Serena Williams Shares a Meaningful Childhood Tradition She’s Passing Onto Her Daughters

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Beauty is empowering for retired tennis legend Serena Williams — and she wants to pass that idea down to her daughters Olympia, 6, and Adira, 8 months. In a cover interview for Byrdie’s spring 2024 digital issue, the Olympic gold medalist shares one bonding activity she does with her daughters that started when she was just a little girl.

Byrdie's new digital issue starring Serena Williams is available now here. Photo credit: Kendall Bessent/Byrdie
Byrdie’s new digital issue starring Serena Williams is available now here. Photo credit: Kendall Bessent/Byrdie

“My earliest beauty memory has to do with my mom,” Williams told the outlet. “She wore red lipstick back then and still does now. I remember playing in her makeup as a kid.”

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Those fond memories inspired Williams to let her daughters play with makeup, too. “The way I talk to myself about beauty has certainly changed throughout my life, and it will continue to evolve,” she continued. “Motherhood has allowed me to look at beauty through the eyes of my daughter, Olympia. We’re always experimenting with makeup together, and I think about how these moments will be part of both of our beauty journeys.”

That’s absolutely beautiful! I love how she turned this simple activity — playing with makeup — into a fun way to spend time with her daughter and teach her about the deeper meaning of what beauty is.

Byrdie's new digital issue starring Serena Williams is available now here. Photo credit: Kendall Bessent/Byrdie
Byrdie’s new digital issue starring Serena Williams is available now here. Photo credit: Kendall Bessent/Byrdie

Williams, who shares her daughters with husband Alexis Ohanian, often posts videos and pictures of doing her makeup and playing dress-up with Olympia. In January, she posted a quick video showing how she reapplied her makeup in between a tennis match and a press conference, but she was interrupted by her little girl.

“This is me trying to explain my post, match press conference make up,” she captioned a video on TikTok. “But of course I got interrupted … So i did not finish but hey this is mom life.”

When Olympia walked in, she immediately questioned why her mom looked so put together. “What are you … why are you putting makeup on?” she asked.

“Well, because. Why wouldn’t I?” Williams answered.

“And why, why, why you wearing makeup because, like, where are you going? To a ball or something?” Olympia asked. “Are you going to a ball or something? Where are you going with lipstick, blush, and stuff?” Nobody can call you out more than your kids!

Sassiness aside, Williams also recognizes that beauty is more than just cosmetics. The WYN Beauty founder shared her philosophy surrounding makeup in the interview with Byrdie. “It’s about more than just products,” she told the outlet. “I hope [we] make it easy for our community to feel and look their best — however they may define that.”

Byrdie's new digital issue starring Serena Williams is available now here. Photo credit: Kendall Bessent/Byrdie
Byrdie’s new digital issue starring Serena Williams is available now here. Photo credit: Kendall Bessent/Byrdie

She wants her company to support maternal health, a cause deeply personal for Williams who had a near-death experience when she gave birth to Olympia. “Maternal health is a cause that’s very personal to me after the life-threatening experience during the birth of Olympia,” she said. “It’s important to me that WYN Beauty plays a role in supporting mothers from all backgrounds in different stages of motherhood. We will platform causes and initiatives that support maternal health and will champion members of our community who are doing the same.”

The Serena Ventures founder is focused on a career that matters to her, both now and when she was in tennis. And it’s all part of leaving a legacy to her daughters. “I want my daughters to look at my career and learn that being authentic to themselves is really the most important thing,” she told Byrdie. “You don’t have to be the best as long as you do your best. I also hope my daughters see how many different passions I have — from tennis to beauty — and learn that they can lead dynamic careers and lives across their many interests.”

That’s truly a beautiful mindset! In the interview, the proud mom also shared what has brought her the most joy in life: “My kids,” she said simply. “I can’t say that a Wimbledon trophy holds a candle to volunteering at my kid’s school.”

Family is so important to Williams, we aren’t surprised one bit!

Before you go, check out these fun facts about Serena Williams’ daughter Olympia.

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