Ibtihaj Muhammad is an entrepreneur, activist, speaker, and Olympic medalist in fencing. A 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, 5-time Senior World medalist and World Champion, in 2016, Ibtihaj became the first American woman to compete in the Olympics in hijab. She was a 3-time All American at Duke University where she graduated with a dual major in International Relations and African Studies. In 2014, Ibtihaj launched her own clothing company, Louella, which aims to bring modest, fashionable, and affordable clothing to the United States market. In 2017, Mattel announced their first hijab Barbie, modeled in Ibtihaj’s likeness, as part of Barbie’s “Shero” line of dolls.
Ibtihaj released her debut memoir in July 2018, PROUD: My Fight for an Unlikely American Dream. Her third book, New York Times’ Bestseller children’s book, The Proudest Blue, released September 2019 with glowing reviews. As well as an author, Ibtihaj is a sports ambassador with the U.S. Department of State’s Empowering Women and Girls through Sport Initiative, and works closely with organizations like Athletes for Impact and the Special Olympics.
As part of the WUD Distinguished Lecture Series, Ibthihaj was part of a virtual event discussing her career in fencing, what it’s like preparing for the Olympics, diversity and activism within the sports industry, and how her identity as a woman of color and a Muslim-American impacts her within the male-dominated sports world. I was psyched I got to check out this event. It was a joy to hear her speak of getting after it, not being afraid to be the only one, and that will all of her hard work and successes, she is still just another member of our global community with regular thoughts and feelings just like you and I.