What can’t she do!? Seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams is a New York Times Bestselling author, a fashion designer, an interior designer, an entrepreneur, and a pioneer for women in business and sports. The EleVen by Venus founder spoke to HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY about making her dreams a reality, as her fashion brand celebrated the launch of its latest collection, ‘When The Leaf Hits The Court.’ “So much of tennis is a mental game. Being able to control that inner voice and remind yourself why you stepped on the court in the first place has been an invaluable tool in my role as a business woman and fashion designer,” Venus explained. “I find myself taking on that same mindset of intensity, determination, and problem-solving.”
She added that her unique tennis game has helped her navigate her own brands in a way that “reflects” her “background.” “Everything I’ve been through has shaped me into the person I am today. Every challenge I faced and success I earned has led me to this point, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world,” she said. “Tennis is all about perseverance — once I put my mind to something, on or off the court, it’s going to get done. The mindset of a winner doesn’t turn off once you leave the court.”
Venus’ EleVen committed to a Privilege Tax initiative for Women’s History Month, giving shoppers the option to donate $1 with their purchase to benefit Girls Inc, an organization that encourages all girls to be “Strong, Smart, and Bold” through direct service and advocacy. “One of my top priorities is providing a positive and powerful example for young girls and women, and through our work with the Privilege Tax initiative and its partnership with Girls Inc., we’re able to spread awareness of the gender pay gap and encourage young women to harness their own power,” Venus said of the program. “They work to equip young girls with the tools necessary to graduate from high school with the capacity, determination, and support needed to become strong, independent and confident women.”
Venus, herself, was an outspoken trailblazer about the gender pay gap within the world of tennis, when she met with tennis officials from the French Open and Wimbledon in 2005 to argue for equal pay amongst male and female players. When nothing changed, she wrote a pivotal essay in The Times on the eve of Wimbledon in 2006 and starred in a campaign by the Women’s Tennis Association and UNESCO, calling for gender equality in sports. In 2007, Wimbledon announced that it would award equal prize money to all competitors in all rounds, and the French Open followed suit. Venus was the first female athlete to benefit from the equalization of prize money at Wimbledon, winning in ’07 and taking home the same prize as male winner Roger Federer.
“I’ve learned from personal experience just how important confidence can be, and I can think of no better charity of choice than one that instills this crucial trait in the next generation of leaders,” Venus went on to tell HollywoodLife.
As for what’s next, Venus said “the possibilities are endless!” “For now, I want to keep supporting my current brand portfolio, watching them grow, and accomplishing new milestones. I also want to continue using our business to spread awareness for issues we are passionate about which allows us to work with incredible organizations such as Girls Inc.”