Zainab Hellen Maroun reveals how she met Balla Gaye II… and more in exclusive interview

Written by Alieu Khan


When it comes to Gambia’s favorite young female celebrities, Zainab Hellen Maroun certainly ranks pretty highly. She is the whole package – gorgeous, intelligent, friendly and hardworking.  In October 2012, the former Maroun Supermarket boss lady, tied the knot to Senegalese champion wrestler, Balla Gaye II. 

The Gambian-Lebanese beauty is now one of the most popular young Gambian women in Senegal. Besides being a celebrity wife and businesswoman, Zainab is also a sprouting musician and philanthropist. What’s on-Gambia caught up with the 24-year-old to for an exclusive interview: 


What’s On- Gambia: Thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview. What do you think of What’s On-Gambia? 

Zainab: Well it's a perfect website and I know many Gambians appreciate it.

Zainab 3 

Would you mind to tell us a little about yourself? 

I am a person who is positive about every aspect of life.  Zainab is an easy going person, very down-to-earth and loves her family and friends. I’m from a well-known family which is the Maroun family; my dad’s name is Joseph Maroun (Gambian-Lebanese) my mum Aisha Jatta (Senegalese-Gambian). I have four beautiful siblings. My greatest passion is music.

You were a manageress at Maroun’s Supermarket, what happened? 

Nothing happened; I have my own life to live as well (laughs).

When you were a teenager, what was your biggest dream? 

My biggest dream was to be a singer and also a helping hand to the needy; it's still my dream though.

Zainab 1 

Now to the big question, how did you meet your husband, Balla Gaye II? 

(Laughs) good question, well I met him on a Friday; I really wasn't in a going out mood because I get so tired working seven days a week! Anyway, my friends forced me out so I agreed to go out with them. We went to Kora and had a very nice dinner, then to Crystal and that's where I met him. One thing I'd like to say is that I almost didn't go out that night but this is to let everyone know that what's meant to happen will happen.

How do you balance your role as a wife and a supporter? 

I had no idea about this whole wrestling mania until recently. I wasn't a fan, and now I'm a wife so this goes to show the working of fate, well I'm managing.

What is the most difficult part of being a wife to a champion wrestler? 

Hmmm when you have to keep up with all the negative comments you hear.

Are you not bothered by his weight? 

(Laughs) not at all! It doesn't bother me at all, in fact I love it.

Since you got married, what advice did Balla Gaye give you that you found helpful? 

His advice was he knows I will hear a lot but I should be strong, ignore and have trust in him and that's exactly what I’m doing up to date!

Balla Gaye is very popular in The Gambia. Do you have regular contact with his fan clubs? 

Oh yes!! I know most of them and we're like family and they’re always around to visit me.

Recently, you released a single and people are falling in love with your voice. Are you thinking of pursuing music as a career? 

Hmm well yes! I have a great passion for music since I was young.

What are your favorite places to shop both in The Gambia and Senegal? 

In Gambia - Wedads, Kanks Classic and Sass and in Dakar- Sea Plaza.

Do you have any favorite Gambian musicians? 

Yup, Gibou Balla Gaye, Pierre Cyco, New Era, Abu ak Fafa, Mariam, Amie Dibba, Jalex and Jalimadi.

Who have your role models been? 

My role model has always been my father.

If you could change something about yourself, what would it be? 

Honestly nothing, I'm thankful

Any plans for the summer? 

hmmm not yet.

Thanks for your time? 

Pleasure anytime