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Serena Williams

Ashley Graham Says Serena Williams, Kim K and Amy Schumer Gave Her Messy Scoop on Pregnancy, Childbirth and Beyond

ashley graham

First-time mom-to-be Ashley Graham covers the January 2020 edition of VOGUE, photographed by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz.

The Sports Illustrated cover model shared a photo of the cover of her draped in a gold down cradling her bump. A second photo she shared featured Graham with her husband Justin Ervin bare-chested standing behind his wife cradling her belly on a beach.

Draped in gilded “Oscar de la Renta” caftan, the model looks radiant in her first solo cover for the U.S. edition of the fashion publication.

Inside the mag, Graham discusses social media’s “baby bump” obsession), what her mom pals Kim Kardashian, Amy Schumer and Serena Williams taught her about motherhood and her struggle to find support during this complete life change.

“I’ve always had control over my body — when everyone else wanted to dictate what it should be, I took full control over it — but I had this life inside of me saying, ‘It’s not yours anymore, it’s mine,‘” says Graham. “I was gaining weight rapidly. And I felt alone. And the one piece of advice that my stylist, Jordan Foster, gave me was, ‘Make pregnant friends.’ None of my friends were in relationships, let alone pregnant. And now I have nine pregnant friends.”

“When I look at this picture, I get so emotional because this moment feels bigger than me,” she captioned the post. “It’s indicative of our entire relationship – my husband @mrjustinervin supporting me ALWAYS from day one.”

The model continues, “I’m overwhelmed with so much joy and filled with such gratitude that we are doing this together 🖤 Thank You Thank You Thank You.”

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A VOGUE COVER!!! — celebrating inclusivity, mothers, pregnancy and love —  is so surreal. I have dreamed of this moment my entire career since I was a catalogue model living in Nebraska two decades ago. Thank you @voguemagazine and #AnnaWintour for embracing a conversation around pregnancy and motherhood, which can be both incredibly exciting and also isolating. The community and support I have discovered along the way has been incredible, and to share this monumental moment with my son and husband in the pages of Vogue could not feel more special. @annieleibovitz, you made me feel like a true pregnant goddess 🤗 Photographer: @annieleibovitz Fashion Editor: @tonnegood Makeup: @hannah_murray1 Hair: @sallyhershberger Bookings Director: @felicitybwebb Writer: @jonathanvanmeter

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Readers in New York City and Los Angeles, California can nab a copy of the January 2020 issue today and nationwide on Dec. 17. To see more photos from Graham’s photo shoot, styled by fashion editor Tonne Goodman, and to read her full interview, visit Vogue.com.

My fave part is about Williams who parrots everything chronicled on this blog. Woot! Yes sis!:

“Serena Williams wonders if it all started with Demi Moore on the cover of Vanity Fair in 1991, naked and pregnant, shocking all the squeamish prudes and church ladies. “I was only 10 at the time,” says Williams, “but I remember thinking that was cool.” Ten years later, when Us Weekly focused its attention on questionable gossip and paparazzi shots of actresses pumping gas in Beverly Hills, the whole bizarro obsession with the “baby bump” took off. Tabloid copycats escalated their pursuit of the possibly pregnant, raising it to the level of stalking. One afternoon of bloat while leaving The Ivy and suddenly: IS JENNIFER PREGNANT? And then social media came along and women began to own their narrative by curating the journey of getting and being pregnant and giving birth and bouncing back—or not.

“I think it’s a good thing,” says Williams, “but it also puts a lot of pressure on women. For me, the whole lie about ‘the snap back’ was what bothered me. I had a little problem with the lies of girls on Instagram—like, coming out of the hospital holding the baby and . . . you know . . . looking thinner than before. That’s not happening to me! That’s one thing I’ve learned, and the thing I tell Ashley: Everybody—literally every body—is different. You might jump back in an hour. I didn’t.”

