REPRINT of Women of Power article dated April, 18th, 2011:

Tennis Star Venus Williams is our “Confidence” Role Model, but it’s her other entrepreneurial ventures that makes her our Renaissance Champion




Legendary tennis star Venus Williams will always be known as the first African American player to be ranked number one in the world.

Venus Williams World No.1. On February 25, 2002 . (Photo Source:
Venus Williams World No.1. On February 25, 2002 . (Photo Source:

(For pros, it’s apparently all about Grand Slams; as winner of seven, including five Wimbledon titles, she has that base covered.) Add to that an incredible 41 WTA tour titles, three Olympic gold medals and career prize winnings totalling in excess of $27 million, and her place in tennis history is – like the woman who earned it – well assured.

VENUS PROGRESSCombining focus, fierce determination and heroic physical prowess, she spent her teenage years clawing her way to the top-ranked position, winning numerous championships and breaking records. To date her universally feared 129 mph serve is the fastest ever recorded in women’s tennis.

VENUS WILLIAMS COME TO WIN BOOKBut that’s just the tennis. She currently has nine global sponsors behind her. Off the court Venus is a successful author, creative designer, entrepreneur and fashion icon as well as being the founding ambassador for the WTA UNESCO Gender Equality Program and has fought for equal pay for female athletes. [READ: Venus Williams’ Other Career as Equal Pay Activist : Revisiting ESPN Film’s Documentary ‘Venus Vs.’→]

VENUS SERVING UP STYLEThe young entrepreneur is also a uniquely creative designer, decorator and owner of V Starr Interiors, a successful interior design firm based in Palm Beach Gardens,Florida. In 2007, Venus launched her clothing line “EleVen,” the largest clothing ever launched by a female athlete. And prior to that worked with Reebok on her collaboration with famed designer Diane Von Furstenberg for her line of tennis clothes (the largest endorsement ever awarded to a woman athlete, at $40 million for five years). [See also “VENUS WILLIAMS ENTREPRENEUR: One of Business Insider’s Eight Athletes Winning On A Different Turf”→]

We tracked Venus down during her crazy training season to see just what it takes to build an unshakeable confidence on and off the court.

venussweetHow did you get to where you are today?

My story really starts with my parents. They gave us all the skills, not only me, but I have 3 older sisters and one younger sister and they gave us all the skills to do what we do today.

Our parents were a huge influence on all of us, family was huge for us, it still is. It’s been our base, we were told that our sisters are our best friends. So it was a family of women, 6 against 1. So we had the majority vote most of the time, I don’t know how he did it, but my dad really had a philosophy about things. He really gave us this entrepreneurial kind of mind and really did a lot.

My mom was a lot about balance, she’s extremely determined, a super nice person. My mom gave us that spiritual balance and just really a wonderful role model as a woman for all of us sisters. And together I think they really balance each other out. When one of them was being too hard, the other one was, you know kind of taking up the slack.

At what age did you first pick up a tennis racket?

I was about 3 years old when I first started playing. My dad had a vision that we would be great tennis players, and he read books about the game and taught himself. He then starting teaching us, and I loved it and was good from a young age.

What do you love about being on court?

The competition and knowing that when I play well I will win. And I want to be ahead of the curve.

We believe confidence is a critical element to women’s success and you certainly show it on and off the court, is this something you’ve always had, or have you earned it?

Confidence comes with preparation and meeting your goals. It also comes through the journey of success.

I believe to gain confidence, sports are instrumental, I encourage all young people to play sports. Of course it benefits everyone, of every age, but when you’re young it really teaches you these lessons of how you can push yourself, setting goals, achieving them, when you have a setback, really evaluating why and then making those changes to be successful. Those are lessons in life that are so invaluable. At the time when you’re a young person you don’t really realize, per se, you’re learning those lessons, but it’s really set in this pattern in life of hard work and dedication and learning and getting up when you fall down.

VENUS AND DADIn business, we often call those who help us advance a champion. Would you say your father has been yours?

My family is my champion. They are my coaches to this day, they are still working with us. My dad was usually on the court, but my mom would come out too. And if you know anything about my dad, you know that he can be this outspoken guy at times. He’s kind of calmed down a lot in the last few years. And my mom is this person on in the background smiling and you always see her clapping when there’s a good point even when the opponent won and sometimes you see her falling asleep in the stands (Laughter).

VENUS BELIEVE IN YOURSELFWhat are the most important lessons you’ve learned along the way to the top of your field?

First and foremost: Always believe in yourself! But there are a number of great lessons I’ve learned over the years.

Venus WilliamsCREATIVITY: There are always people who change the game. Steffi Graf and Monica Seles blew everyone off the court in their time. And the next wave, Serena and I were privileged enough to bring a new kind of power game… And really they say Serena and I changed the game, but it was actually my dad behind the scenes who changed the game with new footwork. It’s amazing what can be done when you approach the same thing but with a new solution.

HARD WORK, my parents taught us by example. My dad taught us a lot of hard work and most of all, is not to be afraid of hard work. You can’t be afraid to get in there and get your elbow wet. And you got to enjoy the challenge, just enjoy the battle.

Venus Williams of the U.S. runs to hit a return to Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan at the Wimbledon tennis championships in LondonDETERMINATION is extremely important. One of my mottos is, there’s always a way. There’s no such thing as not a way. I’m going to find a way and in my life I have never not found a way. So one of my mottos which I would like to share with you and then you can make a part of your life also is find a way.

One of the most important things is to LOVE WHAT YOU DO. There’s nothing better than getting up in the morning and knowing that you love what you do that day and you’re ready for that challenge and you’re going to embrace it and you’re going to enjoy that battle.

VISUALIZATION was a huge part of what we did. And I use those techniques off of the court too and maybe its not necessarily complete visualization, but a lot of it would be writing down my goals. Really be preparing for what the next step might be.

