Former World No. 1 and seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams says she worked for equal prize money in tennis as the sport had given her so much opportunity in life and she wanted to use the same to fight for women across sports.
The 39 year old Williams was instrumental in getting Wimbledon to change its stance on equal prize money. In an interview to Forbes magazine, the five-time Wimbledon champion says, "For me it was simple and clear; it was about standing up for what I believed was right.
Tennis has given me so much opportunity in life, including a platform, so when the opportunity came to fight for women across the sport it was an easy decision. I spoke up for both myself and people everywhere who were facing, or will face, the same kind of injustice in their lives.
I’m glad it was able to create a ripple effect and set a precedent. So much positive change has happened since then, and so much positive change is still needed, but I’m happy I was able to do my part and will continue to do so until it doesn’t need to be a conversation anymore."
Williams says she defines success as looking back at her life and not having any regrets, whether it comes to her tennis or her ventures off the court. "Success for me is being able to look back on my life and see that I lived it fully with no regrets.
It’s about continuing to strive for your best, no matter the arena. I don’t measure success by wins or losses because I try to give my best in all aspects of my life, whether it’s on the court or in business with my companies, EleVen and V Starr.
Both the fashion and design spaces were new territories for me, but I pushed myself to learn as much as I could, immersed myself in every element of building a business and a strong team to help it grow and continue to adapt to the evolving industry.
I’ve been fortunate enough to accomplish many personal and professional goals in my life so I’d like to now put a focus on giving back and supporting other entrepreneurs, especially up-and-comers or those that might not necessarily have the means and support to get their idea off the ground.
Developing and running my companies has been a really fulfilling aspect of my life so if I can help future generations meet their goals and achieve greatness, I will feel successful. I am so lucky to be doing what I love, on the court and off the court in business.
Being a role model for thousands of young girls across the world, Williams says her biggest advice to any young girl, or anyone else for that matter, is to believe in themselves. "Have confidence! At the end of the day, you need to be your biggest cheerleader and believe in yourself.
It is definitely a challenge and doesn’t happen overnight, but confidence can be learned–fake it ‘til you make it! From a young age my parents worked to instill confidence in me and show the importance of having a strong sense of self-worth.
There are going to be a lot of moments where you don’t feel confident and others will challenge your self-worth, but you can train your mind to overcome that negativity and doubt. It’s something I have always practiced in my daily life, and it has made me a stronger person overall.
Eventually you will fully believe you are capable of whatever you set your mind to. No matter what your passion is, there is nothing as incredible as living your dreams, so be sure to enjoy it. That’s why I always say dream big!" Williams already has plans for expanding her business interests and says she will be expanding into the beauty space business.
"I’m really excited to be expanding more into the beauty space–particularly clean beauty. Beauty is a big part of wellness and I’m passionate about encouraging people to actively take care of themselves, so it just made sense to venture into that world.
I love serving as Chief Brand Officer at Asutra–their products are amazing, but their values are also aligned with mine, so it was an easy fit. I have a big beauty project launching this Spring, and I can’t wait to share more with everyone soon!"