Watch Serena Williams’ US Open ‘This Mama Keeps Going’ Chase Ad

Twenty years ago, 23-Times Grand Slam Tennis Champ Serena Williams won her first US Open in 1999 and today longtime sponsor Chase Bank released a compelling ad on TV to commemorate that win as she continues on her post-motherhood journey to capture her 24th Title.

The last championship, she secured at the 2017 Australian Open while 7 weeks pregnant, 

Thus, in a full-circle presentation, Chase brilliantly weaves the narratives of her athletic achievement and motherhood into the story of a singular life in the campaign video produced by Australian ad vet David Droga’s firm Droga5.

The advertisement is a continuation of a campaign the bank launched last year called “This Mama Keeps Going” and this time, a short film opens with a visual of a sonogram with background vocals. A reporter congratulating Williams.  The video continues with shots of never-before-seen very personal videos and photos from Williams’ pregnancy and in the voiceover, she shares her excitement and struggles.

Interspersed is footage of her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, who she welcomed on September 1, 2017 with hubby, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, and as the TV spot focuses in on Williams’ tough sojourn in recovery after a difficult delivery when she suffered from a pulmonary embolism. (Which immediately reminds us of her vocal advocacy  for expectant mothers, especially women of color, after birth in the US.),

She didn’t win in today’s US Open Finals though she battled and defeated a lot of excellent players, losing to the younger version of herself, a stellar Canadian upstart, 19-year old Bianca Andreescu, the battle continues.

Through scenes of breastfeeding, pumping and calming a fussy toddler, Williams speaks about the joy of watching a daughter succeed. 

Only then does it become clear that her words are from a press conference after her very first Grand Slam win, 20 years ago at the U.S. Open in 1999.

How awesome!!

Serena Williams Invests in StartUp Fighting Maternal Mortality

Tennis superstar Serena Williams and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban have teamed up to invest in a startup working to end maternal mortality. 

Williams has a passion for helping mothers. After she had her young daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., the 37-year-old revealed her own life-threatening birth complications. Fortune reports Serena Ventures and Cuban have invested $3 million in Mahmee.

The company provides a number of online resources such as group discussions with other moms, medical provider info and trained “maternity coaches” who can flag if something is wrong.

Other services include patient monitoring and video calls with medical experts. There are paid tiers starting at $20 and ending at about $200. As of this report, Mahmee has about 1000 providers in their network. 

The 23-time Grand Slam winner knows all too well what Black mothers face. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “Black women are three to four times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related complication than non-Hispanic white women.” 

“I am incredibly excited to invest and partner with Mahmee, a company that personifies my firm’s investment philosophy,” Williams said in a statement. “Given the bleak data surrounding maternal death and injury rates, I believe that it is absolutely critical right now to invest in solutions that help protect the lives of moms and babies.”

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Serena Williams’ Shocking French Open Loss Follows with Controversy

Serena Williams delighted fans around the world with an uplifting message in the wake of her surprise defeat at the French Open this week.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner is an inspiration to moms everywhere as she continues to excel after giving birth to Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. in September 2017.

She is now 37 years old and most players would have retired by now, but Williams continues to compete at the highest level. She slumped to a shock loss to world number 37 Sofia Kenin this week, but she was praised for her response.

“Yesterday was not my day,” she wrote in a heartfelt Instagram post. “But it’s about getting up time and time again after you fall. Here’s to a multitude of tomorrows.”

Eva Longoria and Ciara were among the celebrities to salute her message.

Williams suffered a pulmonary embolism after giving birth, leaving her bedridden for six weeks and delaying her return to training, but she has continued to excel and she finished runner-up at the US Open last year.

That followed victory at the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant, showing just what a magnificent competitor she is.

Leading betting sites like sportsbetting.ag rank her among the frontrunners to win Wimbledon and the US Open later this year, and it would be a brave tennis fan to bet against her.

