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?"

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:


More

If you're a woman and you want to be a CEO, you should probably think about changing your name to "Jeffrey" or "Michael." Or possibly even "Michael Jeffreys" or "Jeffrey Michaels."

According to Fortune, last year, more men named Jeffrey and Michael became CEOs of America's top companies than women. A whopping total of one woman became a CEO, while two men named Jeffrey took the title, and two men named Michael moved into the C-suite as well.

The "New CEO Report" for 2018, which looks at new CEOS for the 250 largest S&P 500 companies, found that 23 people were appointed to the position of CEO. Only one of those 23 people was a woman. Michelle Gass, the new CEO of Kohl's, was the lone female on the list.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

How much of what we do is influenced by what we see on TV? When it comes to risky behavior, Netflix isn't taking any chances.

After receiving a lot of heat, the streaming platform is finally removing a controversial scenedepicting teen suicide in season one of "13 Reasons Why. The decision comes two years after the show's release after statistics reveal an uptick in teen suicide.

"As we prepare to launch season three later this summer, we've been mindful about the ongoing debate around the show. So on the advice of medical experts, including Dr. Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, we've decided with creator Brian Yorkey and the producers to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from season one," Netflix said in a statement, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

At Trump's 'Social Media Summit' on Thursday, he bizarrely claimed Arnold Schwarzenegger had 'died' and he had witnessed said death. Wait, what?!


He didn't mean it literally - thank God. You can't be too sure! After all, he seemed to think that Frederick Douglass was still alive in February. More recently, he described a world in which the 1770s included airports. His laissez-faire approach to chronology is confusing, to say the least.

Keep Reading Show less
Democracy

Words matter. And they especially matter when we are talking about the safety and well-being of children.

While the #MeToo movement has shed light on sexual assault allegations that have long been swept under the rug, it has also brought to the forefront the language we use when discussing such cases. As a writer, I appreciate the importance of using varied wording, but it's vital we try to remain as accurate as possible in how we describe things.

There can be gray area in some topics, but some phrases being published by the media regarding sexual predation are not gray and need to be nixed completely—not only because they dilute the severity of the crime, but because they are simply inaccurate by definition.

One such phrase is "non-consensual sex with a minor." First of all, non-consensual sex is "rape" no matter who is involved. Second of all, most minors legally cannot consent to sex (the age of consent in the U.S. ranges by state from 16 to 18), so sex with a minor is almost always non-consensual by definition. Call it what it is—child rape or statutory rape, depending on circumstances—not "non-consensual sex."

Keep Reading Show less
Culture