NEW YORK, NY - Serena Williams’ success continues to extend far from the tennis court, with the 23-time Grand Slam winner awarded Adweek’s 2018 Brand Visionary prize for her work in business.
The 37-year-old has launched her own fashion line, ‘Serena’, and has worked with some of the biggest brands in the sportswear industry.
She was presented with the accolade on Wednesday at the Brand Genius awards gala on Broadway and explained how she channels the public attention into her life both on and off the court as a positive for her brand.
“I just feel like sometimes, for whatever reason, anything that I do gets amplified, and so I use it for my brand,” she told Adweek.
“I use it to promote messages that are affirmative, like ‘you are strong, brave, proud, great’, and all those things that I feel like I’m in a position to not only express playing tennis but can also be expressed in my fashion line and other products.”
During her acceptance speech, she explained the barriers that she has had to overcome in her life.
“I know what it’s like to be overlooked as a woman — as a black woman,” she said. “But I never let anyone define my potential by my gender or my color.
“Once you set your goals, always aim higher. I have to say hard work and dedication are the cornerstones of success.”
Her efforts were commended by Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who presented her with the award, having won it herself in 2017.
“When I first met Serena Williams, she was a tennis champion of unbelievable perseverance,” Wintour said. “Now, at 37, she is still a tennis champion of unbelievable persistence and power—also, a wife and a mother and a role model for millions of women.
“She has always been a No. 1 tennis player. But in the year of Serena, and with this award tonight, we celebrate an even more impressive feat: becoming a woman far greater than her multitude of victories.”