When Venus is in blue jeans, she's designed them herself
The tennis star has many other passions including fashion and interior design
For any athlete, that might be enough to fill a life. Yet, Venus Williams holds a fashion design degree as well as a degree in business administration, and has put the two to good use. Her athletic fashion line EleVen (so called, in the spirit of Spinal Tap) launched five years ago. She also helms a commercial interior design firm (V Starr) which has shaped aesthetics for private (luxury) homes, hotels and sports centres.Williams is not a particularly verbose woman, yet what she lacks in loquaciousness, she makes up for in succinct power phrases. And with seven Grand Slam titles to her name (five from Wimbledon, two from the US Open), she doesn’t particularly need to explain herself.
At 38 years old – as of 12 days ago – she is the oldest woman to have reached the last 16 at Wimbledon, having impressively navigated her way back to form from a diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome – an autoimmune condition affecting the muscles and joints. She’s currently gearing up to hit the grass running at the championships where last year she reached the final for the first time since 2009 (conceding in straight sets to Garbiñe Muguruza).Williams says: “We want to go seamlessly from the gym to the supermarket. I wanted to develop a collection to do that which allows women to feel confident in their lives while being their best.”
Williams wants everyone to be living their best life – “You feel good about yourself when you push yourself physically, when you get the results you want, when you achieve things.”I wonder how much her “look” affects her play. A look gives you attitude; a look can knock your opponent’s confidence.
“It’s important,” confirms Williams. “You absolutely want to look good. Can you imagine walking out on the court and feeling self-conscious that you look awful? If you’re thinking about your clothes there’s no way you can concentrate on your game.”It is hard to speak of Venus without mentioning her younger sister. The duo are perhaps two of the most impressively high-achieving women in the world. While Serena has become a celebrity favourite – attending the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding, going to fashion shows with Anna Wintour – Venus, has kept a lower profile, highlighted by that brutal modern-day measure of Instagram – Venus’s 994,000 followers to Serena’s 8.6 million.
Coincidently, Serena has recently launched her own eponymous fashion brand. Did she ask for advice? “We always share advice and insight. Her line is amazing, I love it. I’m super proud of her.” Aside from work and tennis, Williams only cites spending time with her family as extra-curricular activity.On Monday, she will be back on her most successful turf. She doesn’t keep track of how many tournaments she’s played. “I’m going to treat it like my first. Of course there’s lot of memories but I’m very focused. It’s dangerous to think about the past. I feel great, you never know what’s going to happen, you never know who you’re going to play, but you do know you’re going to give 100%. I love the game. I have a lot to accomplish. I want to be there.”
- The Daily Telegraph