Venus Williams proudly displays her wares for winning her first of five Wimbledon women's singles title in 2000.
Venus Williams proudly displays her wares for winning her first of five Wimbledon women’s singles title in 2000.

“I remember the first time I won Wimbledon, my dad told me to go out there to the stadium court and just visualize. No crowds were in there, I just walked out there on the court, sit down and its really a serine moment because you’re in the Wimbledon Stadium. You walk out on the court and there’s no one there, it’s just you and the birds. And I sat there and I thought about what it would take for me to win this tournament and (closes her eyes) visualize myself on that match point, how would I handle that pressure. Visualize myself down break point and how would I come back from that and different things like that. Just all by  myself, so he really taught us how to prepare. PREPARATION IS KEY.”

My latest thing now is know the play. One of my strengths as a player on the court is I know the play. Even though I seems like this really tall, big, dominating bully on the court that I’m just over powering people in the back of my head I am taking in all these different things that are happening on the court at that moment. So if one person hits the ball on me and ok great shot, but I am kind of watching to see if they will do that again and if they do it a second time, then that’s the play. I know the play. I know what they’re doing. I know who my opponents are before they one on the court. I know what I’m up against and I’ve prepared 110% before I get out there. And if I have something that’s kind of going against me like an injury per say, how do I combat that, how can I be prepared to be ready for that kind of thing.

What has been your biggest obstacle?

Injuries have always been my biggest obstacle.

What is balance to you?

We had a really good balance growing up. My dad he was very… he was really interesting, there’s so many stories. If you read my book Come to Win there’s a lot of them in there about how my dad would teach us. But what I recall the most is my very first job was at 3 years old (Laughter) I know it’s not child labour (Laughter) but he had us delivering phonebooks, as a family we all had to deliver phonebooks. From the very beginning he had us working and instilling these values of hard work and really knowing that you have to do something for yourself and you start right from the very beginning.

VSTARRWhat does life look like after tennis?

Today, I can say that I absolutely love what I do, I love tennis, I love design, so that makes it easy for me to be motivated.

My parents taught me to be really well-rounded and to be more than just an athlete. In my late teens, I realized that I love design and it was something that I wanted to pursue. So life after tennis I will be furthering my clothing and interior design companies, EleVen and Vstarr Interiors.

VENUS QUOTE BELIEVE IN YOURSELFWhat do you hope aspiring female athletes and emerging leaders in any field learn from you as a role model?

Stay true to yourself, and always believe in yourself and what you’re doing, no matter what others might say.





Since turning pro in 1995, Serena Williams has a jaw-dropping career total 19 Grand Slam titles, in the Open Era, second only to Steffi Graf (22). How did she get here…

VENUS AND SERENA STUN TENNIS WORLDFor beginners, ‘stunned’  best describes the white establishment’s quintessential country-club sport when the Williams sisters first exploded on the tennis scene as young teens. When they were even younger someone commented to their father, Richard Williams, that he had the next Michael Jordan on his hands; Richard, who self-taught himself the fundamentals of tennis, famously commented:

DAD WITH THE NEXT TWO MICHAEL JORDONS” No brother man…I got the next ‘two’! ” 

The tennis world marveled when on February 25, 2002 Venus became the first African American to become

World Number One.

Venus Williams World No.1. On February 25, 2002 . (Photo Source:
Venus Williams World No.1, February 25, 2002 . (Photo Source:

About this historical achievement, Dad is on record saying words to this effect – while Venus is very good, her little sister is greatness personified.

Photo Source:
Photo Source:

The sisters really were dismissed and denigrated by many in the all-white tennis establishment, and when he forecast that Venus and Serena would become the top two players in the game, so was their father.

Yet to be acknowledged for his genius as a coach, Richard Williams was scoffed and laughed at, but as the famous quote goes:

He who laughs last, laughs longest.”

Gold medalists Serena Williams of the United States and Venus Williams of the United States celebrate on the popdium during the medal ceremony for the Women’s Doubles Tennis on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Game
It’s 2012…Gold medalists Serena and Venus Williams of the United States celebrate on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Women’s Doubles Tennis on Day 9 of the London Olympics.


(Photo Source:
(Photo Source:

Serena Williams was only 4 years old when she and sister, Venus, started hitting tennis balls. And at age  10 her record was 46-3 on the Junior USA Tour and her ranking – Number One – in her age division.

Turning pro in 1995 her determination was on full display as her ranking soared from number 304 to number 99.

(Photo ource:
(Photo ource:

Remember what transpired on that ranking climb, Serena defeated two top ten players on the way up, Monica Seles and Mary Pierce. 

(Photo Source:
Althea Gibson first African American to win a Grand Slam.(Photo Source:

Amazingly only four years later, Serena followed up Althea Gibson’s feat of  1956, by becoming only the second African American to secure a grand slam women’s singles title. Winning at Flushing Meadows in 1999, the US Open – defeating Switzerland’s Martina Hingis in the women’s finals  6-3, 7-6 (7-4).

At age 17, Serena Williams shocked the world in winning the 1999 US Open. (Photo Source:
At age 17, Serena Williams shocked the world in winning the 1999 US Open. (Photo Source:

Backdrop to the story…as to why Serena winning her first grand slam title ‘here’  was so astounding to the lily-white tennis world: in 1997 her elder sister Venus at age 17 became the US Open’s first ‘unseeded’ women’s finalist in the Open Era. Well documented is the ‘open resentment’ Venus encountered during that tournament. (Check the cover of Sports Illustrated below) Venus was asked if she was tennis’ next Tiger Woods, her response is bold and true to factual reality:

(Photo Source:
(Photo Source:

“I would hope so,” Venus said. “He’s different from the mainstream, and in tennis I also am. I’m tall. I’m black. Everything’s different about me. Just face the facts.”

