‘Bleaching or Makeup?’: Critics Accuse Serena Williams of Skin-Bleaching After Fashion Week Video Goes Viral, Fans Race to Her Defense

Opinions on Serena Williams appearance are equally as fleeting as the lighting that has social media users picking apart her photos and videos. The tennis phenom is a bona fide winner on the court, but when it comes to her fashion and glam choices, not everyone sees the vision.

With her looks constantly being put through the wringer, it’s no surprise that questions about her makeup have resurfaced amid accusations of her leaning into skin bleaching and plastic surgeries to alter her face.

In particular, a behind-the-scenes TikTok video of her rehearsing for the Vogue World Show has people doing a double take. Williams gave her followers a glimpse at her preparing to walk in the June 23 show, which took place during Paris for Haute Couture Fashion Week.

Serena Williams’ fans praise her beauty when critics attempt to accuse her of altering her skin complexion. (Photos: Serenawilliams/TikTok; Serenawilliams/Instagram.)

In the video, she shows off the outdoor runway area at the Place Vendôme. Dressed in all black, with a hoodie sometimes covering her honey blond, straightened hair, she said, “I just did my own makeup” and that she was trying to look “young, and hip, and fresh” with a chuckle.

Throughout the minute-long clip, Williams is under various lights, some that are harsh and yellow, others that are white and bright, as well as the Parisian sky as it faded from the light blue of the early evening into the black of the late night.

Comments about her looks were unforgiving despite outside factors. “This woman looks totally different,” a user wrote. “Baby you were beautiful the way you were,” wrote another, seemingly alluding to features about her face being altered.

@serena Yoooooo Im Obsessed wirh this CLEAN mascara! Available at Ulta Beauty and wynbeauty.com @WYN BEAUTY @Ulta Beauty #fyp #foryourpage #wynbeauty #serenawilliams #paris #momsoftiktok #foryou #makeup #beautytips ♬ original sound – Serenawilliams

Another comment stated, “Lord have mercy. Something of a deep, subconscious nature going on here. Skin lightening + blonde hair. A subconscious desire to be something or somebody else.”

A fan, like many others, was quick to come to her defense when they wrote, “It’s the bright lights people..CALM DOWN..she is beautiful.”

In Williams’ previous post, she disclosed that she used skin tint, concealer, and mascara from her WYN Beauty makeup line that launched in April. Someone else declared, “Leave her tf alone. Yall just don’t kno when enough is enough. Is she bothering you?”

However, in the reactions to a third video showcasing her “natural beautiful face,” the mother of two received praise for having a glowing and radiant appearance. Like the previous posts, the content was filmed outdoors at night.

Someone commented that they mistook her for “Savannah James for a second.” While another declared, “WE LOVE YOU WITHOUT MAKEUP!”

Williams is all too familiar with being scrutinized over the complexion of her skin and the look of her muscular build.

“You don’t let the world decide beauty. … A lot of people feel they’re not pretty or they’re not cute enough because their skin is dark,” she said in a past interview about not folding to the public’s perception of her beauty. “I think people could feel my confidence, because I was always told, ‘You look great. Be Black and be proud,’” she added.

Despite her TikTok posts prompting a range of mixed perceptions about her makeup, her glam and gown for the actual runway show had plenty of fans saying it was the best she has looked.

Back to top