The athlete and new mom addressed her previous goal to become a size 4, saying her view on her physique has changed—but it didn't happen overnight.
Photo: Aurelien Meunier / Getty Images
On Tuesday, Serena Williams competed in her first tennis match since giving birth to her daughter Olympia—and went on to win said Grand Slam match as an unseeded player. In true Serena fashion, she also made a fashion statement in a black catsuit that made her feel like a "warrior princess" and a "superhero." Williams is clearly in touch with her own badassery, but it turns out she wasn't always so confident in her naturally strong and muscular physique. Like so many women, she's struggled with negative body image in the past.
In a cover interview with Harper's Bazaar UK, the tennis champ addressed a past statement that she wanted to slim down a few sizes. Back in '04, she had written a list of goals for herself—and included slimming down to a size 4 on that list, under winning the Italian and French Opens. Present-day Williams does not have the same mindset.
"Oh God, I'll never be a size 4! Why would I want to do that, and be that? This is me, and this is my weapon and machine," she told the publication, gesturing to her biceps. "‘But I love that I said that because I can understand. I can show Olympia that I struggled, but now I'm happy with who I am and what I am and what I look like." (Related: This Instagrammer Is Sharing Why It's So Important to Love Your Body As It Is)
"I knew I was having a girl, because when I was playing tennis in the Australian Open, I didn't have one day of morning sickness, no symptoms. Australia is really hot, some days can be over 40 degrees, which is insane, but she never complained. I said to Alexis, 'This is a girl. Only a woman can be this strong.'" Serena Williams talks sisterhood, self-acceptance and staying strong in the July issue - out today (by @richardphibbs and styled by @mirandaalmond. Serena wears @versace top and leggings and @chanelofficial jewellery) #harpersbazaar #serenawilliams #julyissue
Her past insecurities stemmed a lot from how she was critiqued in the media, she shared. "It was hard for me," Williams said in the interview. "People would say I was born a guy, all because of my arms, or because I'm strong." Clearly, Williams has come a long way since 22 when it comes to embracing her shape. In recent years, she's shut down negative criticism about her body, encouraged a body-positive message to her young fans, and was open about embracing her body's changes while pregnant. Still, it's an important reminder that as awesome as it is to love your body and accept it, it's not something that happens overnight.
There are plenty of reasons to cheer Williams on right now: She's killing it as a mom, fashion designer, reality TV star, and (obv.) athlete. But we're also pumped that she's made it a point that she appreciates her build and strength as her "weapon and machine" and doesn't have time for body-shaming—from herself or anyone else.
Because our bodies are badass and feeling strong, healthy, and confident is for everyone! Help us spread the body love and be a part of our #LoveMyShape body confidence movement: Post a photo or video on social sharing why you love your shape. And check out Movemeant Foundation, our partner in empowering women and girls to be body positive.