Marawa Ibrahim: most hula hoops spun simultaneously
Everything Marawa Ibrahim does, she does with love.
Marawa is changing the world’s view on hula hoops one performance and hoop-class at a time, never forgetting to make friends along the way all around the world. As she herself says, her “postcard game” when it comes to keeping in touch with her globe-spanning pals is second to none!
“Conquer the world with hoops!” is Marawa’s battle cry.
And without a doubt, as one learns about her achievements, it really feels like Marawa the Amazing — stage name of Marawa Ibrahim — is on her way to conquering the world with her athletic abilities and contagious enthusiasm. It’s precisely this perfect blend of constant preparation, overflowing love for performance and a shining, charismatic personality that enabled her to become hula-hoop royalty.
With a bachelor’s degree in circus arts, the Somali-Australian artist has eight records under her belt. The most iconic, perhaps, is the most hula hoops spun simultaneously – rotating 200 hoops at the same time!
However, that’s far from the only feat Marawa has claimed on her record-breaking journey, which has demanded in equal parts the highest degree of athleticism and entertainment.
“I love teaching. I love performing. I love working on interesting projects. Most of all I LOVE making new friends all over the world. My postcard game is epic.”
– Marawa Ibrahim, athlete and record breaker.
A Star is born
When she was eight, Marawa saw Andrew Lloyd Webber’s roller-skating musical Starlight Express, where all the characters are dancing and talking steam engines.
After that, for 10 years she dreamt of starring in the musical as Pearl, the first-class car and protagonist’s love interest.
But fictional heroes don’t stop at steam locomotives.
Another character that she looks up to is the protagonist of the musical movie Sister Act, Deloris Van Cartier (aka “Sister Mary Clarence”) played by Whoopi Goldberg.
Real-life inspirations for Marawa, meanwhile, are very eclectic, from the civil rights activist Josephine Baker, competitive swimmer turned actress Esther Williams, drag queen Tandi Iman Dupree and “King of the Mambo” Pérez Prado. However, her childhood hero is, and will always be, Olga Korbut, the former gymnastic and Olympic champion from Belarus also known as the "Sparrow from Minsk".
Marawa always took her passion seriously, and her academic background prepared her body to withstand the extreme challenges of the circus life. She studied at Australia’s National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA), specializing in Swinging Trapeze, even though she knew that hoops – with their fun and versatility – were her true calling.
Today, she’s not only an accomplished artist and the author of The Girl Guide (an empowering book for girls, published in 2017), but a record-breaking tour de force.
On a record-breaking roll
TV , fashion shows, festivals, videos or live events: you name it, Marawa has done it all.
She regularly performs for high-end names such as Kenzo and Refinery29, and fashion brands call her to “incorporate fun and hoops into their shows”. One thing is certain: watching Marawa’s performances bring the wow factor and personality into wherever she appears.
“I trained in a range of circus skills at NICA, but I knew my future was with hoops — super portable, super fun and anyone could get involved, any age, anywhere in the world with just a little bit of practice.”
– Marawa Ibrahim.
As well as her world-famous record for spinning 200 hula hoops at the same time, Marawa also knows what it takes to go the distance with her hoop skills.
Joining forces with sports brand Reebok, on 1 Feb 2017, she ran the fastest mile hula hooping – 8 min 0.4 sec – in Venice, California, USA.
Not satisfied that hula hooping was challenging enough by itself, over the years Marawa has added another element to her routines to (literally) take them to another level: roller skates with high heels!
She owns four different pairs of high-heeled roller skates, and she applies her various talents (both athletic and creative) to create breath-taking choreographies.
This has led to a number of other record-breaking feats, including the:
- longest duration on high-heeled roller skates while spinning three hula hoops: 2 min 29 sec on 17 Jul 2014
- farthest distance on high-heeled roller skates while spinning eight hula hoops: 43.20 m (141 ft 8 in) on 8 Jul 2014
- fastest 100 m on high-heeled roller skates: 26.10 sec on 10 Aug 2013
During her career, Marawa has travelled the world, performing, teaching, and raising people’s awareness of hula hooping as both a sport and an art form: from Europe and the US to Africa and Asia, including North Korea.
But Marawa’s talent as an athlete and her passion didn’t only bring live events and a spotlight in many editions of the Guinness World Records book into her life.
It also paved the way for TV and musical theatre, allowing her to make some of her childhood dreams come true.
A creative person herself, Marawa declares that she “loves working with creative people”.
Marawa has done a lot of TV during her career - including her life-long dream of starring in a Japanese game show.
It won’t come as a surprise that she’s also a regular on TV talents shows, coming third on Arab's Got Talent. She has placed highly in other editions of the famous TV format too: reaching the semi-finals of both Britain’s Got Talent and America’s Got Talent.
Always looking for new ventures, Marawa has even founded her own activewear clothing line “I want to go to Paradise”, and curated fashion events in London and Paris.
“Being a part of the Guinness World Records family is like being a member of a ‘superpower club’,” she says.
However, to further spread the magic of hoops in the world, Marawa the Amazing also gave birth to her very own family of talented (and record-breaking) performer-athletes: the Majorettes.
The 'Marawa’s Majorettes'
Marawa’s Majorettes was launched in 2012 through a series of workshops, bringing together a glittering team of hoop artistes.
Creativity is not something you can buy: you’re born with it, either you have it or you don’t. And all these women have it in spades.
Add to the magic recipe hours upon hours of rehearsal, athletic preparation, a spoonful of stubbornness and plenty of love for performing and fun, and you’ll get an idea of what makes this performer troupe a game-changer.
More technically, the Marawa’s Majorettes are a fitness team that teaches the art of hula hooping and spread the love for this athletic discipline, as well as a performing troupe. The Majorettes performed at the London Olympics in 2012 and many other events (Benefit Cosmetics included) as well as putting on a great number of workshops.
Just like Marawa, this crack team of hula hoopers are in it for the win and have broken a variety of records. In 2017, they set two team records, spinning a collective 299 hoops in London (at the time, the most hula hoops spun simultaneously by a team) and followed this up with another record for most passes of a hula hoop by the feet in one minute (26).
Individual Majorettes, past and present, are also following in Marawa’s record-setting footsteps.
The longest duration four-hoop box split was performed by the UK’s Luspinda (aka Lucy Benson), spinning four hoops while also doing the splits for a hamstring-busting 2 min 2 sec, on 8 May 2021. While German hooper Dunja Kuhn kept 70 hoops aloft – the most hula hoops spun simultaneously on multiple body parts – on 22 Aug 2020.
The "Amazing" in Marawa is not just a stage name: it's the perfect description of the way the audience holds its breath watching her spinning several hula hoops.
"Amazing" is her focus, dedication and the bright beam she always wears while performing. It's her vivacious attitude while she conquers the world one hula hoop at the time.
On her glamorous high-heeled roller skates or spinning hoops, writing books or brainstorming new sports-must-haves for her clothing line, alone or with her Majorettes, this all-around performer will always find ways to charm the audience.
A true force of nature, Marawa proves that with passion, preparation and - crucially - fun, dreams can come true.
Marawa Ibrahim appears in Guinness World Records 2022, out now in shops and on Amazon. Find her on page 108.