In an hourlong, one-on-one discussion for the third episode of The Undefeated In-Depth, Serena Williams and Common came together to chat about various topics such as success. body image, race and sexism in the sports world. The ESPN series aims to highlight black sports stars, and in the specials, the athletes discuss a wide array of topics with a host.
Here are some gems from Ms. Williams pulled from the interview, which you can watch in full below.
On sexism in the sports world:
“I think, if I were a man, I would’ve been in that conversation a long, long time ago. Like six, seven years ago. Eight years ago … I think being a woman is a whole new set of problems from a society that you have to deal with, as well — and being black. So it’s a lot to deal with. Especially lately, I’ve been able to really, really speak up for women’s rights, as well, because I think that gets lost in color or gets lost in cultures. We are doctors, we are lawyers, we are athletes, we are everything. We are CEOs. Women make up so much of this world.”
On a positive body image:
“There was a time where I didn’t feel incredibly comfortable about my body, because I felt like I was too strong, and then I had to take a second and think, ‘who says I’m too strong?’ This body has enabled me to be the greatest player I can be and I’m not going to scrutinize that. This is great. I mean, this is amazing.”
On her superior talent and success:
“You will never hear me say ‘I’m the greatest.’“
On growing up and learning to love the skin she’s in:
“They [my parents] always wanted us to be proud of who we are and who we were. A lot of black people, unfortunately, especially growing up, are discouraged, like, ‘You don’t look good’ or ‘Your hair is not pretty’ or ‘Your skin’s too dark.’ We were always told to love ourselves. My dad always said you have to know your history, and if you know your past, you can have a great future. So we always watched specials on TV.”
On becoming a role model for others like her:
“Obviously, everything I’ve done is because of the help of my sister Venus. But when I started out, I never thought, ‘I want to open up doors for black athletes,’ and then to female athletes. I ended up on this path and people started looking up to me and it was different, because I was like, ‘I’m just doing me.’ And people were starting to appreciate it; I was, like, ‘Wow, OK, that’s kind of cool.’”