Simply put: Serena Williams is as resilient as ever, and in celebration of her power and unwavering confidence, there’s no better time to look back at how she—a woman whose supernatural physique has been under a microscope throughout her decades-long tennis career—lives by her own beauty rules. “There was a time when I didn’t feel incredibly comfortable about my body because I felt like I was too strong, then I had to take a second and think, ‘well, who says I’m too strong?’,” she once said. Here are five times she sent the record straight—providing a blueprint for health, confidence and future greatness that she’s bound to pass on to her baby daughter.
Live by your own standards
“My arms might not look like the girl over there or my legs might not look like someone else or my butt or my body or my anything, if they [do] have a problem with it then I look them in the eye and say, ‘If you don’t like it, I don’t want you to like it. I’m not asking you to like it,” she explained in a candid conversation about critics, like online body shamers, with ex-boyfriend Common.
Tune out the negativity
“I’ve been called a man because I appeared outwardly strong,” Williams wrote in a deeply personal letter to her mother Oracene Price, published this past September. “It has been said that that I use drugs (No, I have always had far too much integrity to behave dishonestly in order to gain an advantage). It has been said I don’t belong in Women’s sports— that I belong in Men’s—because I look stronger than many other women do. (No, I just work hard and I was born with this badass body and proud of it).” A self-assurance she will no doubt instill in her daughter, Williams’ words have never been more moving.
Beauty isn’t one size fits all
“I want women to know that it’s okay,” she said, speaking on the importance of body positivity and self-acceptance. “That you can be whatever size you are and you can be beautiful inside and out. We’re always told what’s beautiful, and what’s not, and that’s not right.”
Keep your eye on the prize
“I’ve been like this my whole life and I embrace me,” she explained on Good Morning America. “I don’t have time to be brought down, I’ve got too many things to do. I have grand slams to win, I have people to inspire, and that’s what I’m here for.”
Get comfortable with yourself
“For every negative comment, there are 300,000 positive ones,’’ she said in a memorable interview. “You have to be okay with yourself no matter if you’re size 0 or a little bigger, like me. A lot of other people say I inspire them to be comfortable with themselves. My mom was really strong on that, on learning to love yourself.”
Taken from Vogue US. Click here to read the original.