Ask Albert Aldahawi if he thought he would be a model/wrestling star when he fled war in the Middle East and spent a year trapped on Christmas Island and his response is a simple one: “No way..it is crazy.”
The Jordanian refugee is somewhat of a social media star.
The fitness model, whose client include Levi's, has just released his own fragrance and the Instagram influencer has more than 23 million hits on his YouTube account.
But he will never forget where he came from.
After arriving in Sydney in 2000 and settling in Bossley Park he received a lot of support from the Assyrian community when building his profile. Now he wants to give back.
He has organised a wrestling show on October 28 at Nineveh Reception in Edensor Park to raise money for the St Hurmizd's Cathedral and St Hurmizd Assyrian Primary School.
He is aiming to raise $10,000 for the church and to buy sports equipment to encourage the local community to get active.
“I want to inspire people to pursue their dreams,” he said.
As a refugee it was hard to achieve things. People kept telling me you can’t do this and can’t do that. But I am proof if a guy or girl with a traditional background can do whatever they like if they keep going and trying.ALBERT ALDAHAWI
“As a refugee it was hard to achieve things. People kept telling me you can’t do this and can’t do that. But I am proof if a guy or girl with a traditional background can do whatever they like if they keep going and trying.”
The 25-year-olds pursuit into wrestling proves that.
After watching the likes of John Cena on television he decided to take up the sport two years ago.
“I was always a fan and started uploaded a few videos onto YouTube and the Australian Wrestling Federation called me up for training and it just went from there,” the Denham Court resident said.
“I wasn’t always a wrestler. I came from the modelling industry so it was tough but after the intense training I earnt respect and love it.”
Known as ‘Albie” in the ring, Albert is the current AWF tag-team champion. He will be defending his title at the charity event and also wrestling the AWF champion.
“I really wanted to give back to the Assyrian community because they supported me a lot in everything I do,” he said.
“And what better way than a wrestling show to raise money for the local church and to buy equipment to encourage kids to do physical activity.
“I hope everyone can get behind and come and enjoy the show and raise money at the same time for a great cause.”
So what can people expect from the wrestling show?
“It will be a two and a half hour packed show. We are going to raffles with big prizes and all the wrestlers will come and meet the crowd and take photos,” he said.
- Sunday, October 28, Ninevah Reception, 673 Smithfield Road, Edensor Park.
- Tickets: $15 (online: albieshop.com), $20 at the door.
- Details: Facebook | Australian Wrestling Federation