Serena Williams knows there are haters. And she’s giving them more fodder in a skin-baring, new photo shoot. The tennis pro is seen along the beach donning three different bikinis against an oceanic background.
Speaking to Self magazine, the athlete remains confident in her looks. When asked about those who discount her appearance, Williams is not moved.
“I love my body, and I would never change anything about it,” she told the publication. “I’m not asking you to like my body. I’m just asking you to let me be me. Because I’m going to influence a girl who does look like me, and I want her to feel good about herself.”
Her passion for inspiring young girls – and Black youth in general – is something that has pushed her to philanthropy. Her Serena Williams Fund enabled the athlete to build several schools in Uganda, Kenya and Jamaica. The foundation has also helped communities affected by violence, an issue close to home for the 22-time Grand Slam champion. Her sister Yetunde Price was killed in a gang-related shooting in 2003.
Williams charity work is celebrated but she also recognizes her vast achievements in tennis. She was the first Black woman in the Open Era – a period begun in 1968 to allow pros and amateurs to compete against one another – to win a Grand Slam title. And she was named the highest-paid female athlete this year. Williams is also aware of those who look up to her in her career, but she doesn’t take all the credit.
“I can’t say I am the pioneer because it was Althea Gibson, it was Zina Garrison, it was Arthur Ashe, it was so many people before me,” she said referring to some of the early Black tennis players before her. “I appreciate being in a position where I was chosen to be a role model. Obviously, being Black in tennis wasn’t easy, even in the ’90s.”
With all of her accomplishments, Williams says in five years, her life will look much different.
“In five years, I’m on a boat or an island, sketching the latest collection,” the Serena’s Signature Statement fashion designer explained. “Maybe there’s a baby, maybe a couple, we’ll see.
One thing that’s certain: Williams will no longer be flying around the world.
“I’m done traveling – I’m throwing away my passport,” she said. “Yeah, I’m done with it.”