Annotated by the Author: ‘Meet “Supergirl,” the World’s Strongest Teenager’

Annotated by the Author: ‘Meet “Supergirl,” the World’s Strongest Teenager’

“In school plays, I get stage fright, but I don’t have stage fright in powerlifting, even if I’m in front of hundreds of people,” said Naomi, whose modern Orthodox Jewish family follows strict religious rules.

It’s always tricky to select the best quotes. You try to pick ones that add something new to the story, not just back up what you’ve already written.

Here, I went with the “stage fright” quote because it lends a little-kid vulnerability to this athlete who has a “brave” nickname in a very macho sport. You can almost picture the two scenarios — getting nervous before a school play, but being blasé about lifting hundreds of pounds and competing against adults in front of big crowds.

While she must wear modest attire at her all-girls yeshiva in Teaneck, her powerlifting outfit includes a singlet and T-shirt, as well as colorfully striped knee socks, always mismatched, and bright red high-tops.

To work herself into an adrenaline-fueled zone of concentration at the recent Sunday competition, she paced behind the lifting area, with heavy metal blasting on her headphones.

“I hate it — I only listen to it before I lift,” said Naomi, who approaches the bar with yells, growls, staccato breathing and pumping arms. It is an unexpected preparatory ritual from a teenage girl who spends her weekdays studying the Talmud.

These few paragraphs, above, were meant to show how unusual it is for a teenage girl from a strict religious background to also be in the wild world of powerlifting. (Yelling! Growling! Heavy metal!)

Naomi often competes alongside her 14-year-old brother, Ari, and their father, Ed Kutin, both of whom are also accomplished lifters. Her mother, Neshama, assumes the role of manager. During the recent competition, Ms. Kutin cheered on her family and joked about her superstrong children shirking chores.

“They’re lifting in the 300- to 350-pound range, but you should be there when I ask them to carry in the packages,” she said.

In truth, she said, they are helpful. Years ago, Naomi helped with the groceries by carrying a 60-pound bag of dog food out of the supermarket. A bystander called it too heavy a load for a child.

“I told him, ‘We’re fine, you have no idea who she is,’” Ms. Kutin recalled.

It’s always good to include funny little anecdotes that tie into your character and subject. Here we have powerlifters annoyed that they have to help carry the groceries. Like, they may be world-class powerlifters, but they’re still regular teenagers. (No offense to the teenagers reading this.)

As a child, Naomi was a standout in karate and could beat the local boys at push-ups and other strength exercises. Her father, a longtime powerlifter, asked her to join his lifting workouts.

“She said, ‘I thought you’d never ask me,’” Ms. Kutin recalled.

The family ran it by their rabbi, since it is an unconventional activity for Orthodox girls. And then Naomi was off and lifting.