At Paulette we like atypical profiles. These women who stop at nothing to fulfill their dreams and make prejudice lie. Today, we present to you Reem Al Aboud, a Saudi pilot. First and youngest girl in Saudi Arabia, she would like to become a Dakar driver next year.

Reem Al Aboud, during Dakar 2020’s
©A.S.O./Horacio Cabilla

When did you want to become a pilot ? How your passion came ? 

My father always inspired me not only as a person but as a racer as well, he used to be a drag racer for a period of time and out of 6 kids surprisingly, I used to be the only one interested in joining him and observing to learn more about motorsports! So i always knew i wanted to initiate,participate and hopefully excel in this specific field, since i was a little girl ..

What is your state of mind when you’re behind a wheel ? What are your feelings ? 

The only place that takes me away from reality and is my sweet escape is when i’m behind the wheel, the fact that i have to be confident and a 100% focused from the minute i get behind the wheel until i cross the finish line really amazes me itself because at that specific time is when you begin to understand yourself more and try to overcome and terminate your limitations not only on track but off track as well! I have also realized that motorsports in general, does not only aim to make you a good driver but an inspiring human being! 

Reem Al Aboud
©A.S.O./Horacio Cabilla

Saudi allowed women to drive only 2 years ago. How did you picture your futur before that, as a woman and a pilot in your country ? 

Yes, women were not allowed to drive, but that never stopped me from watching local & international races in order to learn more and enhance my knowledge in motorsports, i always knew that eventually women in Saudi will drive one day so i never gave up hoping to become a racer.

How did you lived this prohibition ? Was it a brake on your passion or your dream to become a pilot ? 

No it was not a break on my passion, it actually encouraged me to push myself and go karting to improve my skills until i get the chance to officially participate in professional race tracks with sport cars! 

Do you think the society need more profil like yours to make a difference ? 

Yes i do actually, especially here in Saudi there are many passionate drivers that wish to initiate in motorsports but never get the chance to. Instead of driving their hearts out in the streets and putting themselves and others at risk and danger, they should be able to do it the safe way on tracks that are certified, So yes.. I believe that this will make a difference in saving lives !

Automobile Circle is largely male-dominated. Whats your feeling about it ? Have you already suffer of discriminatory behaviour ? 

Many women around the world proved that motorsports is not only made for males to excel in and to be completely honest, in our generation, there’s no such thing as a male dominant sport ! Women are remarkably proving themselves and excelling in various fields ! And I’m hopefully joining this path. 

Reem Al Aboud au milieu, accompagnée de l’équipe 100% féminine du Dakar 2020 Annett Fischer (à gauche) et Camélia Liparoti (à droite).
© A.S.O./Horacio Cabilla

What does it mean for you to perhaps participate to the Dakar Race ? 

Being able to initiate in Dakar 2020 in my lovely country was such an incredible experience! I have lived in Saudi for 20 years now and i have never seen such a beautiful landscape! There is obviously a huge difference when it comes to race tracks, thanks to the A.S.O and Isabelle Patissier who has 11 years of experience in Dakar alongside her companion, i have learned a lot and enjoyed the experience as well! Looking forward to greater opportunities together.

Are you aware that you can become a model for girls and women in your country ?

Yes i am and this would be an honor for me to represent myself as a Saudi racer to let all other females in Saudi and from around the world to know that women are capable of achieving! It all goes back to wether they are willing to put all their effort into accomplishing their dreams and passion or not. Other than that all opportunities are open for the Saudi women in our kingdom.

Interview by Charline Bouzon