We can always rely on Serena Williams to deliver empowering messages that uplifts and that’s just what she did in a recent interview with Vogue, where she dished on not only her beautiful pregnancy but also spoke out about her consistent issues with body image and race.
I don’t know about everyone else but it was hard not seeing Serena Williams’ fierce and confident presence at this year’s Wimbledon. However, the tennis player’s glowing presence all over social media as she and her fiancé, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, prepare to welcome their new-born soon this year has definitely made up for it.
While many feared this was the end of the tennis player’s career, Serena expressed to Vogue that this was not the case. In fact, she’s already making plans to return to the tennis world as early as January with hopes of defending her Australian Open title. “It’s the most outrageous plan,” she says. “I just want to put that out there. That’s, like, three months after I give birth. I’m not walking anything back, but I’m just saying it’s pretty intense.”
Though some may argue that this is too early, as she would have just had her baby, I do recall her winning this year’s Australia Open whilst two months pregnant! So, I think it’s safe to say that she’ll probably smash it. “In this game, you can go dark fast. If I lose, and I lose again, it’s like, she’s done. Especially since I’m not 20 years old. I’ll tell you this much: I won’t win less. Either I win, or I don’t play.”
As a woman of colour, such strength is still somewhat overpowered by the way she is presented in media. “I feel like people think I’m mean,” she says. “Really tough and really mean and really street. I believe that the other girls in the locker room will say, ‘Serena’s really nice.’ But Maria Sharapova, who might not talk to anybody, might be perceived by the public as nicer. Why is that? Because I’m black and so I look mean? That’s the society we live in…”
Regardless, Serena left readers with a powerful message. Despite it not being her first time to feature in Vogue, (she’s appeared twice before), Serena pressed on how it is a positive step for women of colour. “Being black and being on the cover was really important to me,” she explains. “The success of one woman should be the inspiration to another, and I’m always trying to inspire and motivate the black girls out there. I’m not a model. I’m not the girl next door. But I’m not hiding. Actually, I look like a lot of women out there. The American woman is many women, and I think it’s important to speak to American women at a time when they need encouragement. I’m not political, but I think everyone is worried, to a degree.”
Picture credit: Photographed by Mario Testino, Vogue, September 2017