Serena Williams has always projected an exuberant self-confidence, so it may be surprising to learn that the tennis star has struggled with poor body image and only recently learned to embrace her unique physique.
Williams says growing up alongside her statuesque skinny older sister, Venus, made her insecure at times. "I grew up with a lot of sisters. I was the youngest, and I was really thick," Serena told DuJour Aug. 29.
"My sister Venus was so tall and slim, and just being in a society where a lot of people are really thin, it was hard, especially as an athlete."
The muscular 5-foot-9 Serena says being one of the few voluptuous tennis players made her feel out of place, but she learned over the years to love her body.
"I just started feeling comfortable with myself about six or seven years ago," said Williams, 31. "I had to learn how to embrace myself and embrace my curves. And that's something a lot of people can relate to."
Serena recently overhauled her diet to incorporate more vegetables and less animal protein to support her sister Venus, who switched to a raw vegan diet in 2011 after being diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease.
Williams, the No. 1-ranked women's tennis player in the world, has been including more green juices, vegetables and fish in her diet to replace the chicken and meat she used to eat. Her daily routine typically consists of hours of grueling workouts and training, but she's not burned out yet, nor is she even thinking of retirement.
"Right now I'm having so much fun, and I'm still pretty good at what I do," she laughed. "So it's like, why not keep going? You only get this opportunity once in your life."