Beauty. Strength. Grace. Fire. Despite all odds, Serena Williams has continued to be one of the most inspirational athletes for the past two decades. Serena Williams is someone I've looked up to since elementary school. I grew up with posters of her hanging all over my room, staying up late to watch her win yet another Grand Slam, and watching her continue to grow as one of the biggest female icons of our time.
She's taught me that no matter who is on the other side of the net, another side of the desk, or another side of the phone, I shouldn't be afraid to show everyone who I am and that I'm a force to be reckoned with.
Imagine being on a world stage and having people critique you for your body type and skin color. A lot of people are insecure about their image, but not everyone has millions of people watching them on TV and in magazines and newspapers. Serena has had countless reporters comment on her body-build, saying it was masculine or unnatural, and she had to find ways to overcome this hatred. One of my favorite Serena quotes was when she said: "This is me, and this is my weapon and machine."
A lot of people can look up to Serena when it comes to body image. If Serena can face so many negative comments about her body and still feel confident, it can motivate you to feel confident about your own body. Growing up, I saw Serena as my role model because I was always bigger and taller than most guys in middle and elementary school.
Guys would often tease me about this, but I would respond saying things like "I want to be strong like Serena." At times I would still feel insecure while playing high school tennis with and against a lot of girls who were slimmer than me, but I continued to use Serena as my inspiration.
I could be strong and beautiful.
Serena's collaboration with Bumble portrays a strong message that all women need to hear. I've already watched this video 20+ times and I strongly recommend you watch this one minute video. The slogan "Women, the ball is in your court" is about how women already have power and shouldn't wait to seize it. I've realized that in my life, whether it be in class, in the gym, in a group project, or on the field, I always wait to be called upon or to be included.
If Serena Williams had waited for people to include her, she never would have won 23 grand-slam titles. Sometimes, we all need to be more assertive and confident in ourselves and abilities.
Another strong quality that we can see in Serena is how she doesn't feel the need to apologize for who she is. She isn't afraid to call people out for being rude to her, and her fire lights up the tennis court. As a female, I've always found myself having to be extra assertive to show my ideas, and then once I'm finally heard, I apologize for coming off as aggressive. As females, we shouldn't have to do this. We shouldn't apologize for the fire that keeps us going.
Whether it is confidence, self-discipline, or persistence, we can all learn something from Serena's journey to become one of the greatest athletes of our time. At the young age of 17, she won her first grand slam title and defeated the world's #1 player of that time. Now, at the age of 37, she's the founder of a clothing line, a mother to Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., and still one of the most powerful athletes in the world.