“Climbing was never a decision, it was a calling.” That was a declaration 29-year-old Raha Moharrak made in conversation with Vogue Arabia. On May 2013, Moharrak made history as the first Saudi woman to conquer Mount Everest. At 25, she shattered two records in one by also being the youngest Arab to reach the summit of the world’s highest mountain. Born in Jeddah, the Dubai-based art director— who started climbing only five years ago— has conquered eight summits including Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa.
When she’s not striding her way up 8,848 meters with an enviable head of chocolate-colored locks, the trailblazing athlete can be found starring in campaigns for renowned international brands such as Burberry and Nike. As for her hobbies, the jet-setting adventurer opts for more relaxing activities. “In my downtime, I like to read and go to the beach,” she says. That is, when she isn’t temple-hopping in Cambodia or trekking through the muddy Amazonian jungles.
So what’s next for somebody who’s physically and metaphysically been on top of the world? Asides from overtaking the Seven Summits (she’s down to her last one,) the 29-year old’s checklist ranges from very ambitious (going to space) to relatively simple (to live happily.) “The craziest goal I have ever set for myself is writing a book,” she says. “Being extremely dyslexic, I can tell you this will probably be the most challenging yet rewarding adventure of all.”
Titled “For All Us Dreamers,” (set to hit shelves in 2017) the novel is “the story of a Saudi woman who endeavored to touch the sky,” she says. In writing the book, Moharrak’s only hope is that she will be able to inspire the next generation of Arab women to go after their dreams. Indeed, climbing a mountain is a challenge in itself, but hailing from a strict, conservative country meant that Moharrak was breaking barriers and rebelling against society. “I want to show the world a side of Arab women that they probably wouldn’t otherwise see,” she began, “It’s also a way of hopefully changing mentalities—whether it’s a female’s personal belief in herself or her father’s acceptance of her dreams.”