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Bianca Elmir Bam Bam Interview

World Premiere Announcement of Feature Length Documentary Bam Bam

Australian Flyweight champion, Bianca 'Bam Bam' Elmir, aims to be the first Australian to win a World Amateur Boxing Championship. A Lebanese Muslim girl from suburban Australia, she smashes the stereotypes of her family, society and her sport, to prove she is the best in the world.

Bam Bam has been selected for international renowned festival Melbourne Documentary Film Festival 2018. The festival will be the World Premiere for the guts-and-all documentary.

For information and tickets go to Melbourne Documentary Film Festival's website

Interview with Bianca Elmir

Question: What were your initial thoughts when you were approached about your own documentary?

Bianca Elmir: I was excited for the opportunity to share my story. I was thinking it would just be a small project - how wrong I was!

I thought if I had the chance, by sharing my story to positively contribute to someone's life then I would feel content about what I was doing.

Question: And, how did you feel after you watched Bam Bam?

Bianca Elmir: I felt satisfied. I was proud of what came out and I liked that it wasn't the traditional Hollywood script. I felt like it was authentic to who I am and I felt like I could stand proudly in my skin, with all my flaws and vulnerabilities.

Question: What do you hope Australians take from watching Bam Bam?

Bianca Elmir: That being a woman, or female boxer or Muslim female boxer can look like anything and not one particular thing. That I don't fit into a box. And because I don't fit into a box, it is a reminder to anyone watching about the importance of not being quick to judge or stereotype. I want young people to be encouraged to take the road less traveled. And I want people to be encouraged to be different and authentic to who they are.

Question: What inspired your passion for boxing?

Bianca Elmir: I was inspired to box because of a film I watched called Girl Fight. But then I just stumbled upon it, it was just a random event finding my first kickboxing gym. I never saw myself as a boxer - I just became good at it and then became passionate about it.

Question: Can you share your earliest memories of boxing, with us?

Bianca Elmir: I remember not being scared when I first boxed - but then when I fought for my second Australian title I remember having a lot of pressure on me. I was scared that the other boxing girls didn't like me and I thought that I didn't have enough experience to win. Some of the girls ended up liking me and I did win!

Question: Was it difficult to overcome the stereotypes to win a World Amateur Boxing Championship?

Bianca Elmir: I think the biggest stereotype I experienced at the Worlds was the self-narrative that as an Australian woman, I was not as good as the international competition where boxing is the main sport. I had to overcome this idea to step in the ring, there are ongoing insecurities all boxers walk in the ring with, it's how you manage each and every one of them.

Question: How did boxing help you deal with issues of identity, equality, body image and self-belief?

Bianca Elmir: Identity is something that I have learnt through all my different experiences, boxing has given me the opportunity to travel and get out of my comfort zone so it has enhanced these experiences of identity.

Equality has been an important experience for me because I have had to advocate for my right as a woman to box and get the same respect as my male counterparts.

Body image has been an up and down. In one instance it's been good because I have not defined myself according to how 'sexy' I am but more about how strong I am and what my body can achieve. But then in the second instance it's been hard to negotiate fitting into weight divisions and not allowing food and weight loss to rule my life! Self-belief is constantly on the line because I have to always step into that space if I'm training, fighting, advocating for myself or others or asking for sponsorship.

Question: How can women deal with these issues without boxing?

Bianca Elmir: Women/or all humans have to find their own way of coping with the chaos of life. It is a permanent feature of life so I think women have to look inward and find a way. I just happened to have found boxing but I may have come to these conclusions in another way with another passion or experience. The key is I was on that journey anyway, and asking those questions. People have to find their own bonds to cope - and hopefully those bonds are healthy and aligned to their values.

Interview by Brooke Hunter


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