by JENNIFER FRAKES | photos by Zeena Gregg Photography

Meet Selena Laniel

faces_lanielAs a contestant on American Ninja Warrior (Seasons 4, 6, 7, and 9), Selena Laniel has faced many challenges. “American Ninja Warrior is not just about overcoming physical obstacles. You need mental strength to focus, stay calm, and figure out how to complete the course,” revealed Selena. Although it can be tough to deal with when a small mistake means not completing the course, Selena’s positive outlook gets her through to the next competition. “You have to accept the outcome no matter what and realize how fortunate you were to be standing at the start of the course, with the lights, cameras, and bleachers full of fans cheering you on,” stated Selena.

Last year, Selena was chosen as a top Ninja to compete on a new show, Team Ninja Warrior. She is on the Towers of Power team, along with Brandon Mears and Dan Polizzi. All three members of the Towers of Power team are firefighters, and according to Selena, they are quite an amazing team! Season 1 of Team Ninja Warrior ended early for Selena when she dislocated her shoulder during one of her races. However, Season 2 was a triumph when she made history as the oldest female up the Warped Wall.

Name: Selena Laniel
Profession: Firefighter
Children: Alicia Belanger (15) and Maya Belanger (14)
Community: Rancho Peñasquitos
Favorite Places in 92129: Hilltop park and trails

Before becoming a firefighter and competing as a Ninja Warrior, Selena was an acrobat in the Blue Horizon show at SeaWorld. When she decided to go for her dream of joining the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, she knew it would be difficult, but worth it. She earned her Fire Science degree from Miramar (she had previously attended college in Montreal, Canada) and graduated from the San Diego Fire Academy. “The Academy was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I am so proud of my accomplishment, and I love inspiring girls and women by showing them that anything is attainable if they’re willing to work for it,” said Selena.


When it comes to what inspires her to continue to work hard and pursue her dreams, Selena is quick to point to her two daughters, Alicia and Maya. Alicia is a junior at Westview High School, a varsity soccer player, and a member of the San Diego Soccer Club. Maya is a freshman at Westview and is a Level 9 gymnast with many championships and titles to her name. “My girls inspire me to be the best version of myself every day,” stated Selena proudly.