She is widely regarded as the greatest player of all, having secured the most Grand Slam titles in the Open Era, and she is just one behind Margaret Court, who has 24 Grand Slams, on the all-time list. If she can win one more Slam she will move level with Court and that would be an amazing story for an athlete that serves as a tireless champion for all mothers.

Yet Williams has also faced a great deal of criticism this week after Australian clay court specialist Dominic Thiem was ousted from his press conference in order to make way for her.

She wanted to get her post-match press duties over and done with as quickly as possible after her defeat to Kenin, but she was told that Thiem was using the room.

After further talks, officials decided to kick him out to accommodate Williams, prompting a furious reaction as he accused her of having “a bad personality”.

“I don’t really get it, seriously,” he said. “I mean, what the hell? No, but it’s a joke, really. I have to leave the room because she’s coming? It doesn’t matter if it is me who sits in there, even if a junior is in there. I am 100% sure Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal would never do something like that.”

Eurosport pundit Annabel Croft slammed her behaviour and demanded she apologize to Thiem.

“It is a question of who is in charge here. It is unbelievably disrespectful to a man that is still in the draw,” said Croft. “She should be made to wait an extra five minutes until finished. Had it been a role reversal there would have been absolute uproar. It’s just appalling.”

There has been no response as of yet from Williams, but it could be a misunderstanding.

Some say she asked for Room 2 and not for Thiem to be moved, and the organizers just decided to evict the Austrian from the main room. Staff at the French Open have questions to answer.

Williams also had every right to be keen to get media duties out the way as quickly as possible.

She had lost and she would have been desperate to get back to her daughter as soon as possible, so everyone should give her the benefit of the doubt and let her get on with dazzling on court and being a great mom.

Allyson Felix Joins Criticism of Nike’s Treatment of Runners Who Choose Motherhood; Plus Serena Williams Responds

Add Olympic Gold Medalist Allyson Felix to the chorus of world class American runners endorsed by Nike to come forward to complain about the company’s treatment of women who become mothers.

Felix, who welcomed daughter Camryn last winter published her own Op/Ed in The New York Times that was inspired by and comes on the heels of pieces published by fellow moms Alysia Montaño and Kara Goucher in that newspaper.

“They told stories we athletes know are true, but have been too scared to tell publicly,” Felix wrote of Montaño and Goucher in her op-ed published last week, on May 22. “If we have children, we risk pay cuts from our sponsors during pregnancy and afterward.”

“Thank you @alysiamontano@karagoucher for starting such an important conversation. ‘As. you can’t change anything with silence.’ This is my story. #dreammaternity , “ she captioned an Instagram photo of herself running in between photos of men running a similar race.

She shared her own post-birth experience in the newspaper.

After severe pre-eclampsia that put her baby’s life at risk caused her to have to have giving birth and having to undergo an emergency C-section at 32, she alleged that Nike pressured her to return to training as soon as possible.

Then, the company wanted to pay her 70 percent less than before.

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??☀️

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Felix pushed back, and essentially demanded that the athletic apparel brand change its policies.

“If that’s what they think I’m worth now, I accept that,” she admitted. “What I’m not willing to accept is the enduring status quo around maternity. I asked Nike to contractually guarantee that I wouldn’t be punished if I didn’t perform at my best in the months surrounding childbirth. I wanted to set a new standard. If I, one of Nike’s most widely marketed athletes, couldn’t secure these protections, who could?”

Nike didn’t accept her demands.

“My disappointment is not just with Nike, but with how the sports apparel industry at large treats female athletes,” she explained in the op-ed. “This isn’t just about pregnancy. We may stand behind the brands we endorse, but we also need to hold them accountable when they are marketing us to appeal to the next generation of athletes and consumers.”

Right before Montano and Goucher came forward, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal, Nike announced iot would change its maternity policy.

Sports Illustrated reported the changes will include protection in its contracts, while brands such as Brooks, Altra and Nuun pledged to also guarantee contractual support of female athletes through pregnancy moving forward.