And the tennis world, if overwhelmed then, was much like the chorus of that song “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”…when in 2002 Serena Jamika Williams followed up her Sister’s Act –

by becoming the World Number One too.SERENA WILLIAMS BECOMES WORLD NUMBER ONE


A magazine cover I favor very much features the most celebrated siblings ever in tennis history on its cover and reads: “Venus and Serena Serving From the Hip.” The story has since grown much deeper than that when it comes to closer inspection of  the individual dispositions of these two
closely-bonded sisters.

Being the baby sister myself, I appreciate and admire much Venus’s generosity of spirit, support and protectiveness of her younger sister. But these characteristics have been enormous factors in their face-offs on court, particularly early in their careers.

The primary distinction is that while younger sister has vocalized a preference for not having to face Venus, Serena has never seemed as conflicted about beating Venus – as Venus has demonstrated for her baby sister.

VENUS HUGS SERENA AFTER WINNING US OPENRemember the first Prime-Time Televised women’s final in US Open history, when she beat Serena, Venus slung her arms around her kid sister’s shoulders when it was over and whispered in her ear, “Let’s get out of here.”

Serena and Destiny

Also admirable is that without hesitation, and from the beginning, Serena embraced her own individual destiny. And for the record, Champion Serena Williams has shared openly that, regardless of the opponent she hates losing more than she loves winning.

And true to her father Richard William’s proclamation; Serena has become the greatest women’s champion the world has ever been fortunate enough to witness.

serena interview with chris evertFurther testimony to her greatness, the World Number One is not satisfied with her record 19 Grand Slam Titles, so stay tuned folks for the greatest match of competition ever is underway…Serena against Tennis World History!


SERENASTRONGISBEAUTIFULYOUCANBECOMEI adore Serena for many reasons: that she is a woman of Faith; how she openly shares her journey to embracing and loving herself completely; the love she has for her family and genuine care for others; her dedication to her sport; and, her determination to live a full life outside of tennis; however my special admiration is reserved for Serena’s “Purity of Purpose”!

MUHAMMAD ALI FIRST MINUTE FIRST ROUNDAnd I love music too and, its correlation to current affairs in life today; thus the song for the autobiographical movie about the undisputed “GREATEST” Muhammad Ali is deservedly a song the dominant and ‘GREAT’ Serena Williams, a woman of purpose,  has earned in her sport such a tribute as well.

Ladies and gentlemen I present one of the greatest singers Whitney Houston [RIP] in Music Video performing “The Greatest Love Of All.”

submitted by a devoted fan of the William Sisters…@BlackPearlMoi (twitter account)


serenagrandslamWhen will Serena become America’s sweetheart?


Earlier this year I blogged that Serena Williams is not your ‘Average World #1.

When in fact Serena is one of the most fascinating  figures in Sports today…AN ICON KNOWN BY FIRST NAME ONLY‼

(Associated Press Photo By Rob Griffith)
(Associated Press Photo By Rob Griffith)

I watch ESPN hoping to hear more about Serena Williams’ historic win at the 2015 Australian Open. But all I’m getting is continuing coverage of this year’s Superbowl. American pundits going on ad nauseam about the greatness and genius of  quarterback Tom Brady who just  won his 4th title, with little to no mention of the cheating controversy “Deflate-gate’.  They continue gushing over an inebriated/hard-partying Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots; who’s become the defacto ‘glorified bad boy’ of professional football in running stories on ESPN.

What Serena Williams accomplished winning the 2015 Australian Open becoming the third all-time best grand slam title holder was historic! Serena grand slam record

Coverage by ESPN and ESPN Tennis was relegated to simply covering the grand slam itself. Williams, 33, now owns 19 Grand Slam singles titles, tying her with Helen Wills Moody. Steffi Graf won 22 Grand Slam singles titles, while Australia’s Margaret Court owns the all-time record with 24 (before the Open Era).  There wasn’t any run-up coverage of Serena’s title chase during the Aussie Open and after the win, no special segments of congratulations. Sports talk shows were mostly absent.


The NFL’s Superbowl known for it’s astronomically priced commercials pushing the possibilities of innovation and technology, aired a series of spots entitled #LikeAGirl. They delivered an important message: your words should be tempered in ways that create and maintain confidence , courage and self-worth in girls.

Yet America remains mute on  and seemingly unaware that it is home to, what newspapers around the world frame as, the most accomplished female athlete in the world. One who not only hits #LikeAGirl, but better than just about everyone when it comes to her serve!

[NOTE TO  Olympic Tennis: Why are you still  in delay mode regarding Russian Tennis Federation Official Tarpischev, who made Racist/Sexist remarks about Venus and Serena on television. I commend  both the WTA  and the USTA for  immediately condemning him‼  He received a fine and ban in fact by the WTA.]

Why is the American Sports Media Seemingly
Dismissive of  Serena?

Some offer as explanation that Serena’s greatness is a given thus any word or action to the contrary becomes the story. Although counter argument to this is that the American media is remiss, as the time has yet-to-come of running commentaries on ESPN about “Serena the Great!”

Are there more grand slams to come in 2015? Thankfully Patrick Mouratoglou, the coach of Serena Williams for two-and-a-half years, clues us in, sharing  that she is ”mentally better”and has “bigger weapons”.  About Serena’s chase with the history books:

SERENA GLAMA AT AUSSIE OPEN“Of course she can,” said Mouratoglou. “I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. For sure it’s going to be very difficult. She will have to stay fit, she will have to keep the motivation as high as it is now. She has been playing 17 years on tour, so to wake up every morning, go to practice, all these things.SERENA WITH PATRICK

“But she still has for the moment.

