Serena Williams' untouched Harper's Bazaar cover shoot is next level incredible
"I've been called every name in the book."
Serena Williams is on the cover of next month's Harper's Bazaar and she looks next level incredible.
The tennis star's cover shoot for the magazine is completely untouched and un-photoshopped, focusing on her natural beauty and body, as well as the challenges she has received over the course of her career.
"I’ve been called every name in the book," she says. "I’ve been shamed because of my body shape."
"I’ve been paid unequally because of my sex. I’ve been penalized a game in the final of a Major because I expressed my opinion or grunted too loudly.
"And these are only the things that are seen by the public."
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Harper's Bazaar August 2019 issue sees Williams write a candid personal essay about the challenges she has faced as a worldwide sports star who is also a woman of colour.
She questions why when a woman is passionate about a sport, it is often seen as "emotional, crazy, and irrational."
She points to the 2018 US Open Grand Slam against Naomi Osaka as an example, when she was issued with a warning for smashing her racket on the ground - and another for standing up for herself.
"In the end, my opponent simply played better than me that day and ended up winning her first Grand Slam title," she says.
"I could not have been happier for her.
"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."
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Williams says that it took her a long time to accept that she was right to stand up for herself in the moment.
She writes that she wasn't struggling because of the backlash she received, "but rather because of what had happened to the young woman who deserved so much more in her special moment."
"I had felt that it was my fault and that I should have kept my mouth closed."
Williams says that it was a while before she picked up a racket again, but that ultimately she decided to do it because of her daughter - "the reason I use my voice."
"It’s not about quitting when someone presents a challenge," she says.
"It’s about getting up when you are down, dusting yourself off and asking, 'Is that the best you got?'"
You can read Williams' full essay here.
20x20 is an ambitious two-year long initiative to better promote and champion women in sport.
With the tagline of "if she can't see it, she can't be it," the 20x20 movement has three targets to reach by 2020:
- 20 percent more media coverage of women in sport
- 20 percent more female participation
- 20 percent more attendance at women’s competitions and events
And at Maximum Media, we're proud that Her and SportsJOE is backing the 20x20 movement as official digital media partners.