Naomi Kutin is a super girl, quite literally. The Modern Orthodox teen is the star of the documentary “Supergirl,” and is famous for breaking the world weightlifting records when she was just 9 years old.
In 2012, for instance, she squatted 215 pounds and beat the reigning 44-year-old champion all while attending a yeshiva middle school while preparing for her bat mitzvah.
Naomi, who is now 16, says lifting weights is “empowering,” also cites God as her inspiration, saying, “I [also] try to realize that the strength I have comes from God, and I’m very thankful for it.” Her skill seems to run in the family, considering her dad, Ed Kutin, has powerlifted since his college days at MIT.
Jessie Auritt, the documentary’s filmmaker, couldn’t help but feel this story needed to be told, telling the Jewish Journal:
It was the fact that she was from a Modern Orthodox family but yet was competing in this very nontraditional sport for young girls — particularly in my understanding of the Orthodox community. Yet she was breaking these gender stereotypes in the very male-dominated sport of power lifting. I wanted to understand the juxtaposition of those things.
Kutin was filmed from ages 11 to 14, a prime time for forming her own identity. The documentary includes how Kutin navigates training and competitions as an observant Jew, especially considering most of the women’s competitions take place on Shabbat, so she had to get permission to lift with the men on Sundays.
While many are supportive of the gender-bending role Kutin has taken (in that women and girls aren’t encouraged to participate in sports like weight-lifting), some leave nasty comments on her public Facebook page — which is disheartening for a teen to see.
Throughout it all, however, Kutin just wants to “empower young women to see that following your dreams is a good thing.”
Check out the trailer below (and you can stream the film here):