We have already gushed over the content of Serena Williams’ Vanity Fair feature. It has all the Rom and Com you’ll need for a while. At the same time, it shows the grueling hard work required to sustain the lavish lifestyle that both Serena and her fiancé, Alexis Ohanian live.
Seriously, just read it!
Still, because we are complete suckers for strong, beautiful women, especially those who look like us, we have been obsessing over the photos that accompany the feature for the past 5 days. Not knowing how to approach it, we left our obsession in our hearts for fear of ruining it.
But this evening, as we prepared for the new week, with all the will power it takes not to sink under the pressures of Monday, we had a Eureka moment. It finally became clear why Serena’s glorious nakedness stayed with us all week.
Before we get carried away…
Days before this interview was released, one tennis veteran (you all know Ms Williams is a champion of that sport), 58-years-old and retired, John McEnroe, tried to rubbish Serena’s accomplishments by saying that if Serena were a male tennis player, she’d rank 700 as a tennis player. Serena, by the way ranks as the 4th best female tennis player.
Male and female tennis players are not ranked together. In fact, their games are governed by slightly different rules and this McEnroe, like every one else knows this. Serena in her response to him said as much and told him to keep her name out of his non-factual talk henceforth.
We remember this scuffle now because it’s a non-physical manifestation of Serena’s total confidence in dealing with issues.
She carried that confidence – the same one she uses to serve most intimidatingly at every match -into the shoot with Vanity Fair’s Annie Leibovitz.
Another quick story…
Annie Leibovitz is an amazing photographer who has distinguished herself with the ability to not only show celebrities in their real elements a normal people, but also portray pregnant women as beautiful creatures.
She held the lens behind the iconic pregnancy photo of Demi Moore in 1991 (also for Vanity Fair) and more recently, the brilliant Natalie Portman. Now, with Serena’s pregnancy cover for the same magazine which does not have the most impressive history when it comes to black representation on its covers.
Serena’s shoot is both the first for Vanity Fair in terms of pregnant black women and pregnant athletes.
That’s brilliant. Serena went in there with the weight of “three pyramids” on her beautiful black arms. And she KILT it!
Showing off her melanin, the way many of us know ours to look; her thighs, her roots – the way that Lupita made us proud in 12 Years a Slave – and (though we may be projecting here,) if you look hard enough some stretch marks. That’s exactly how to do it if you want to inspire confidence with a nude shoot.
In a world where white, mansplainers like McEnroe are trying to bring you down,
- telling you you are only great in a limited sense.
- Where colleagues, and sometimes rude strangers stop to tell you how “you’re beautiful for a black skinned person”.
- Where your melanin has been chalked up as the reason you can’t find a man, or get the dream job because “fair-skinned is easier” on their eyes.
- Where your curls and lack of smooth baby hairs at the edges keep you in the bathroom longer just so they don’t say you look crazy.
And in a world where the media has conditioned you to believe your own demons about you being less beautiful than you really are:
Let Serena’s glorious nakedness – with all its curves, and contours and colour-richness – be all the CONFIDENCE you need.