How Serena Williams’s SI Swimsuit Photo Shoot Inspired Reflections on Inner Beauty

The tennis champion is also a mom, entrepreneur and author.
Serena Williams was photographed by Emmanuelle Hauguel in Turks and Caicos.

Serena Williams was photographed by Emmanuelle Hauguel in Turks and Caicos.


Serena Williams is the athlete of our generation. The 23 time Grand Slam singles champion is an inspiration both on and off the tennis court. She’s a mom to 5-year-old Alexis, founder of Serena Ventures, author of children’s book The Adventures of Qai Qai and a total living legend.

Williams initially posed for the SI Swimsuit Issue in back-to-back years in 2003 and ’04. She was later photographed by Emmanuelle Hauguel in Turks and Caicos for the magazine’s 2017 issue. While she had appeared in brand sponsorships and modeled for campaigns before, posing in a bikini was a completely different ball game. 

“I want to come away with the fact that it’s O.K. to be comfortable in your body. I’ve never worn a thong before, and the second I stepped out there, I was comfortable,” she said at the time. “And what I would like for people to come away with is—first of all, I’m not a size two—and it’s O.K. to look good, to feel good. And I’m strong—it’s O.K. to look strong and to be sexy and to be a woman and to be unbreakable and to be all those things.”

Williams added that she hopes her features in the magazine have influenced and inspired some people who have an athletic body type like hers.

“Women need to be celebrated, and they need to embrace what you look like and not from the outside, but from the inside,” she continued. “So every time I step out there and that swimsuit, I’m really feeling myself from the inside. I’m feeling my inner beauty and it’s going, and it’s showing in my poses and in everything. So everything that I’m feeling is coming from the inside, and I think that confidence is something that I would love for everyone to have.”

Take a look back at some of our favorite photos from her stunning 2017 photo shoot.

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Ananya Panchal

ANANYA PANCHAL

Ananya Panchal is a NYC-based Lifestyle & Trending News writer at SI Swimsuit. Before joining the Swim team, the Boston University Alum worked for culture & entertainment beats at Bustle, The San Francisco Chronicle and the TODAY Show. When Ananya is not writing or doom-scrolling on social media, she can be found playing sudoku, rewatching One Tree Hill or trying new restaurants. She's also a coffee and chocolate (separately) enthusiast.