7 Times Serena Williams Was A Body Positive Champion, As Well As A Tennis Champ

After plenty of impressive accomplishments on the tennis court, Serena Williams made history as Sports Illustrated's 2015 Sportsperson of the Year. Not only is she the first woman to earn the title in 32 years, but she's the first black athlete to ever do so. When receiving the well-deserved award, Williams gave an inspiring acceptance speech. But these were far from the star athlete's first words of wisdom. Williams has been sharing body positive quotes (as well as images!) for some time now, and anyone could benefit from reading her words.

Most recently, Williams appeared in the 2016 Pirelli calendar, which showed off all different kinds of women who vary when it comes to everything from their physical appearance to their careers. Even within the calendar, the way the women appear is completely unique, from Amy Schumer sitting nude on a chair to Williams' shot that shows her powerful body. And it's no surprise that Williams is so comfortable with her body because it's likely because of her strong physique that she's such a successful athlete.

The message the 34-year-old athlete sends by being so positive will help others see that there's no cookie cutter definition of beauty. Here's a round-up of other times Williams was a body positive champion.

1. Appearing In The 2016 Pirelli Calendar

Along with stars like Amy Schumer, Williams was photographed for this year's Pirelli Calendar. Shot by Annie Lebowitz, it's essentially a photograph collection featuring the year's most powerful women. Plus, it celebrates the female body in all shapes and sizes.

2. Explaining Why She Didn't Want To Smile


After winning the U.S. Open, a reporter asked Williams why she wasn't smiling. She gave the most perfect response, saying, "It's 11:30. To be perfectly honest, I don't want to be here." She doesn't have to smile when she doesn't want to. It's an unfair expectation that women always need to be happy or have certain facial expressions.

3. Ignoring The Body Shamers

Theo Wargo/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

When talking to Good Morning America, the tennis star talked about body shamers. She said, "I love me and I learned to love me and I've been like this my whole life, and I embrace me, and I love how I look." Expanding upon that, she said,

I love that I'm a full woman and I am strong, and I'm powerful, and I'm beautiful at the same time, and there's nothing wrong like that. It's so important to look at the positives, if I get caught up looking at the negatives it can really bring you down.

Plus she's far too busy to let negativity get to her. She added, "I don't have time to be brought down, I've got too many things to do. I have Grand Slams to win, I have people to inspire, and that's what I'm here for."

4. Embracing Her Butt

This photo caption says it all.

5. Promoting Sports Bras

Once again, her caption speaks volumes. While promoting a line of sports bras, she wrote that she's controlling what bounces. (Get it? She's not talking about tennis balls this time.)

6. Calling Out Her Brow Haters

OK, so she may have caved and shaped her brows, but Williams admits she likes the natural look and acknowledges the unfair comments others have made. She's allowed to wear her eyebrows however she chooses.

7. Using The #StrongIsBeautiful Hashtag

The 34-year-old embraces her muscles by frequently using the hashtag #strongisbeautiful.

See? Williams isn't only an athletic legend, she's a body positive role model as well.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this article contained two quotes from an interview Serena Williams was said to have done with The Times Magazine. According to Williams' rep, the tennis star did not give these quotes nor participate in the interview. This article has been updated accordingly.