Meet FRÉ Ambassador Kanzy El Defrawy, Professional Squash Player & US
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Meet FRÉ Ambassador Kanzy El Defrawy, Professional Squash Player & US National Champion

Jude Jacob March 31, 2021

@kanzydaf


About me:I was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. When I was 18 I was recruited to play squash in the US on an academic scholarship for 4 years between 2012 and 2016. I pursued my professional athletic career for 2.5 years after graduating and then I moved to Dubai where I currently live. I am an extremely ambitious, determined and competitive individual who wants to impact the world in the most positive way that I can.


My fitness journey

I started playing squash when I was 6 years old. Egypt has dominated the sport for the last 20 years and it’s very common for parents to enroll their children when they are young with the hope of starting a successful professional career. When I started I hated squash and liked other sports better, but I had great hand-eye coordination and my parents insisted I play. It's a sport that's hard to pick up, it's hard to hit the ball, and it can get very frustrating for kids.

 

"When I started I hated squash and liked other sports better, but I had great hand-eye coordination."

 

When I was 9, my parents flew me to Germany for a junior tournament. I didn't know if I was good or not back then, but when I won the tournament I realized how good I was. The thrill of winning and the overall experience changed my perspective on squash. When I came back from Germany, squash was life. I turned pro aged 12. At I 15 broke the top 50.


I played throughout school. Balancing academics with sport was very challenging and involved a huge amount of work, travel and training. I wanted to play professionally without university when I graduated but my parents were against me not going to college. I traveled to Boston for the World Junior Championship and discovered for the first time that the colleges in the US recruited athletes from abroad. I was originally recruited by Yale, then I went to visit other colleges and fell in love with the idea of leaving Egypt and living alone in the US. At the time, doing this was completely unheard of and I was the first woman to be recruited from Egypt. 


In the end I chose Trinity College because they were academically solid and top in the country for squash. I also played professionally and there were a lot of tournaments in the US, Canada and Mexico. In 4 years I never lost a game in my school, and I graduated as the number 1 squash college player in America and 21 in the world. I also Double Majored in International Studies and French, and minored in Urban Studies with an Honors Degree.


Life after squash

Two years ago I experienced my biggest injury and decided to stop playing professionally. I stopped at age 24, although normally people retire at 30. I started thinking about what I would do next. For many female athletes, life after squash often means being a stay at home mom. Very few women move into corporate jobs.


I decided to move to Dubai and start my life from scratch as an athlete and not a squash player, and it was one of my best decisions. I launched a digital marketing agency, and I work for Guinness World Records as an adjudicator. I’m also very involved in all large scale fitness events in the UAE. 

 

"I want to bring squash to schools and introduce it to as many kids as possible to build a generation of champions and help kids discover their passion."

 

Then when Corona hit, I couldn't work in events anymore. At the same time, I wanted to have a big impact and do something different. I decided to open my own squash academy in Dubai. My aim is now to create the first ever UAE National Team. I want to bring squash to schools and introduce it to as many kids as possible to build a generation of champions and help kids discover their passion. At The Flying Daf Academy we welcome all levels, all ages and all backgrounds. We provide students with opportunities and work hard to really grow the sport.



Skincare

My skin is acne prone. Growing up I was always working out and sweating and I never took care of my skin. Five years ago my parents gave me a bunch of products to try. I realised that the products made a big difference - I’d never used anything before! But my skincare products have been random - I haven’t had a routine, I just see a product I think looks nice and start to use it.


With FRÉ I now have a regular routine, and a connection with the brand and products because they are personalized for women who workout and not just everyone with skin problems. I started using FRÉ 2 months ago and use 123FRÉ, DETOX ME, RECOVER ME night cream and GLOW BODY every day. I see a huge difference in my skin.  I used to put a bit of makeup on before I worked out and it negatively impacted my skin; now I use cream from FRÉ to look better naturally.



Rapid Fire:

  • Favorite exercise? Squats
  • What does sweat mean to you?Achievement 
  • What comes to mind first when you think of FRÉ?Blue!
  • What are you most excited about in life right now? My squash academy
  • What’s something you’d still love to learn?More about other cultures and countries 
  • If you were a hashtag, what would you be?#flywithdaf (Daf is the name of my squash academy!) 
  • What is your mantra?Learn to be comfortable when you're uncomfortable
  • What’s the best advice that you’ve ever received in your life? Be patient
  • What is an issue that you wish we spoke about more often?Women being sexually harassed
  • What does women’s empowerment mean in 2021?Things are improving a lot but there is still so much to be done 
  • What are your dreams for the FRÉ community?For everyone to have better skin!

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