Name: Serena Williams, @serenawilliams
Serena Jameka Williams is an American professional tennis player who is ranked No. 1 in women’s singles tennis. Williams started playing tennis at the age of three, practicing on a court not far from her home with her father as coach. Serena won her first major championship in 1999 and completed the career Grand Slam in 2003. Three years later, Serena seemed burned out. Stricken with injuries and a general lack of motivation to stay fit or compete at the same level she once had, Serena saw her tennis ranking slump to 139.
Proving to have much more than just tennis clout, Williams expanded her brand into film, television, fashion and charity. She developed her own “Aneres” line of clothing, and in 2002 People magazine selected her as one of its 25 Most Intriguing People. Essence magazine later called her one of the country’s 50 Most Inspiring African-Americans. She’s also made television appearances, and lent her voice to shows such as The Simpsons.
5 Reasons Serena is Awesome:
- In 2009, Serena and Venus purchased shares of the Miami Dolphins to become the first African-American women to own part of an NFL team.
- Seeking to provide educational opportunities for underprivileged youth around the world, she formed the Serena Williams Foundation and built schools in Africa.
- In January 2010, Williams announced UNICEF’s new Schools for Asia campaign to educate Asia’s 26 million marginalized children in the countdown to the Millennium Development Goal deadline of 2015.
- Serena Williams was appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in September 2011. In her role as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Williams has played a crucial role in raising awareness about UNICEF’s mission to provide a quality education for the most vulnerable children through the Schools for Africa program.
- Serena Williams Scholars are funded by Serena and administered through her partner Beyond the Boroughs (BTB). These scholarships are for students who have the drive to succeed but even with loans and other grants still fall short of reaching their dream to attend college. Beyond the Boroughs allows partners to find deserving students who meet specific criteria important to the donor and stay in constant touch with the schools the scholars are attending and the scholars themselves to monitor financial needs and academic progress.
See an interview with the Williams sisters and family on eHollywood True Story here.