Now to wait to see what those changes are.

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my motivation is different now✨

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“I look forward to specifics, from Nike and the rest of the industry who has yet to commit to contractually protecting women,” Felix concluded.

Bravo!

Meanwhile, Nike athlete and star of its female empowerment campaign Serena Williams

“I understand that Nike has been really lately supporting women a lot, and it started with making a statement with me, and they said they want to make a change,” Williams said Monday after defeating Vitalia Diatchenko in the first round of the French Open. “They want to support women that want to have families and that want to be moms. I’m glad that statement was made, and I know that therefore and going forward, they’re doing better.”

Serena Williams’ Poshmark Sale of Daughter’s Clothes Sold Out In Hours

Tennis phenom Serena Williams, a board member of resale website Poshmark, placed her daughter Alexis Olympia’s clothes on sale inside her Poshmark store and sold out all items within hours.

The proceeds from the clothing sold in Serena’s store benefit Yetunde Price Resource Center, named for Williams elder half-sister who was gunned down in Compton in 2003. YPRC offers resources to victims of direct or indirect senseless violence.

All of the 44 items sold were marked down 25% off and more and the prices were quite reasonable starting at $10.

This is not Williams’ first foray either into fashion. The Tennis Star launched her own clothing line “Serena” in 2018.

She joined the board of my fave place to unload clothed in my closet, Poshmark, in February 2019.

Williams is following in her husband’s StartUp footsteps by joining the PoshMark board and has been on the board of consumer survey start-up SurveyMonkey for two years now.

Williams has said she’s learned more about Silicon Valley since meeting her husband Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit and a handful of other start-ups.

Check out the closet and check back to see when new items come up for sale.

And visit my store too while you’re there!

Serena Williams Opens Up About Being Insecure As a Mom

Serena Williams shared her insecurities as a mother to a women’s conference on Friday.

“I always have these insecurities that I’m not good enough as a >mom,” the tennis champ told the group of about 10,000 attendees at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women. “We all go through these different emotions that we all don’t feel comfortable talking about. But I think we should.”

The Philly Voice reported that during the event, Williams, who had a post-partum scare, expressed her shock about learning about the disparity of health outcomes with black and white moms.

She also talked about the pride she has in the fact that since becoming a mom,  she has become an outspoken model and inspiration for working women worldwide.

Williams wrapped up her time in the hotseat by saying she wants her 1-year-old daughter to grow up in a world where women support other women.

The success of another woman should be the inspiration to the next,” Williams said.

She and hubby Reddit co-Founder Alexis Ohanian are parents to 1-year old daughter Alexis Olympia Jr.

photo: Getty

 

 

The Perfect Reactions to Serena Williams’ Post-Pregnancy Blood Clot Compression French Open CatSuit Ban

The outfit Tennis champ Serena Williams wore to compete in the 2018 French Open last May triggered the competition to ban her from donning that “Wakanda”-inspired black super hero cat suit for future competitions.

“I believe we have sometimes gone too far. Serena’s outfit this year, for example, would no longer be accepted,” French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli said in an interview with Tennis Magazine, adding it won’t adapt as strict a clothing code as Wimbledon, which requires players to wear all white, but will have its limits. He added that the FFT will be looking to view collections ahead of next year’s tournament.

The 23-time Grand Slam champ designed the suit with her sponsors at Nike with special compression material and technology to aid with blood clots she has and developed dangerously after delivering her first child, daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr. with her husband Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

“I feel like a warrior in it, like a warrior princess,” Williams said during a press conference, adding that she felt like a queen from Wakanda, the fictional nation in the movie “Black Panther.”

“I’ve always wanted to be a superhero,” Williams said. “It’s kind of my way of being a superhero.”

