Bona Fide Badass: Serena Williams Covers InStyle’s Badass Women Issue

Illustration for article titled Bona Fide Badass: Serena Williams Covers InStyle’s Badass Women Issue
Photo: Robbie Fimmano (InStyle Magazine/Meredith Corp.)

Is there anyone more badass than Serena Williams? InStyle magazine doesn’t think so, having chosen Williams to cover its inaugural Badass Women issue.


The queen of the power serve serves face in a hat by Eric Javits and a dress by the Row on the cover of the August issue. Inside, Williams discusses motherhood, marriage and the most badass thing she’s done to date: winning the Australian Open while in her first trimester of pregnancy with daughter Olympia Ohanian:

I was two months pregnant. I was literally nine weeks by the end of the tournament. I was almost done with my first trimester. Every day that passed I thought, “This is a dream.” It was like an animated Disney movie. And by the time the quarterfinals came, I was like, “I know I can beat this girl,” and at the semifinals I thought, “I know I can win this match.” I didn’t think I would win the final, so when I won, it was like, “OK, this is crazy.”

And to add to her badassery, Williams is still breastfeeding her 11-month-old, whom she is never away from more than a day, even after returning to competition earlier this year:

I’m in the locker room pumping before a match because my boobs are so big. When I pump, they go down a size or two and I go out and play. It’s crazy. So I feed her, and then she snuggles with me, which is the best part of my day. Then we play, and after that, I sneak away to practice, usually around 8 a.m. The only rule I have at practice is to be done at 1 p.m., because as much as I love tennis, I need to be with her.

Williams also lists her top three badass women (“Well, obviously Beyoncé. That goes unsaid. Rihanna goes unsaid. Kate Middleton!”) and talks about how she got her much-lauded looks together for the royal wedding of friend Meghan Markle last month in England—including her decision to wear sneakers under the Valentino dress she wore to the reception:

I worked with [Valentino designer] Pierpaolo Piccioli [for my reception look], and I had a great time. The first thing he showed me, I was like, “This is it. I don’t need anything else.” It was such a big hit. I was supposed to wear heels originally, and I’m thinking, “C’mon, Serena—reception. Heels or shoes? Heels or shoes?” I decided to go with the shoes [laughs].


And what are Williams’ tips for being a badass woman?

You have to be confident. Someone who’s a badass is incredibly confident and unapologetically herself. And she doesn’t care what anyone else says—but in a positive, not a negative, way. It’s more like standing up for yourself and others. The whole #MeToo movement, those women are badass. They’re not afraid to say what’s wrong and what affected them. ...

Being a girl is not easy—in some areas especially. You have to be really brave. And I realize I am saying this from the United States, so I have an opportunity to speak more than the next person—I’m saying that with the understanding that maybe they can’t. It’s really just about being aware and educating yourself so you can help other people be aware. Once you do that, even if you reach one person, that’s more than none.


Though Williams graces the cover, notably, there are 50 other badass women profiled in the issue, including Kamala Harris, Cardi B, Janet Mock, Anita Hill, Leslie Jones, director Victoria Mahoney, prisoner-turned-caterer and CEO Sharon Richardson, opera singer Pretty Yende and Samburu warrior-turned-elephant protector Sasha Dorothy Lowuekuduk.

The Glow Up tip: InStyle’s Badass Women issue will be available online and on newsstands July 6.

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?


Legend! After our nuclear holocaust I hope she’s one of the few people the aliens come back and discover. May she be worshiped for eternity.