When you’re young, it can be hard to look different than other girls.
Serena Williams wasn’t exempt from this — she spent her youth comparing herself to her equally talented and athletic older sister, Venus, who she felt had the better figure.
“Venus was like a model. I was thicker,” Williams said in an interview with the Huffington Post.
But Serena didn’t stop with that disparaging remark about herself. In the world of women’s sports, Williams felt that she stood out from other athletes as well, and compared her curves to the svelte figures of her peers.
“Most women athletes are pretty thin. I didn’t really know how to deal with it. I had to come to terms — as every teen and young adult does — with loving myself. I had to find different role models. But my … type is in style now, so I’m loving it!”
As an athlete, Serena Williams has a deep connection to her body — the vehicle through which her amazing career has been built (she just won the French Open, giving her 20 Grand Slam titles). Injury, while part of the job, is always on her mind.
When Williams cut her foot in 2010 and appeared in public wearing a boot, Serena didn’t say a word about the injury in public, revealing only later that she “sliced my tendon in half.” The wound required two surgeries and Serena got a blood clot in her lungs in the process.
Williams nearly died.
Injury, Serena said, is akin to having your heart broken.
“You worry about it. You worry every second about it. It’s like a heartbreak — the first couple of months, it’s really painful and then eventually it goes away. But every day I got a little bit stronger, every day I worked harder and eventually I didn’t even remember it anymore.”
But on the other side of recovery, Serena has deepened the bond with her body, and come to terms with her muscular curves. Williams even showed them off on the cover of Vogue this year, Fashion and Style added.
Serena Williams isn’t the only celebrity to come forward with some positive thoughts about beauty, body image, and self-acceptance. Here are some other wise words from some very lovely ladies.
- “I’m an actress, I live in L.A., I work in Hollywood. But I’ve learned that if you’re too skinny, they’ll say something about it. If you’re not skinny enough, they’ll say something about it. I just try to feel good in my own skin as much as I can.” — Jennifer Love Hewitt
- “I have learned more and more to enjoy my body when I have a few extra pounds on, just being more voluptuous. I say, focus on the body part that you feel most comfortable with.” — Fergie
- ” The female body is something that’s so beautiful. I wish women would be proud of their bodies and not diss other women for being proud of theirs.” — Christina Aguilera
- “Young women, don’t worry so much about your weight. What makes you different or weird, that’s your strength.” — Meryl Streep
- I’m never going to starve myself for a part… I don’t want little girls to be like, ‘Oh, I want to look like Katniss, so I’m going to skip dinner.’ (During training)… I was trying to get my body to look fit and strong — not thin and underfed.” — Jennifer Lawrence
- “I don’t really care what I look like that much, and I think women out there should just be happy with the way they look. They shouldn’t really try to conform to any kind of stereotype. Just be happy and hopefully healthy.” — Rebel Wilson
[Photo Courtesy Clive Brunskill/Getty Images]