Serena Williams is on the cover of this month's Teen Vogue, and the corn rows she sports were an intentional choice, according to the magazine's editor.
The issue is the first for incoming Teen Vogue editor Lindsay Peoples Wagner, and in curating the work, she says she remembered a lesson from her mother.
“My mother once told me that to sustain myself in this industry, I would have to be what I needed when I was younger. So here we are — Serena in cornrows for the first time on a cover, in conversation with two young black girls just trying to figure out our magic,” Wagner wrote.
Our December cover star is @serenawilliams! 👑❤️✨ Read her conversation with activist Naomi Wadler and new Teen Vogue editor-in-chief @lpeopleswagner at the #TeenVogueSummit: https://t.co/wVBpvhI55S pic.twitter.com/J352bv2tFa— Teen Vogue (@TeenVogue) December 12, 2018
Wagner interviewed the tennis GOAT and 12-year-old activist Naomi Wadler for the magazine, and as you know, when a group of Black women gather, hair is a common topic.
Wadler said her hair has been an instrumental part of learning how to stand up for herself. She received valuable advice about her hair when classmate stuck his grimy little hands in it.
“My mom told me that the next time somebody touched my hair that I'd have to go to the principal's office,” she recalled. “That really was the point at which I started to stand up for myself. It still happened, and I'll explain to people why it's wrong, even though it's not my place to explain to them ... that's the best thing that I've learned so far. Standing up for myself and not having my voice get lost in all the sound.”
Wadler's recollection prompted Williams to speak about the power of dialogue.
“It's definitely important to have that conversation, and then encourage people to support each other," the tennis legend said. "I always like to say that women really should support each other, because the success of one woman should be the inspiration to the next. If we look at it that way, there would be so much more that we can accomplish.”
The mother-of-one knows also knows about the importance of hair and representation. In July, Williams spoke with Yahoo Lifestyle about how she chooses her hair products.
“I feel like there’s so much out there for natural hair and curly hair and black hair, which I love," she said. "I’ve literally tried everything — from Miss Jessie’s to Curls. I have a whole cabinet full of products. I think every black girl does for hair."
Having a lot of products doesn’t mean she isn’t picky, however. The star also shared her rule for trying new products.
“If the ads use black women or women like me, then I think, ‘Okay, I’m going to try this product,” she said. “But if they have ads with anyone who doesn’t look like me, I usually don’t try it.”
Blavitize your inbox! Join our daily newsletter for fresh stories and breaking news.
Now, check these out: