Nor Diana describes herself as a Phoenix.

Nor Diana may seem like your average hijab-wearing Muslim woman, but you can’t judge a book by its cover. Nor is the world’s first hijab-wearing champion wrestler.

In the previous month, Nor was the victor of the biggest wrestling tournament in Malaysia. She defeated four male wrestlers to claim the title for her own. Looking at Nor, you wouldn’t be able to guess that she’s wrestling material. She’s a 19-year-old woman who is just about 5 feet tall and weighs a mere 94 pounds.

Nor shared a few details about her life. Outside the ring, she is a very shy and reserved person. However, once she steps into the ring, she changes into a completely different person. She describes her ring persona, Phoenix, as a more energetic, brave, fun person than she is “in the real world.”

She went on to describe Phoenix as someone who’s always looking for victory and has a fire within her. She finished up by saying that she loves wrestling because it lets her do things which she’d never be able to do herself in real life.

In Malaysian pro-wrestling, the name Phoenix is now one of the biggest names. Phoenix serves as a way of re-evaluating what it means to be a Muslim woman in Malaysian society. Phoenix has defied many stigmas as well as the expectations Muslim women in Malaysia often must carry.

Nor revealed that Phoenix’s success in the ring is doing wonders for the traditionally male-dominated sport. She elaborated by saying there wasn’t a single woman who turned up for the all-female wrestling tryouts held in the previous year. However, three hijabi girls came to train when they had tryouts last week, which speaks volumes about how Phoenix is changing the sport.

Nor was introduced to wrestling when she was 14. She used to play WWE wrestling games on a PlayStation Portable with her brother and watch matches on TV with her brothers and father. Watching the icons of WWE such as The Undertaker, The Rock, John Cena, and so on made her question if she could be like the characters she watched on TV. When she saw Sasha Banks, a female wrestler, she became determined to become a pro wrestler.

With the support of her father and brothers, Diana joined Malaysia’s only pro wrestling organization, MyPW, in 2015.

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