Serena Williams‘ curves have been the center of attention on magazine covers in recent weeks, as the tennis icon stuns in a sleek white leotard and gold cape in Harper’s Bazaar and Sports Illustrated.
The August 2019 issue of Harper’s Bazaar features a gold-colored photoshoot by Alexi Lubomirski and an interview in which Serena reflects on the 2018 US Open final controversy, when she was penalized a game for calling the chair umpire a thief. Here are just some bits, as Serena explains in her own words the raw feelings she had during and after that match:
I could not have been happier for her [Naomi Osaka, the winner]. As for me, I felt defeated and disrespected by a sport that I love—one that I had dedicated my life to and that my family truly changed, not because we were welcomed, but because we wouldn’t stop winning.
Days passed, and I still couldn’t find peace. I started seeing a therapist. I was searching for answers, and although I felt like I was making progress, I still wasn’t ready to pick up a racket. Finally I realized that there was only one way for me to move forward. It was time for me to apologize to the person who deserved it the most. I started to type, slowly at first, then faster as if the words were flowing out of me.
Naomi Osaka expressed nothing but support and understanding in a graceful reply to Serena:
People can misunderstand anger for strength because they can’t differentiate between the two. No one has stood up for themselves the way you have and you need to continue trailblazing.
Harper’s Bazaar puts it front and center that none of the photos have been retouched! Finally we seem to be moving past artificial beauty and unrealistic standards. We do see tennis players without makeup all the time, so in our sport filtered faces are not a big thing, but still it’s good to see that even professional photoshoots are embracing reality rather than fiction.
In case you didn’t know, ear accessories are a thing, this one is by Gucci. When it comes to other Serena’s outfits in the magazine, the extravagant cape is by Ralph Lauren, the strappy dress is by Stella McCartney, the fringe dress is by Michael Kors, and the long-sleeved mini dress is by Tom Ford.
Moreover, Serena is covering Sports Illustrated’s fourth annual Fashionable 50 issue, which honors the most stylish athletes. The tagline on the cover reads “The Serena Code”. It’s not a surprise to see the tennis champion leading the list — her on-court outfits always push the boundaries (the knitwear-inspired Wimbledon dress with Swarovski-studded Swoosh, the Nike cape-jacket at Roland Garros, a green playsuit at the Australian Open, to name just the most recent ones) and she has her own Serena clothing line.
My whole career has been really about tennis and fashion. I always try to make a statement when I walk out on the court—to be bold and to be unique and to kind of transcend. I always try to send the message of just being confident and being fierce.
WTA stars Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams also made the SI list compiled by a panel of stylists, fashion editors and executives and other influencers across the sports and fashion industries.