Without fail they laud her power and strength. True, with the exception of elder sister Venus, Serena’s power game is unsurpassed. As I read, listen and watch commentaries about her game I silently scream – how can anyone see Serena Williams play tennis and not marvel at the intelligence and beauty of her game.SERENA DEVASTATING SERENA BEAUTIFUL 300SERENA BEAUTIFUL GAME 200

The extraordinary serve – forehand, backhand – and exact shot making. FINESSE. A mastermind at work on the court, able to identify the weaknesses in her opponents game. Prepared, arriving with a strategic game plan and focus/commitment to execution.  And win or lose, always going down swinging, most often with ‘precise’ swings.


outfitsWhen they arrived on the scene, Venus and Serena not only changed how the women’s game is played, they changed the look; stunning the ‘Lily White’ tennis establishment and fans in America. And they have and continue to endure the racist abuse and indignities that all African American trailblazers are forced to contend with  (i.e. Jackie Robinson,  Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe and etc.).

2014 US Open: Serena tied Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova with a whopping 18 Grand Slam titles.
2014 US Open: Serena tied Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova with a whopping 18 Grand Slam titles.
Serena receives the trophy from Martina. Australian Open,2015. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
Serena receives the trophy from Martina. Australian Open,2015. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

One would think with Serena the tide in America would have changed, in light of her achieving such unimaginable feats, not only surpassing Evert and Navratilova with her 19th grand slam but her sustained dominance in the women’s game.


why“Why I Write About
Serena Williams”

 by Ahmed Olayinka Sule, CFA

“Serena Williams not attaining recognition she deserves:
Following her 19th Grand Slam victory, she is almost certainly the most under-appreciated legend in American sport”
by Dave Hannigan
via @IrishTimes
“Serena Williams and her sister Venus deserve more respect and we should cherish them while we can”
by Charlie Eccleshare
LINK→  via @Telegraph
I have lived long enough to see some change for the better in America, and I remain in a ‘glass half-full’ hopefulness state that soon and very soon America will embrace wholeheartedly a most accomplished champion who is a marvelous soul as well. Now it’s showtime…featuring the ‘Hey 19’ Champion-of-the-World –  Serena!  ‘-)                              {guest Blogger @BlackPearlMoi }


Welcome Back Venus – You are Better Than a 10…elevenbyvenus

My treasured moment at the 2015 Australian Open came in the third round; for the first time since 2011, both Williams sisters were still alive in the round of 16 in the same Grand Slam. Nothing could be better for this fan. Of course younger sister’s win at the Aussie Open, claiming her 19th Grand Slam and the victory speech about struggle-to-triumph that Serena gave, holds a significantly special place of it’s own.

Special as well is the Resurgence of Venus

VENUSRUNSFORASHORTBALLVenus is back at the top echelon of the world tennis rankings, in lieu of her health battle with Sjogren’s Syndrome (autoimmune disorder).

After reaching the quarters in Australia, seeing her ranking rise to #11 is a phenomenal achievement!

Most notably so, as most tennis commentators and others in the tennis media had written Venus off after her announcement at the 2011 US Open that she was diagnosed with the debilitating, fatigue inducing disorder.

Venus Talks Turning Losing into Winning in BRENDAN BRAZIERSThrive Magazine


Sport is just like life; it’s filled with up and downs. There are times when you just can’t lose and other times when the luck always seems to go the other way. Life can be especially tough when we are dealing with challenges that are out of our control. Here’s where my story comes in.

For the best part of 2013, I had been struggling with a back injury. I’ve dealt with a lot of injuries—countless, actually. But this one was quite devastating as it took away my biggest weapon, and the life of my game, my serve. Coming back from this injury has been one of the biggest challenges of my career. I was shocked to see how much it affected my confidence.

What I quickly found was that recovering confidence can be tricky. I have made a set of rules that helped me along the way. It came through trial and error and a handful of somewhat tragic losses. Thankfully, my losses weren’t in vain: they paved the way to self-reflection and some mind-blowing insights. As they say, “The only tragedy in losing or failing is not learning from it.”

To read Venus Williams’ 11 Steps to Regain Your Confidence – CLICK HERE→

Evidence That She’s Back in Her Winning Stride Again

It’s still very early, but the 34-year old American has been most impressive, winning  five of her past six matches against top-10 players. Venus has lost only one match this year (9-1), won her first title in Auckland and played in the quarterfinals of a major for the first time since the 2010 US Open (when she reached the semis).VENUSCURLSAUCKLAND2015

Nothing short of awesome that Venus is still playing, returning to her old form and thriving while past opponents have long been enjoying retirement. What better illustration than this – Venus’ opponent in the Australian Open quarterfinal is the protegé of her old rival Lindsay Davenport. That quarterfinal Australian Open match is the only loss for Venus this year; to Madison Keys, who wasn’t even born when Venus played her first WTA tournament.

The happily family, Davenport married her husband Jonathan Leach in 2003, in 2007 they welcomed their first child Jagger Jonathan, then daughter Lauren Andrus in 2009, daughter Kaya Emory in January 2012 and on January 6th of this year, third daughter Haven Michelle Leach. Source:
The happily family, Davenport married her husband Jonathan Leach in 2003, in 2007 they welcomed their first child Jagger Jonathan, then daughter Lauren Andrus in 2009, daughter Kaya Emory in January 2012 and on January 6th of this year, third daughter Haven Michelle Leach. Source:

Davenport 38 , who retired from singles, developed a career as TV commentator and play-by-play analyst, is a married mother of four turned coach. Lindsay is proving her mettle as 19-year-old American Madison Keys reached a semifinal round in a grand slam for the first time in her career.

Wise move by the young Keys to secure such an accomplished coach: former world No. 1 and 3-time Grand Slam tournament champion Lindsay (a favorite player of mine) was in the finals of seven grand slams; two of them the Australian Open which she won in 2000. And overlooked is the fact that Lindsay remarkably came back into tour-level competition twice after giving birth.

