Serena Williams stars on the cover of The FADER's “The America Issue”. As if her 20-year professional tennis career, four Grand Slam titles and countless accolades don't already speak for themselves, Williams sits down with the mag to chat about her younger days, her passion and what's in store for the future.
How do you make a life in America?
Whether I’m winning or losing, I am who I am. I don’t apologize for my color or my sex or for anything.
Do you feel like your story is universal, or was this path unique to you and who you are?
I think that my story is universal. I don’t think it’s limited to my country, I don’t think it’s limited to my color, I don’t think it’s limited to my sex. I think it’s universal because I was not born with anything more special than anyone else. I wasn’t born with an extra arm. I wasn’t born super tall. I’m here — a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication, a lot of commitment. And I’ve had a lot of people that didn’t believe in me, so I had to develop a lot of self-belief. At the end of the day, I think it’s a story that everyone in all walks of life can relate to.
Why is travel so important to you?
Being African-American, I’ve always dreamt of going back to Africa. That was just my main goal for as long as I can remember. I gotta get back to Africa. I want to see my roots, where I’m from. I want to see the struggle. I want to see the slave castles. I need to see that journey. I just wouldn’t have felt full if I had never experienced that.
And I think it changed me. It changed me to realize how strong I was and to realize that I, through my ancestors, am capable of doing anything. I’m really capable. They endured the toughest, and only the strongest survived. I realized that I was built from this incredible bloodline that many different types of people aren’t built from. The whole journey, and just visiting other places throughout the world as well, has been really educational for me and uplifting.
Read Serena Williams’ “The America Issue” interview here and watch the preview for the video portion of the interview- dubbed “Soul Intact”- below.