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The tennis superstar and entrepreneur wore a Cinderella costume for her talk Wednesday about mental health and well-being during this unprecedented time. She explained she picked out something else to wear, a shirt with an inspiring message from her S by Serena line, but her 2-year-old daughter, Olympia, vetoed it.
“My daughter walks in and she's like: ‘Where's Cinderella?’” Williams recalls, noting Olympia already had on her matching Cinderella costume. “I said, ‘Baby, I want to be able to wear my shirt.’ And she’s just like, ‘Cinderella.’ ... So I’m donning a Cinderella gown ‘cause my daughter dressed me — as she dresses me every day.”
Williams’s Instagram feed during quarantine has been filled with snapshots of mother and daughter in matching princess costumes. Williams admits she’s the bigger influence there.
“Well, I'm ashamed to say that I try to buy all the Disney princess [costumes] that come in adult sizes,” she admits later in the interview. “So I have Moana, Cinderella ... [ Snow White] ... Anna from Frozen... I have Tiana — which I was disappointed, it was hard to find Tiana, but I finally got it. And anything else I could find.”
Williams currently has Rapunzel in her online shopping cart and plans to surprise Olympia with that.
“When she puts [on a costume], I run in my room and [put one on too],” she says. “She doesn't [always] know I have it yet... Then I'll come out and she's like, ‘Ohhhhh — it’s so beautiful!:”
She continues, “I think it's me, I'm the reason she loves princesses. It's totally me. I'm not even sure she likes princesses. I dress her in it and she started liking it, so...”
Olympia, Williams’s daughter with entrepreneur and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, appears by her side during the interview wearing her own Cinderella costume and watching something on a phone. (“She comes to me with all my meetings,” Williams says of their quarantine work schedule.) Occasionally the adorable girl interrupts her mother, asking her something — and proves she’s multilingual by doing so in French.
While Williams seems to have her quarantine routine down two months in — juggling training, business and parenting — she admits that being in lockdown with her daughter took some getting used to. In early March, she broke down in tears, sharing it on social media, while trying to find balance.
”It was just being at home all day,” she admits. “Now I'm grateful for it, but I wasn't used to it. You know — just never leaving the house.”
She continues, “I started quarantining a little bit earlier [than many], so I was in the house [for] a really long time. Then I was like, ‘OK, I'm with a 2-year-old who's amazing but it's a lot of work every single day. And then she was in this phase where every word was ‘mommy.’ And I loved it, but at the same time, I'm like: I can't hear this anymore... it was definitely getting tiring and hard and challenging, but we overcame it. And now we're in our Cinderella [costumes]. You know — I couldn’t beat her so I joined her.”
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