Besides making her feel amazing, Williams’ said the outfit choice was also meant to inspire other new moms, especially ones who have also suffered post-pregnancy health issues. “For all the moms out there who had a tough recovery from pregnancy — here you go. If I can do it, so can you!” she wrote on Instagram at the time. She had been in bed for weeks after delivering because of the clots.

I’ve been wearing pants in general a lot when I play so I can keep the blood circulation going,” Williams told reporters. “So it’s a fun suit but it’s also functional, so I can be able to play without any problems.”

This is yet another bump in her road after motherhood.  Not only did she lose her rank when she had a baby last September, but she also suffered postpartum blood clot related near-death experience, postpartum blues too.

Nike had the perfect response to the catsuit ban:

“You can take the superhero out of her costume, but you can never take away her superpowers.

I loved April on Twitter’s response which was supported by another Tennis Legend, Chris Evert!

 

And others not so subtdly pointed out that Serena was not the first to wear a catsuit though the first to be banned for it.

 

Chanel Iman’s Newborn Beat Serena Williams’ Daughter In This Category

Model Chanel Iman‘s newborn Cali Clay Shepard has beat Serena Williams‘ daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr‘s record for the youngest child of a celeb to have an Instagram account!

At the tender age of 3-days old, the baby girl’s Insta was up and running and already has over 7,500 followers! Baby Alexis’ account didn’t go up until the little girl born on September 1 was 16 days old.

https://www.instagram.com/caliclayshepard/

She follows behind singer and dancer Teyana Taylor and NBA’s Cleveland Cavalier player Imani Shumpert ‘s daughter Iman Tayla Iman Tayla Shumpert Jr who not only has had a verified account since a baby but is also a female junior, named after her dad — just like Alexis! (Great trend!)

Other  celebrity babies with verified Instagram pages include reality TV star, singer and businesswoman Kandi Burruss‘s son Ace Wells Tucker; record-breaking winning Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps; son Boomer Phelps, who has 765,000 followers and, Chanel, daughter to reality TV star Cocoa  Austin and her husband Ice T.

Alexis Jr has a verified account of over 435,000 followers and has beat Ace Tucker who had over 425,000  but had 100,000 at just 8 weeks old.

Serena Williams Opens Up About Dealing With Postpartum Blues

In the same week that one of her good friends Beyonce opened up about having preeclampsia before delivering her twins Sir and Rumi, 23-times Grand Slam Tennis champ Serena Williams revealed that she was in the middle of dealing with postpartum blues when she pulled out of the  Rogers Cup tournament citing “personal reasons.”

In an emotional Instagram post, she wrote: “Not only was I accepting some tough personal stuff, but I just was in a funk. Mostly, I felt like I was not a good mom,” adding, “it’s totally normal to feel like I’m not doing enough for my baby…We have all been there. I work a lot, I train, and I’m trying to be the best athlete I can be. However, that means although I have been with her every day of her life, I’m not around as much as I would like to be.”

Williams, who recently gave birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia with husband Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, also offered  gave up some encouraging words to other moms out there dealing with similar issues:

“Most of you moms deal with the same thing. Whether stay-at-home or working, finding that balance with kids is a true art. You are the true heroes.” Read the post and check out a TODAY video on the story below:

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Last week was not easy for me. Not only was I accepting some tough personal stuff, but I just was in a funk. Mostly, I felt like I was not a good mom. I read several articles that said postpartum emotions can last up to 3 years if not dealt with. I like communication best. Talking things through with my mom, my sisters, my friends let me know that my feelings are totally normal. It’s totally normal to feel like I’m not doing enough for my baby. We have all been there. I work a lot, I train, and I’m trying to be the best athlete I can be. However, that means although I have been with her every day of her life, I’m not around as much as I would like to be. Most of you moms deal with the same thing. Whether stay-at-home or working, finding that balance with kids is a true art. You are the true heroes. I’m here to say: if you are having a rough day or week–it’s ok–I am, too!!! There’s always tomm!

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