Serena Williams Says She’s Not Afraid to Speak Her Mind

NOVEMBER 13 2017: Serena Williams at the annual Glamour Women of the Year Awards ceremony was held in Brooklyn's Kings Theater on Flatbush Ave. (Credit: Shutterstock)

Serena Williams is getting candid about why she thinks it’s important to stand up for yourself and make sure your voice is heard.

In an interview for the September issue of Essence, the world-class tennis pro said she’s made it a point to stand up for herself throughout her career.

“Freedom means standing up and not being afraid to say, ‘I’m here’ or ‘Hear my voice’ or ‘This isn’t what I agreed to,’” she said. “It’s knowing where I’ve come from, knowing my history, in particular, the sport that I’m in. When I first started, there weren’t a lot of people who looked like me. So it was really important to always help other people feel as if this is something they could also be a part of…”

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For the magazine’s cover, Williams wore face paint by Nigerian-born, Brooklyn-based artist Laolu Senbanjo.

The mom, wife, entrepreneur and tennis champion also discussed bouncing back after becoming a mother and launching her S By Serena fashion line, which she’ll present next month at New York Fashion Week.

“I love fashion. It has to connect to me, first of all. I like things that are unusual, but also a little classic,” she explained.

She said she hopes to promote body positivity for women of all sizes with her fashion line, and will offer larger sizes.

“We have an extended size, and we call it great because I don’t like the word ‘plus,'” she said. “So we call it S Great because every woman is great. Hopefully the word “great” will catch on and people will get rid of the word “plus.”

For more of the interview, go to