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Serena Williams appears on the latest cover of FADER, and the cover story features the G.O.A.T. talking about everything from the intense workouts that she still does to her appearance in Beyoncé’s LEMONADE video. But it doesn’t sound like Serena is going to get around to actually reading the excellent story.
At one point during her Q&A with FADER, Serena was asked how she deals with all of the people out there who write articles about her body. She has gone on the record on numerous occasions in the past and talked about how much she loves her body, but it hasn’t stopped people from writing about it. So she has a really simple solution for dealing with those people: She’s stopped reading articles about herself. Like, all articles, whether they have to do with her body or not.
"I’ve purposely tuned people out since I was 17," she said. "At the time, it was basically newspapers and maybe a website article. Maybe if the web was up back then. Since the day I won the U.S. Open, my very first Grand Slam, I never read articles about myself. If I saw myself mentioned, I’d look away. I looked at the pictures, but that’s pretty much it. I didn’t want to get too cocky, and at the same time, I didn’t want to have that negative energy. I don’t know why I did it, but I did it. Ever since then, I’ve been really low-key."
She then went on to explain how she handles hearing both good and bad things about her body on the rare occasion that she hears commentary about it.
"People have been talking about my body for a really long time," she said. "Good things, great things, negative things. People are entitled to have their opinions, but what matters most is how I feel about me, because that’s what’s going to permeate the room I’m sitting in. It’s going to make you feel that I have confidence in myself whether you like me or not, or you like the way I look or not, if I do. That’s the message I try to tell other women and in particular young girls. You have to love you, and if you don’t love you, no one else will. And if you do love you, people will see that and they’ll love you, too."
Serena also touched on several other topics throughout the interview. Here are just a few of her more notable quotes:
On what sets her apart from other pro athletes:
I think I developed something really intense in my heart and in my mind. Was it innate? I can’t answer that. All I know is that I do work very, very hard. The other day I was on the court for four hours with my coach and everyone was like, "OK, are you crazy?" No, I’m just really intense. I work really hard. As long as you’re willing to do hard work, you’ll have everything.
On being comfortable with her sexuality:
I’ve always been comfortable. I think since I wore the catsuit at the Open back in 2002, but even before that I was pretty comfortable—ever since I was 20, maybe younger. I remember wearing that and thinking, Wow, I can’t believe I’m wearing this. I was a little nervous before, but afterwards I was totally OK.
On the temper tantrums she occasionally throws on the court:
I do have a temper tantrum sometimes that I’ve definitely made an effort to calm down, only because I do want to be a role model and I don’t want to send the wrong message. But I also think it shows my passion. It helps me. If I don’t have that intensity or that anger, I’m not doing as well as I need to do to win. Sometimes I almost need to get angry to win, which is really, really weird but it works for me.
You can check out Serena’s entire FADER story here.