Serena Williams is regarded by many to be not just the best tennis player in the world today, but one of the greatest athletes in history. Williams has racked up 23 Grand Slam titles over the past two decades — just one shy of tying the world record. Williams has also extended her empire beyond tennis with clothing lines and other business ventures and is now enjoying life as a mother.
Serena Williams does more than just tennis
As one of the biggest athletes in the world, Williams began securing endorsement deals with brands ranging from Gatorade and Beats by Dre to IBM and Chase Bank early in her career. She’s appeared on shows such as ER and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and even done some voice acting for animated shows including The Simpsons, Avatar: The Last Airbender (which she called her “favorite show”), and The Legend of Korra.
In the early 2000s, both Serena and her sister Venus took a break from tennis to study fashion. Williams began to collaborate with brands such as Puma and Nike to create her own clothing lines. In the years since then she’s designed handbags, jewelry, nails, and more; in 2019, she launched her first sustainable clothing line, S by Serena.
Like her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, Williams has her hand in tech companies as well as her own venture capital firm. Serena Ventures has investments in over 30 companies today.
Serena Williams took a career break to study to become a nail technician
In 2009, Williams suffered a knee injury that eventually took her off the court. Never one to keep still, Williams used her time off to learn new things.
Williams enrolled in a course at Palm Beach Nail School to become a certified nail technician. “No one likes getting their nails done more than I do. As a matter of fact I go every 4 days to get a manicure and every 7 days for a pedicure,” she wrote on her blog at the time. “So, I had a brilliant idea to get certified to be a nail tech.”
Serena Williams practiced her nail art skills on Oprah Winfrey’s feet
Williams sat down with her sister Venus and supermodel Naomi Campbell on Campbell’s web show No Filter with Naomi in April of 2020 to discuss their careers, business ventures beyond tennis, and more. Campbell asked Serena about one thing in particular: when she gave Oprah Winfrey a pedicure on her talk show in 2010.
“It kinda relaxes me. I’m always watching TV and kinda wasting time and not really doing much,” Williams said of her decision to go to nail school.
“I can’t believe Serena Williams is actually filing my big toe,” Winfrey laughed. “Unbelievable.”
Serena Williams talked about love and more while giving Oprah Winfrey a pedicure
None of Williams’ classmates or teachers knew who she was, and she often was told that she looked like Serena Williams. Williams told Winfrey that the financial advice she once gave her — to sign every check that goes out — has stuck with her to this day.
Winfrey then asked if there were any special men in her life. “I’m trying to figure it out. I’m so confused. I got a little depressed the past couple of days,” she said sheepishly. “I think I’m a catch!”
Williams also discussed how many people don’t see the other side of her — the Serena Williams in everyday life and not on the tennis court.
“I feel like I’m two people. I feel like on the court I’m Serena Williams and everyone knows. Then I feel like the moment I step off the court, I’m a different animal,” she said. “I’m really super feminine and I’m really soft and sensitive about people that don’t like me because I feel like I always want people to like me. But at the same time, on the court, I couldn’t care less what people feel.”
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