Serena Williams is one of the greatest athletes of all time. And no, I'm not just talking about one of the best women athletes. Because with 23 Grand Slam singles titles, 39 Grand Slam titles overall, three Olympic gold medals, six U.S. Open titles, and seven Australian Open titles (need I go on?), she's in a league of her own. Meaning, she should never receive fewer opportunities than any male athletes. Period.
Unfortunately, not all women athletes receive the same respect. But they should, regardless of their age or rank. So to show their support for all the badass women competing in the 2021 Olympics, Secret Deodorant launched the #WatchMe Olympics campaign to encourage young girls to continue playing the sport they love and never give up on their dreams of competing on the world's biggest stage.
As one of the best to ever do it, Williams is at the forefront of the movement that aims to pave the way for other young women and girls — including her daughter Olympia — who will need support and encouragement to continue on with their passion and grow into future Olympians.
"Having a daughter myself, I love what Secret is about," Williams tells InStyle. "And I really want to support and empower all young girls and young women athletes because girls shouldn't have to feel like they're not supported. And they should be able to always play the sports they love."
According to Secret, young girls are dropping out of sports at twice the rate of young boys because of underfunding and underrepresentation. Williams says that statistic kickstarted her desire to make a change for young girls in sports.
"I just love that the #WatchMe campaign can really work on improving that statistic," she says.
"We have to show up. We have to encourage everyone to show up," she stresses. "That's what my dad and mom did. And showing up can be different things. It can be literally showing up and watching, or it could be showing up in different ways like buying someone's jersey or helping them, or mentoring them. There are so many different ways that you could show up or just watch these athletes."
Secret's partnership with Serena is just one element of their campaign. On Tuesday, July 27, the brand is hosting a watch party at the Merchants Gate Plaza in New York City to "fill up the bleachers" and cheer on the women Olympians. Plus, the brand is pledging $1 from every sale at Walmart (up to $150,000) to girl's youth sports through the Women's Sports Foundation, which works to give all women equal opportunities in sports.
In the same way that so many others look up to Williams and find inspiration in her success, the record holder had a few role models of her own growing up.
"There was this tennis player I looked up to, her name was Zina Garrison," Williams shares. "She was really cool because she was Black and got to the finals of Wimbledon." The tennis great also name dropped Jackie Joyner-Kersee, the track and field legend and Olympic gold-medalist, as a childhood hero.
And Williams' daughter Olympia has quite the role model and mentor in her mother. It appears Olympia is already following in her mom's footsteps and taking a liking to tennis. Williams often posts adorable videos of the two hitting balls and swinging racquets together on the court.
But it's evident that Olympia looks up to her mom off the court, as well. The mother-daughter duo often model, bake, and even do their makeup together. Williams has a series of makeup tutorials on her Instagram titled Serena's Beauty, and Olympia will often pop up and sometimes even play with her own makeup.
Perhaps this is another arena where Olympia will take after her mom. After all, Williams calls herself a total "makeup junkie."
As for the product she cannot live without? "I love a nude lipstick, but one that goes with my skin tone, so it's a never ending search," she says. "I'm always finding 50 shades of nude."
And now that the society is opening back up again, there's no doubt Williams will have endless events to attend. She's looking forward to "wearing some Gucci threads" and going to the MET Gala (perhaps those two things will go hand-in-hand?). But arguably the most important event coming up on her calendar is the U.S. Open in New York City this August. And after a year of quarantine and sitting out of the Olympics due to a recent injury, there's one thing she's looking forward to most about the competition: "Just being there," she says with a laugh.