Rivalry between Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport

Venus Williams (L) and Lindsay Davenport on September 9, 2000 at the U.S.Open in New York. (UPI Photo/Ezio Petersen/File)
Venus Williams (L) and Lindsay Davenport on September 9, 2000 at the U.S.Open in New York. (UPI Photo/Ezio Petersen/File)

They played 27 competitive matches – more often than Venus has played any other opponent. Venus Williams played Lindsay Davenport for the first time in 1997 at Indian Wells. Twice they met in the final at Wimbledon, which Williams won each time. Many consider the 2005 Wimbledon as one of the, if not the best, women’s final ever. An epic match between two talented women, with similar games,  playing it the way I love to watch  – “Big Babe Tennis.”

WATCH: 2005 Wimbledon Final
Venus Williams Vs. Lindsay Davenport 2005

venuswilliamshercallforequalpayVenus has evolved into an elder statesman of the game, who successfully took on Wimbledon off-the-court, leading & winning the battle for equal reward money for women in tennis. [See Blog post: Venus Williams’ Other Career as Equal Pay Activist : Revisiting ESPN Film’s Documentary ‘Venus Vs.’ ] She is following in the footsteps of her mentor Billie Jean King, a legend whom Venus often quotes.  Below is an exchange of tweets between the two during the Australian Open:


I am inspired by @Venuseswilliams every time she takes the court. Great to see her healthy, competing and loving what she does.

One of the greatest tennis players of all time: winner of seven Grand Slam singles titles and Olympic gold, this woman who changed the face of modern tennis is also an accomplished business woman.

Along with her thriving clothing line ELEVENLOGO

Venus Williams debuted her 2015: Ola collection during Auckland #ASBClassic.
Venus Williams debuted her 2015: Ola collection during Auckland #ASBClassic.
Venus Williams has four full-time professional designers at her V Starr Interiors firm. Willie J. Allen Jr./For The Washington Post
Venus Williams has four full-time professional designers at her V Starr Interiors firm.
Willie J. Allen Jr./For The Washington Post

Venus’ interior design firm V Starr Interiors continues to grow. For more than a decade, she has quietly run an interior design firm in her adopted home of Florida. Two years ago V Starr  decorated a $6.5 million luxury model condo for a Boca Raton development. Her latest project: developer Jorge Perez’s new apartment community in Delray Beach.

…still  with her epic rise back to just outside the top 10, it’s more than obvious that her passion for Tennis has not diminished.


How fortunate for us that Venus sat with Robin Roberts and reveals a mental approach for bouncing back that has served her well throughout her career, and … shares who her dream match would be against.

VENUS LOOKING TO THE SKYGlad you’re back Venus Williams, the Game was Simply Not the Same Without You!

submitted by guestBlogger @BlackPearlMoi  (twitter account)



She did it! Serena has gone where only two other women tennis players have gone before, to the land of more than 18 grand slams.SERENA WINS 2015 AUSSIE


Get ready Helen Wills Moody, whose  focus and drive helped her become the world’s leading female tennis player in the 1920s and ’30s ending with a career total of 19 grand slams. And watchout Steffi Graf, you with 22 singles titles that mark the record for most Major wins by a tennis player (male or female) since the introduction of the Open Era in 1968. Tennis history stand at alert cause the current World #1 is coming.


Still defying time and having conquered age; in fact the only rival Serena Williams has at this point in her career is history! After grabbing #19 while playing Down Under the past two weeks not feeling well, she leaped for joy.


Love this photo of Serena with her coach Patrick Mouratoglou (The Mastermind), both with well deserved smiles after her history-making win at the 2015 Australian Open.


Grand Slam Number 20 – “Come Get  It Bae”   ‘-)

guest Blogger and devoted fan @BlackPearlMoi

The Williams Sisters: Serena and Venus – Still the Most Interesting Story in Sports

Damon Winter/The New York Times
Damon Winter/The New York Times

Years ago, soon after Venus Williams won her first professional tennis match, someone said to her father…”I think you got the next Michael JordanMICHAEL JORDAN

on your hands” to which
Richard Williams responded:

” No brother man…FATHER RICHARD WILLIAMS WITH VENUS AND SERENAI got the next ‘two’! “

[ #WELP…as the saying goes – Father Knows Best!!! ‘-) LOL ]

Both Venus and Serena are into the fourth round of the 2015 Australian Open – 17 years after the sisters’ first professional match there, they remain the most awesome and interesting story in sports.

The only sisters in the history books to ever attain the Number One and Number Two spots in the world ranking of tennis!


Venus Williams’ Other Career as Equal Pay Activist : Revisiting ESPN Film’s Documentary ‘Venus Vs.’

Post written by guest blogger @BlackPearlMoi 

ESPN FILMS first Nine for IX espisode: Venus Williams documentary "VENUS VS."
ESPN FILMS first Nine for IX espisode: Venus Williams documentary “VENUS VS.”

Venus Williams’ Other Career as Equal Pay Activist : Revisiting ESPN Film’s Documentary ‘Venus Vs.’

Many knew of Venus Williams’s domination on the court, but very few – and even ESPN executives – had heard of her fight to close the gender pay gap in tennis, even though she went so far as to lobby the British Parliament for financial equality.


There’s a reason why sports make for compelling movies. They’re inherently narrative, with winners and losers, blood and tears—serving up hard-fought drama on a silver trophy plate. ESPN decided to approach the topic from a new angle, focusing not on the theatrics found on the field, but the battles fought off of it.


The producers of the network’s popular ’30 for 30′ documentary program decided on a series called
‘Nine for IX’; only it’s focus is solely on women in sports.

Libby Geist,  Senior Director of Development, ESPN Films
Libby Geist,
Senior Director of Development, ESPN Films

“A year ago almost exactly was the fortieth anniversary of Title IX,” explains Libby Geist,associate director of development at ESPN Films, referring to the portion of the Education Amendments of 1972 that protects against discrimination based on sex. It was this anniversary that inspired Nine for IX, which will include nine female-directed episodes about women who have overcome adversities in the athletic realm.

