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Proof Serena Williams knew she was a badass way before she was famous

"If you were a tennis player, who would you want to be like?"

Proof Serena Williams knew she was a badass way before she was famous

Serena Williams is on the brink of leaving a big mark on tennis history.

On September 8, 2015, Williams defeated her sister, Venus, in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open. If she ends up winning the U.S. Open (as many are anticipating), she'll be just the fourth woman — and the first black woman — in history to win all four major singles titles in one season.

If you look up "badass" in the dictionary, I'm pretty sure you'll see Williams' face.


Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images.

Williams is incredible. But she's had an inkling she'd be something special for a while.

In a new ad for Gatorade, footage captures a young Williams — long before she and her sister Venus were renowned tennis players — chatting with an interviewer.

"If you were a tennis player, who would you want to be like?" the interviewer asks.

Williams' confident (and a bit psychic) answer sums up why she's now one of the greats:

If you're wondering where Williams got her confidence from at such a young age, this video of her father defending Venus from an intrusive interviewer should make it clear.

I think we can all agree: Williams has reached that goal, and plenty of people want to be just like her. From raking in millions of dollars in endorsement deals to gracing the covers of magazines (and, of course, starring in sports drink commercials), Williams has become an inspiration for tennis players (and probably even more non-tennis players) everywhere. You can check out the moving ad below.

You could also argue that Williams' influence off the court has been just as profound as her influence on it.

Yes, she wins championships. But she's become so much more than a star athlete.

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for the USTA.

She's become a champion for body positivity, too. Williams' is a world-famous tennis player, but it doesn't stop people from obsessing over her physical appearance. Stories on Williams ahead of her historic U.S. Open run have often ended up "sexualizing or criticizing her body instead of applauding her unmatched success in tennis," Chicago Tribune's Shannon Ryan wrote.

People have said her butt's too big and that she's built "like a man" — not to mention the not-even-a-little-bit-subtle racism she experiences all the time.

When asked about her haters on "Good Morning America" on Aug. 31, 2015, Williams had the perfect response:

"It's me, and I love me. I learned to love me. I've been like this my whole life, and I embrace me. I love how I look. I love that I'm a full woman and I'm strong and I'm powerful and I'm beautiful at the same time. There's nothing wrong with that."

Williams is proud to be paving a smoother road for future athletes like her.

It's no news that black athletes face unique challenges their white counterparts don't always have to endure — like, for instance, being seen as less valuable to marketers that want to sell desirability and an image "associated with the good life," as The New York Times reported. It's a reality Williams knows all too-well.

But Williams chooses to promote progress over focusing on the negativity so future athletes won't have to face the same inequality.

"I'm just opening the door," Williams said. "Zina Garrison, Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe and Venus opened so many doors for me. I'm just opening the next door for the next person."

Keep opening those doors, Serena. The world is rooting for you.

Check out Williams' Gatorade ad below:


Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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Photo by R.D. Smith on Unsplash

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According to CTV News, a 5-year-old shepherd-cross named Gem escaped from her fenced backyard in Winnipeg early Saturday morning and ended up at the door of Happy Tails Pet Resort & Spa, five blocks away. An employee at the spa saw Gem at the gate around 6:30 a.m. and was surprised when they noticed her owners were nowhere to be seen.

"They were looking in the parking lot and saying, 'Where's your parents?'" said Shawn Bennett, one of the co-owners of the business.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."