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Why Serena Williams Doesn't Care What Her Body Shamers Think

Photo: Jacopo Raule/Getty Images.
Pretty much all female celebrities, regardless of their body type, have experienced body shaming at some point. Serena Williams is no stranger to that. But, she explained to The Fader in a new cover story, she's learned not to let others' opinions influence her self-image. In fact, she's totally cool with the fact that not everybody likes her — because she likes herself.

"People are entitled to have their opinions, but what matters most is how I feel about me, because that’s what’s going to permeate the room I’m sitting in," she explained. "It’s going to make you feel that I have confidence in myself whether you like me or not, or you like the way I look or not..."

Though it's much easier said than done, Williams believes unconditional self-approval is worth cultivating. "That’s the message I try to tell other women and in particular young girls," she said. "You have to love you, and if you don’t love you, no one else will. And if you do love you, people will see that and they’ll love you too."

She conveyed the same sentiment in an equally eloquent SELF September cover interview: "I'm not asking you to like my body. I'm just asking you to let me be me." In a culture that teaches us it's our job to look good for other people, that's a message a lot of women could stand to hear.

During her interview with The Fader, Williams also touched on another area in which women's bodies are unfairly judged: sexuality. Williams talked about being considered "too strong" (because she is one of the world's best athletes) but also "too sexy" (because she danced in Beyoncé's "Sorry" video). Again, she's done caring how people judge her.

"It was 'she’s too strong,' and then 'she’s too sexy,' and then 'she’s too strong' again," she recalled. "So I’m like, Well, can you choose one? But either way, I don’t care which one they choose. I’m me and I’ve never changed who I am."