Geist agrees that the goal of the series as a whole is to chronicle unknown or forgotten events. “Women really have their own history now,” she says. “It’s not all happy and fluffy necessarily, but we’ve got our own stories to tell and we’re ready to tell them.”

The sports network approached Ava DuVernay, winner of the Best Director award last year at Sundance for her film “Middle of Nowhere,” to make a film about any topic in women’s sports. She choose Venus Williams’ fight for equal pay at Wimbledon — a big story in Britain, but not widely known in the United States.

'Venus VS' Venus Williams documentary, first of ESPN series Nine for IX
‘Venus VS’ Venus Williams documentary, first of ESPN series Nine for IX

The film follows Venus Williams as a child phenom to her first championship at Wimbledon in 2000 — and again in 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008.  Endorsement deals made her one of the most powerful athletes in the world — but not worthy of equal pay at arguably the most prestigious Grand Slam event.

venusbilliejeanInspired by Billie Jean King, Williams led the charge for all the other women on the court.

The director does a superb job of telling the total story of Venus and her conscious choice to step forward, with the full weight of her brand, and take the lead in the fight for financial equality for women in tennis.VENUSLEFTPROFILE

“It would be uninformed to do a story on her and her influence on the tour without acknowledging that at one point she was an outsider, and she was an outsider based on cultural politics,” DuVernay stated at a screening for the film.


“But she and the tour and her fellow players matured by having her and Serena on the scene, to the point that the one who was an outsider became the ultimate insider and the champion for this cause.”


“We say in the film, a fight for equality in any space contributes to our overall psychographic terms,” says DuVernay.

duvarney “This is part of that story, part of that narrative for women’s equality across the board, and the fact that we don’t know about it is something Venus wanted to remedy as much as I did.”

(NOTE: On Dec. 11, 2014 Ava DuVernay was nominated for best director of a feature film – ‘Selma’. She is the first woman of color and only the fifth woman ever to be nominated for the Golden Globe Award.)

The film ‘Venus Vs.’ is a phenomenal movie, and stands as evidence…both DuVernay and Williams are masters at what they do;

Williams and director Ava DuVernay on the set of “‘Venus Vs.’ (Howard Barish/ESPN Films)
Williams and director Ava DuVernay on the set of “‘Venus Vs.’ (Howard Barish/ESPN Films)

and mutual admiration is to be expected…speaking of the significance of what Venus did, the director commented, “I think you have to speak truth to power,” said the filmmaker. “If truth is not being spoken, then power doesn’t shift.

The Story has a Happy Ending

Venus Williams after winning the Wimbledon title in 2007. (Credit: AP)
Venus Williams after winning the Wimbledon title in 2007. (Credit: AP)

This time the All England Club finally agreed to do the right thing: When Venus won her fourth Wimbledon championship in 2007, she became the first woman to earn exactly the same as Roger Federer: $1.4 million.

Champions Roger Federer and Venus Williams pose with their trophies at Champions' Dinner at London's Savoy Hotel, Sunday July 8, 2007. "I was really motivated because no one picked me to win. They didn't even say, 'She can't win.' They weren't even talking about me," said Williams, who reached No. 1 in 2002 but entered Wimbledon ranked No. 31. "I never would doubt myself that way."   (AP Photo/Bob Martin, AELTC pool)
Champions Roger Federer and Venus Williams pose with their trophies at Champions’ Dinner at London’s Savoy Hotel, Sunday July 8, 2007.
“I was really motivated because no one picked me to win. They didn’t even say, ‘She can’t win.’ They weren’t even talking about me,” said Williams, who reached No. 1 in 2002 but entered Wimbledon ranked No. 31. “I never would doubt myself that way.”
(AP Photo/Bob Martin, AELTC pool)


Watch  video: Director Ava DuVernay shares about making the Nine for IX documentary film
“Venus VS.” which aired on ESPN



Speech Venus Gave to the Wimbledon Board Members the Day Before the 2005 Final

BACKSTORY: Things were really heating up on the equal pay issue prior to the 2005 Wimbledon tournament. The Australian Open and the U.S. Open were already offering equal pay, therefore Wimbledon became the issue’s focal point.

Apparently, the day before the women’s final at Wimbledon, the representatives of all the Grand Slams and every important tour person met for a board meeting. Well, the day before playing in the HUGE 2005 final against Lindsay Davenport, Venus chose to appear at that meeting and made a speech.

Picture this now…never before in history had a player appeared at this meeting!

With the strength of her conviction, Venus boldly stood  up in front of the members of this important Board and told them to close their eyes. “No peeking,” he said.

The respect Venus commanded saw them comply with her request…a they closed their eyes.

She instructed them to picture being a little girl with a dream–whether it’s tennis or politics or business. Then she said…

Imagine that you can’t earn as much or achieve that dream just because of your gender.

The next day, Venus played what many consider one of the BEST women’s tennis finals ever…beating Lindsay Davenport 9-7 in the third set of the Wimbledon final – to win her first major in four years. Behind the entire match, she dug deep in her arsenal of resolve, to win over a familiar and very talented foe. That final lasted longer than the men’s final that year, and in my book, IS the best women’s Grand Slam finals ever – because of high quality play from Venus and Lindsay…from start to finish!

In the ‘Venus Vs.’ documentary, Venus emotionally recall her little sister Serena’s advice to her before that final, which was: “If you take your opportunities, more will come.”

As she was serving for the match at 8-7, Venus shares, those words of her sister’s, were the exact words she repeated to her herself in that defining moment on court.

Wimbeldon 2006: Champions Venus Williams and Roger Federer
Wimbeldon 2006: Champions Venus Williams and Roger Federer

Venus won that Wimbledon and the IRONY is that the women’s prize money not being equal to the men’s – meant she was forced to accept earning less money than the men’s champion, Roger Federer.

