most kids! But I wasn’t a natural – I remember being quite frustrated with it for a while!

What is it about hula hooping that you love?

Pretty much everything about it. It combines everything I love – great music, great colour combinations (you can tape a hoop any colour), it’s active, you get to keep fit and move around and the hoop itself is such a nice shape!

Do you view hula hooping as a sport or a performance?

Both – I perform with hoops, but I also think it’s a sport. You can exercise with hoops and also compete with them.

You hold a number of Guinness World Records and performed at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics. What’s been the highlight of your hula hooping career so far?

Breaking the world record for spinning the most hoops was the highlight. I had tried to do it for years so I was super happy when I finally did!

Your first book, The Girl Guide, tackles the issues surrounding girls and puberty. Why was it important for you to write about this?

When I was growing up I wanted a book like this and I couldn’t find anything. It was such a confusing time, so when I wrote the book it felt really easy to write – I knew all the things I wanted to point out and say. It was almost like writing to my younger self saying ‘it’s going to be ok’. Which of course I wasn’t so sure about at the time.

Why do you think girls have a harder time growing up in this generation compared to others?

The internet. I can’t imagine growing up and going through all those awkward phases and then having it all recorded online. And also what you see – even if you are not trying to see it – the internet is wild.

What are the key messages to take from the book?

Things might feel crazy right now, and you may feel like the only person in the world who has felt this way before or had a period disaster before. But we have ALL been there and you will get through it. Virtual reality is just that, it’s not real, and it’s important to understand your real body and love that above and beyond anything else!

What do you hope to achieve with the book?

An alternative version of how to survive puberty – not one covered in pink flowers and pages filled with rose tinted versions of how everything goes. A real version, that explains in detail all the things that happen. And through this I hope that it will provide this generation with a lot more knowledge and awareness of their bodies and how they work. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!

The Girl Guide is available at amazon.co.uk.

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