A Super-Inside Look at the Life of Venus Williams, aka the Icon We All Need Right Now

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Ten days before our interview, Venus Williams made it clear how she handles the press: “I know every single person asking me a question can’t play as well as I can and never will.” Sitting in a media room at the French Open, eyes shadowed by a baseball cap, she scanned the room. “No matter what you say or what you write, you’ll never light a candle to me.”As the mic drop reverberated across the internet, it dawned on me that I would have to be the one to pick said mic back up and ask Venus to elaborate. Some writers may have found that intimidating, but I felt the opposite—her words made me feel confident, empowered. Black women are often taught that we have to be “twice as good to get half as far” as our white counterparts in any given industry, and we rarely get to say aloud what it means when we succeed—that we are, in fact, the baddest bitch in the room (or as track and field star Sha’Carri Richardson would later succinctly put it, “that girl”).

That’s why I was fully prepared, as I opened my laptop for our Zoom, to honor the fact that Venus would once again be the best in the “room.” What I wasn’t prepared for, before I even asked my first question, was a compliment. “Your articles are beautiful,” Venus said, sitting in front of her laptop in a silky pajama-style top, hair pulled back in a low bun, ornate chandelier casually twinkling behind her. “As someone who can’t write, I admire those who have that skill.” The thousands of miles between her chic Paris hotel room and my apartment in California weren’t enough to dull my shock. Venus Williams had just thrown me off my game and we weren’t even on a court. Still, I felt it again: empowered. Here was one of the world’s greatest athletes going out of her way to acknowledge the singular thing I do better than she does—the thing that I, too, had to work twice as hard on to meet her at this moment. Of course, I’m guessing that was her point.




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