The Letter Venus Published Before Wimbledon 2006


After all of her advocacy work in 2005 came up short, Venus published the following op-ed letter in the London’s Times before Wimbledon in 2006;  and, the question was raised in Parliament. Most agree that the letter became the defining moment of the entire battle for equal pay in tennis…Reprinted in it’s entirety:

Wimbledon has sent me a message: I’m only a second-class champion

Venus Williams

The Times & The Sunday Times

June 26, 2006

The time has come for it to do the right thing: pay men and women equal prize money

HAVE YOU ever been let down by someone that you had long admired, respected and looked up to? Little in life is more disappointing, particularly when that person does something that goes against the very heart of what you believe is right and fair.

When I was a little girl, and Serena and I played matches together, we often pretended that we were in the final of a famous tournament. More often than not we imagined we were playing on the Centre Court at Wimbledon. Those two young sisters from Compton, California, were “Wimbledon champions” many times, years before our dreams of playing there became reality.

There is nothing like playing at Wimbledon; you can feel the footprints of the legends of the game — men and women — that have graced those courts. There isn’t a player who doesn’t dream of holding aloft the Wimbledon trophy. I have been fortunate to do so three times, including last year. That win was the highlight of my career to date, the culmination of so many years of work and determination, and at a time when most people didn’t consider me to be a contender.

So the decision of the All England Lawn Tennis Club yet again to treat women as lesser players than men — undeserving of the same amount of prize money — has a particular sting.

I’m disappointed not for myself but for all of my fellow women players who have struggled so hard to get here and who, just like the men, give their all on the courts of SW19. I’m disappointed for the great legends of the game, such as Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, who have never stopped fighting for equality. And disappointed that the home of tennis is sending a message to women across the world that we are inferior.

With power and status comes responsibility. Well, Wimbledon has power and status. The time has come for it to do the right thing by paying men and women the same sums of prize money. The total prize pot for the men’s events is £5,197,440; for the women it is £4,446,490. The winner of the ladies’ singles receives £30,000 less than the men’s winner; the runner-up £15,000 less, and so on down to the first-round losers.

How can it be that Wimbledon finds itself on the wrong side of history? How can the words Wimbledon and inequality be allowed to coexist? I’ve spent my life overcoming challenges and those who said certain things couldn’t be achieved for this or that reason. My parents taught me that dreams can come true if you put in the effort. Maybe that’s why I feel so strongly that Wimbledon’s stance devalues the principle of meritocracy and diminishes the years of hard work that women on the tour have put into becoming professional tennis players.

I believe that athletes — especially female athletes in the world’s leading sport for women — should serve as role models. The message I like to convey to women and girls across the globe is that there is no glass ceiling. My fear is that Wimbledon is loudly and clearly sending the opposite message: 128 men and 128 women compete in the singles main draw at Wimbledon; the All England Club is saying that the accomplishments of the 128 women are worth less than those of the 128 men. It diminishes the stature and credibility of such a great event in the eyes of all women.

The funny thing is that Wimbledon treats men and women the same in so many other respects; winners receive the same trophy and honorary membership. And as you enter Centre Court, the two photographs of last year’s men’s and women’s champions are hung side by side, proudly and equally.

So why does Wimbledon choose to place a lesser value on my championship trophy than that of the 2005 men’s winner Roger Federer? The All England Club is familiar with my views on the subject; at Wimbledon last year, the day before the final, I presented my views to it and its French Open counterparts. Both clearly gave their response: they are firmly in the inequality for women camp.

Wimbledon has argued that women’s tennis is worth less for a variety of reasons; it says, for example, that because men play a best of five sets game they work harder for their prize money.

This argument just doesn’t make sense; first of all, women players would be happy to play five sets matches in grand slam tournaments. Tim Phillips, the chairman of the All England Club, knows this and even acknowledged that women players are physically capable of this.

Secondly, tennis is unique in the world of professional sports. No other sport has men and women competing for a grand slam championship on the same stage, at the same time. So in the eyes of the general public the men’s and women’s games have the same value.

Third, athletes are also entertainers; we enjoy huge and equal celebrity and are paid for the value we deliver to broadcasters and spectators, not the amount of time we spend on the stage. And, for the record, the ladies’ final at Wimbledon in 2005 lasted 45 minutes longer than the men’s. No extra charge.

Let’s not forget that the US Open, for 33 years, and the Australian Open already award equal prize money. No male player has complained — why would they?

Wimbledon has justified treating women as second class because we do more for the tournament. The argument goes that the top women — who are more likely also to play doubles matches than their male peers — earn more than the top men if you count singles, doubles and mixed doubles prize money. So the more we support the tournament, the more unequally we should be treated! But doubles and mixed doubles are separate events from the singles competition. Is Wimbledon suggesting that, if the top women withdrew from the doubles events, that then we would deserve equal prize money in singles? And how then does the All England Club explain why the pot of women’s doubles prize money is nearly £130,000 smaller than the men’s doubles prize money?

Equality is too important a principle to give up on for the sake of less than 2 per cent of the profit that the All England Club will make at this year’s tournament. Profit that men and women will contribute to equally through sold-out sessions, TV ratings or attraction to sponsors. Of course, one can never distinguish the exact value brought by each sex in a combined men’s and women’s championship, so any attempt to place a lesser value on the women’s contribution is an exercise in pure subjectivity.

Let’s put it another way, the difference between men and women’s prize money in 2005 was £456,000 — less than was spent on ice cream and strawberries in the first week. So the refusal of the All England Club, which declared a profit of £25 million from last year’s tournament, to pay equal prize money can’t be about cash. It can only be trying to make a social and political point, one that is out of step with modern society.

I intend to keep doing everything I can until Billie Jean’s original dream of equality is made real. It’s a shame that the name of the greatest tournament in tennis, an event that should be a positive symbol for the sport, is tarnished.

