Serena Williams is a mom, wife, tennis star, fashion designer, business owner, and a beautiful Black woman.
In an interview for British Vogue's November issue, the 39-year-old spoke about representing "beautiful dark women" on and off the court and shared her thoughts on body confidence, the Black Lives Matter movement, and how she uses her voice to support those without a platform.
"In this society, women are not taught or expected to be that future leader or future CEO," she said. "The narrative has to change. And maybe it doesn’t get better in time for me, but someone in my position can show women and people of color that we have a voice because lord knows I use mine."
Serena added, "I love sticking up for people and supporting women. Being the voice that millions of people don’t have."
In addition to speaking about the varying standards she believes she's held to compared to male and white female athletes — she said she's "underpaid and undervalued" in comparison — the star athlete spoke about the Black Lives Matter movement, saying Black people have been given a "voice" thanks to technology.
"We see things that have been hidden for years; the things that we as people have to go through. This has been happening for years. People just couldn’t pull out their phones and video it before," Serena explained.
The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion went on to share that the conversation surrounding racial injustice in America is nothing new, but rather it, for the first time in a long time, is being given more attention. "At the end of May, I had so many people who were white writing to me saying, 'I’m sorry for everything you’ve had to go through.' I think for a minute they started - not to understand, because I don’t think you can understand - but they started to see," she said. "I was like: 'well, you didn’t see any of this before?' I’ve been talking about this my whole career. It’s been one thing after another."
Serena additionally opened about feeling comfortable in her skin as a black woman, saying, "I like who I am, I like how I look, and I love representing the beautiful dark women out there. For me, it’s perfect. I wouldn’t want it any other way." The tennis star though acknowledged that her road to self-acceptance and body confidence wasn't an easy one.
"When I was growing up, what was celebrated was different. Venus looked more like what is really acceptable: she has incredibly long legs, she’s really, really thin," she said. "I didn’t see people on TV that looked like me, who were thick. There wasn’t positive body image. It was a different age."
However, Serena said she's grown to love her body and is "thankful" for it. "How amazing that my body has been able to give me the career that I’ve had, and I’m really thankful for it. I only wish I had been thankful sooner. It just all comes full circle when I look at my daughter," she said referring to her daughter Olympia.
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