More Than a Tennis Pro: How Serena Williams Became a Pop Culture Icon

Serena Williams is a household name. Tennis fans love her, teens idolize her, and women want to be her. But when did she go from a tennis player to so much more?

Ask any of Serena’s fans and you can bet that a handful of them don’t follow tennis, let alone have ever seen her play. Serena’s brand is built on so much more than just her skills on the court (which are outstanding, by the way). Besties with Beyonce, exes with Drake, Serena has become a pop culture icon in her own right, but her associations certainly don’t hurt.

Her unique fashion sense on the court quickly led to deals with Puma, Nike, and most recently HSN, for her own lines, turning her into a fashionista on the rise.

Heavily involved in charity, she’s also been an International Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF since 2011.

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Credit: Instagram

But it’s more than just her friends, fashion, and charity that have catapulted her to stardom. In reality, it’s Serena’s charisma, and her attitude.

She’s completely embraced her status as role model, and even encourages it — a rare combination for anyone in the spotlight. She flicks off criticism like it’s no sweat off her back, telling the Guardian,

“For every negative comment, there’s a million good comments. I always say, ‘Not everyone’s going to like the way I look.’ Everyone has different types. If we all liked the same thing, it would make the world a really boring place! What matters most is that I like myself.”

Related: Chloë Grace Moretz Just Took on Internet Haters and it Was Fierce!

More importantly, she’s shown other woman, of all races, that they can truly accomplish their goals if they put in the work.

“I have so many different people, races and colors who can relate with my story, whether they’re poor or rich or middle class, it doesn’t matter. My goal is to inspire every woman out there. My new saying for the past few years has been: ‘The success of one woman should be the inspiration for the next.'”


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