Naomi Osaka is a brilliant young talent, most well-known for her record-breaking tennis skills.
She’s the first person of Haitian descent to win a Grand Slam. She’s also the first Asian player to hold the number one position in the World’s Tennis rankings after a successful 2019 Australian Open. But Osaka is more than just her track record in tennis. She has a wide range of talents and interests that cover more than just her impressive athleticism.
When she’s not on the courts, you can find her making headlines surrounding her relationship with boyfriend and rapper Cordae. Or posting sneak peeks of her behind-the-scenes life via social media as she did in this Instagram photo of her family.
Though she’s a four-time Grand Slam champion, her journey hasn’t always been easy. She speaks candidly about her battle with her mental health, which caused her to step away from the French Open in 2021.
In an interview with TIME magazine, she stated, “It has become apparent to me that literally everyone either suffers from issues related to their mental health or knows someone who does. The number of messages I received from such a vast cross-section of people confirms that. I think we can almost universally agree that each of us is a human being and subject to feelings and emotions.”
Recognizing her platform, she withdrew from the French Open, with hopes of inspiring others to tend to their mental health should they need to. And inspire she did. Famed athlete, Simone Biles, credits Osaka as the catalyst for her also exiting the Olympic competition in 2021.
Though many of her accomplishments stem from her extraordinary courtside talent, that’s not all that Naomi Osaka wants to be known for. The young star has her hands in many pots from fashion to food to gaming. Let’s take a look at five Naomi Osaka fun facts to get an inside look at what this ultra-bright star is up to in-between matches.
1. She’s the First National Athlete Ambassador For Sweetgreen
Following her withdrawal from the 2021 French Open, Osaka drew criticism from the public. Amid the controversy, one company stood by her side immediately. Sweetgreen, a fast-casual restaurant chain with a focus on nutrition, quickly reached out to Osaka. Their partnership resulted in her being the company’s first national athlete ambassador as well as their youngest investor.
To honor her part-Japanese heritage, she also teamed up with the company to jointly support the Asian American Foundation with the goal of advancing equity for the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. As part of her collaboration with the company, Osaka debuted her own Sweetgreen bowl. The Naomi Osaka bowl is one that she orders regularly so you know it’s good.
She admits to eating it at least three times weekly when she’s training or at a shoot. Filled to the brim with nutritious ingredients, each bowl packs a powerful punch of vitamins and nutrients that are great for athletes and non-athletes alike.
2. She's A Gamer At Heart
It’s a well-known secret that Osaka is a full-fledged gamer. She speaks openly about her love of video games, particularly Skyrim. In her interview with Vanity Fair she admits, “Gaming has always been such a huge part of my life.”
She later adds that it’s a great way to clear her mind in-between matches.
“Also it is a great escapism for me as I have always been into gaming and fantasy-type storytelling,” she said.
She recently partnered with Epic Games to join other superstar talents like Ariana Grande and LeBron James who are part of the brand’s Fortnite Icon Series. As part of the collaboration, Osaka was able to create her very own Fortnite skins.
Gamers can choose between two skins with the first heavily influenced by her love of tennis. This skin comes complete with a Royale Racket Pickaxe and a visor resembling one she’d typically wear at a match. The second skin is the “black priestess” which is serving vampy, femme fatale realness. The inspiration behind her designs is her layered culture and personality as a mixed-race woman with many talents. And gamers will notice that her designs are expressive as she is.
3. She’s Obsessed With Fashion
Naomi Osaka is a self-proclaimed “sneakerhead” whose love of fashion is only outweighed by her love of tennis. Her list of notable collaborations in the fashion industry is long and the list keeps growing.
She’s worked with top brands and designers including, Levi’s and Frankies Bikinis. From soft, ruffled dresses by Adeam to structured, tailored suits by Strathberry, she is covering major ground. She recently finished her third collection in an ongoing Nike collaboration that features casual, athletic wear such as sports tops, vests, sneakers and even fanny packs.
Another notable accomplishment — she participated as co-chair at the 2020 Met Gala, alongside famed poet and activist Amanda Gorman, musical superstar, Billie Eilish, and teen heartthrob actor, Timothée Chalamet. While attending she wore a custom-made dress designed by her sister, Mari. The dress nearly defeated the internet, calling attention to the theme of the night, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” by combining elements from both cultures of her mixed heritage.
4. She Has A Team of Support From Industry Experts
Naomi Osaka credits much of her success on the tennis courts to the support system that she has in her corner. Tennis superstar, Serena Williams, has been known to offer Osaka advice on and off the court. When Osaka took to social media to post a picture of her and Williams captioned “me and mom lol”, many criticized the post, calling it age-shaming.
Osaka clapped back, explaining that the post was not meant as shade towards Williams and admitting that she “literally wouldn’t be here without her.”
Before his passing, Osaka also held a close relationship with professional basketball legend, Kobe Bryant. She recalls that Bryant would often send her encouraging texts after her tennis matches, offering her words of advice and support. Calling him her “big bro,” she recalls how his kind words helped her navigate how to effectively handle both her wins and losses.
After her win at the US Open in 2020, she wore his jersey to honor him saying “For me, I just always wish I would do something that he’s proud of, and I felt incredibly lucky to have known Kobe and to speak to him on a personal level.”
5. Her Sunscreen For Melanated Skin Is Available At Walmart
For a long time, Naomi Osaka, like many others, believed that sunscreen was something that only fair-skinned people had to wear. She thought that she, having a warmer complexion, didn’t need to worry about the sun’s damaging effects on the skin.
Upon learning that the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays can also impact those with dark skin, Osaka founded Kinlo, a brand of sunscreen products that are designed for the “melanin-rich.” It’s common knowledge that many of the most popular commercial sunscreens that can be found on store shelves are not formulated for those with darker skin tones.
Sometimes they can make darker skin appear gray or dull when applied. Realizing the lack of sunscreen options for darker-skinned individuals, Osaka teamed up with Ghanian dermatologist, Naana Boakye, to educate the masses on how sun exposure actually can affect melanated skin. Together, they’ve formulated a line of skincare products that not only protect the skin but nourish it as well. Kinlo is now available online and in Walmart.