She’s ranked as the world’s number one female tennis player and is seemingly confident when it comes to her career.
But Serena Williams has not always been so self-assured about her figure.
In a new interview with DuJour magazine, the sports star opens up about her own struggles with body image issues.
The 31-year-old professional athlete poses for a glamorous spread as speaks about everything from her longstanding love for fashion, pre-match routines to adding more green veggies to her daily menu.
Serena ditches the tennis gear in the shoot for a sexy yellow and black lace tube dress teamed with a tailored leather jacket.
Her lengthy dark tresses are coiffed in tight curls and a simple silver necklace decorates her neck.
In her interview with the magazine, she speaks honestly and openly about her experience with body image.
Serena reveals that despite being a professional sports player, it took her a long time to embrace her body shape in the face of social pressures.
‘I grew up with a lot of sisters – I was the youngest, and I was really thick,’ the star – whose sister is Venus Williams – explains.
‘My sister Venus was so tall and slim, and just being in a society where a lot of people are really thin, it was hard… especially as an athlete,’ she says.
The statuesque athlete boldly goes on: ‘No athlete has boobs like me, but I had to learn how to embrace myself and embrace my curves… and that’s something a lot of people can relate to.’
On the topic of her status as a role model for women, Serena dishes out some valuable advice: ‘It’s OK if you’re feeling uncomfortable with yourself. I was too. It’s normal. I love who I am, and I encourage other people to love and embrace who they are. But it definitely wasn’t easy—it took me a while.’
Speaking candidly, she admits: ‘I wasn’t always confident. I just started feeling comfortable with myself about six or seven years ago’
Serena also tells a funny anecdote about how she was recently on the set of a photoshoot and impressed the crew by sewing up her own dress when it came un-stitched.
‘Everyone couldn’t believe it. You could never tell it was broken!’ the stunner reveals.
She explains: ‘My mom taught me how to sew when I was 2 or 3, so I’ve been sewing for as long as I can remember.’
When it comes to eating regimes, the sporting legend seems to take an atypically relaxed approach, saying she’s ‘not really a superstitious person.’
But Serena notes that she is currently trying to make healthy improvements to her dining habits, adding ‘lots of veggies, green juice and fish’ to the menu.
The tennis player is having a successful year: she careered through the first round of the US Open in straight sets this week, and even indulged in a hug from First Lady Michelle Obama on Saturday.