Beneath the Black Niqab Is Outspoken Saudi Poet

"With the money I want to treat my daughters, I want to buy a house, I want a nice education for my daughters, and I have some relatives around me. They need so much help," she said.

Yet she is clearly motivated by the message, not the money that would come with a win in the final round.

"We are poor people from the middle class or maybe less, but still we have something to say to society," she said. "We don't have money, but we have love and we have wisdom."

She said the idea of a self-made champion holds special significance given a rigid class structure that leaves many at the bottom feeling locked out of status and privilege.

"I want to say that a woman, she's not from a big family, she's not from an important family, she can do it," Hilal said.

"It gives hope to all millions of Arab people, that if you some dream in your heart, one day if you believe deeply in your heart, in God, it will happen."

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