So ends the story of the woman tennis player who
took on Wimbledon as an opponent…


and finished in Victory.
Not bad for a gurrl from Compton! ‘-)

Reviews of Nine for IX documentary film

“Venus Vs.”

“It’s a stirring story that is skillfully rendered here. Throughout the tight, well paced film, Williams emerges as a colorful, combative, articulate presence.”

“Venus Vs. is a film not only triumphant in its subject matter, but in offering a narrative that is at once as empowering to female athletes, young girls looking for heroes and feminist activists, but also to all sports fans. To everyone, for that matter.”
Craig Carpenter | HUFFINGTON POST

“Elegantly made.”
Alison Willmore | INDIEWIRE

“Director Ava DuVernay further displays the fascinating reaches of her talents with her latest project, Venus Vs. a sports documentary for ESPN centered exclusively on the inspirational Venus Williams.  As with DuVernay’s previous works, her latest is not to be missed.”
Nicholas Bell | IONCINEMA

“The movie is taut, compact, and strong—just like its titular star.”
Jonathan Scott | TENNIS.COM

“The crusade that Williams — and others long before her like Billie Jean King — fought is memorably captured in a new documentary by director Ava DuVernay called Venus Vs.”
Murray Jacobson | PBS NEWSHOUR

“Visual choices, so striking and so precise, open up Venus Vs. to yet another set of contexts, extending beyond the ongoing effort to achieve women’s equality in sports.”
Cynthia Fuchs | POPMATTERS

“DuVernay chose a story that both fits the celebratory theme of the Nine For IX series and breaks new ground.”

“Cleverly, DuVernay incorporates footage from some of Williams’ most stunning matches as a way of not only communicating visually the blood, sweat and tears going into the battle for women’s respect on the courts, but also as a demonstration of how ludicrous the hoary claim is that women’s matches aren’t as ‘entertaining’ as men’s.”

“The documentary benefits from a directorial specificity that makes the subject matter fresh and exciting. There’s a great athletic energy and pacing.”
Nijla Mumin | SHADOW & ACT

“Venus Vs. will grab your attention from its first frame as DuVernay very aptly presents the film’s central narrative and moves the story forward in a succinct and entertaining way.”

“The Tennis World’s Most Charismatic Player:Serena Williams”: written by @BlackPearlMoi


Serena Williams, in the world of women’s tennis, is the most charismatic player! Serena herself has declared that there are many sides to her personality. Read on to discover why I define her as the most compelling player to listen to; and most definitely, to watch.

Take for example her surprising response in Italian, after winning the 2013 Rome Final! How she charmed the crowds with her language dexterity. And staying true to her–this gurrl loves to have fun–side; watch as she engages in some hilarious champagne popping.

Now let’s talk….about the Serena who tests and goes beyond possibility. Like when she enters the Serena zone. That’s when historical moments occur!  Wimbledon 2012: Serena set a record number of 102 aces, topping all other players( men & women) in this category. She won this tournament with 248 winners(102 were Aces).

Ever the perfectionist, Williams demands of herself an extremely high level of performance. And when she doesn’t reach it, frustration can erupt like a volcano! Remember the WTA finals in Singapore? After committing many errors during her Semi Final match against Caroline Wozniacki, watch how the racquet suffers the wrath of Serena!!!

Along with her extraordinary exploits on the tennis court, Serena is all woman. And when she vamps it up, all stop and stare at her beauty: as my MoMsy used to say “proof is in the pudding”; so gaze upon her, wearing Michael Costello, at the 2014 Vanity Fair Post Oscar party. BELLEZA!



I am forever grateful to Serena, and her accomplished sister Venus, for being the initiation to my love of tennis. Humbled am I to witness the unrivaled power, grace and elegance they exude. The tennis world is all the more richer, as are we who witness!

Venus – Young and Pretty – New York City Girl

Venus At The 32nd Annual Salute To Women In Sports Gala


Venus. looking simply marvelous in strapless flowery number, represented tennis well tonight at the 32nd Annual Salute To Women In Sports Gala at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. Numerous other amazing women were in attendance, including  Billie Jean King, Laila Ali, Julie Foudy and Emily Hughes.The Women’s Sports Foundation’s 32nd Annual Salute to Women in Sports celebrated the accomplishments of the top female athletes Wednesday night (October 19th). The annual fundraising gala was hosted by journalist and sportscaster Bonnie Bernstein.

Marvelous to see Ms.Vee out and about in New York City.  Below are photos  of Venus from red carpet arrival to backstage shots with Sports Woman of the Year-Team Award winner Abby Wambach!

(Photos: Getty Images)

Congrats to the recipient of the award named in honor of the great track star Wilma Rudolph

Visa Women’s Ski Jumping Team, Winner of the Wilma Rudolph Courage Award

The Visa Women’s Ski Jumping Team received the Wilma Rudolph Courage Award, for the sport’s accomplishments and the athletes’ 12-year push to be allowed to compete in the Olympic Winter Games. In April 2011, the International Olympic Committee added a women’s ski jumping event (normal hill) to the Olympic Winter Games program beginning in Sochi, Russia 2014.

The Wilma Rudolph Courage Award is presented to a female athlete who exhibits extraordinary courage in her athletic performance, demonstrates the ability to overcome adversity, makes significant contributions to sports and serves as an inspiration and role model for others. This award was first given in 1996 to Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

About the Women’s Sports Foundation
The Women’s Sports Foundation, founded in 1974, is the leader in promoting sports, health and education for girls and women. With Billie Jean King as its founder and ongoing visionary, The Women’s Sports Foundation continues to have a profound impact on female athletics, from its vigorous advocacy of Title IX legislation to providing grants and scholarships, grassroots programs for underserved girls, and groundbreaking research. An agent for change, the Women’s Sports Foundation has relationships with more than 1,000 of the world’s elite female athletes and is recognized globally for its leadership, vision, strength, expertise and influence. For more information, please call the Women’s Sports Foundation at 800.227.3988 or visit