Serena Williams may one of the most famous tennis stars in the world, but her daughter possesses probably one of the most famous dolls on social media.
The 23-time Grand Slam winner and her husband Alexis Ohanian are occasionally seen with a Black baby doll named Qai Qai. The doll, who has a following of 90,000 on Instagram and 17,000 on Twitter, is the beloved toy of Olympia Ohanian. Qai Qai is often photographed being face down in various obscure places. But she managed to stay upright long enough to take over the Women’s Tennis Association Instagram account while her “grandmother” Williams played at the Australian Open earlier this week.
But behind all the hilarity from the self-described motivational speaker, Qai Qai serves a special purpose on William’s daughter’s life.
“I wanted her to have a black doll,” the 37-year-old said during a Jan. 15 press conference in Melbourne. “Growing up, I didn’t have that many opportunities to have black dolls. And I was just thinking, like, ‘I want her first doll to be black.’ And her heritage, obviously she’s mixed, she’s Caucasian and black, but I feel like that was her first doll and I said her second doll would be Caucasian.
“I definitely want to always teach her love and teach her just basic human — humans should always have love for each other, no matter what color they are,” she added, noting her nephew came up with the doll’s name.
Williams has discussed the importance of her 1-year-old knowing about her culture in the past.
In August, Williams opened up about plans for her and her Reddit co-founder spouse to take Olympia to Africa to get in touch with her background.
“There are so many things I want to teach her about being a Black woman, and I’m proud that I have that opportunity. I was just talking with my husband, Alexis. We were talking about how we want to take her to Africa and show her where she’s from and the strength that she gets from her ancestors,” Williams told Essence magazine last year but did not state exactly which country they’d visit. “We want her to be able to build and thrive off that strength. And that’s only the beginning of what I want to teach her.”