Saudi mountaineer, Raha Moharrak talks with the media in Kathmandu on May 21, 2013, after summitting Mount Everest. Raha Moharrak reached the summit of Nepal’s Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, in a first for the conservative Muslim kingdom where women’s sports are severely restricted. AFP PHOTO/Prakash MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
This week Emirates Woman hosted an In Conversation session with the inspiring author and intrepid adventurer Raha Moharrak at a bespoke event at the Burberry store in Mall of the Emirates.
She was the first Saudi and youngest Arab woman to ever climb Mount Everest and was recently the star of Burberry’s exclusive Middle East Art of the Trench campaign, to say Raha Moharrak is a trailblazer for women in the region is an understatement.
Raha Moharrak became the first Saudi woman to ever climb Everest
To celebrate her achievements and also to get a greater insight into success Emirates Woman’s Group Editor Sophia Serin interviewed Raha Moharrak about her expeditions, life lessons and style choices at a bespoke event at Mall of the Emirate’s Burberry store. The event was attended by 30 specially selected VIP guests.
Raha Moharrak in the Burberry campaign
As well as celebrating Raha’s achievements, the event also supported 10KSA – a foundation launched by HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud and D. Modia Batterjee, DHC, IBCLC, to raise awareness about holistic health issues.
Previously working at an advertising agency, Raha’s life changed the day she summited Kilimanjaro and challenged herself, her society, and culture. Eight summits later, and with a thirst for adventure, she found herself tackling Mount Everest in 2013, making history in the process – she was the first Saudi woman to stand on top of the world.
The young beauty, who isn’t even 30 yet, has since been the inspiration for fashion (Burberry) and even commercial campaigns. For the latter she used her artistic skills to design a limited edition range of Coca Cola bottles. Her inspiration? The mountains, of course, along with her powerful motto: “Our dreams are only the beginning”
On negative people
No matter what the haters say, they can’t deny me the space I occupy in their minds. Even if they forget my name or what I look like, they know that a Saudi woman has been on top of the world, so my job is done.
On climbing the biggest mountain in the world
Princess Reem took 10 Saudi girls to the Everest base camp and I was one of them. When I got to Everest for the first time, at base camp I knew that one day, I would be standing up there – I just knew it.
On convincing her parents she was going to climb the mountain
Any father let alone a Saudi father would be like, ‘what are you thinking?’ It took a long time, a lot of conversations and a lot of arguments. I showed my dad a video before I climbed Everest and he said: “I don’t understand why you do this to yourself but I understand that this is something that you need to do.” We became really good friends after that. He is such and idol to me as well as my mother.