Even with our cameras off, the excitement in Serena Williams’ voice makes it feel like she’s sitting in front of me. This level of passion makes sense. The decorated tennis champion is currently leading Secret’s Just #WatchMe campaign, meant to shed light on the fact that young girls drop out of sports at double the rate of young boys. As we talk, Williams reflects on “how cool it is to have friends, family, and support at matches,” and it’s clear that ensuring other young women and girls experience that same level of support — in whatever they’re passionate about — is vital to hear.
While you know and admire Williams’ athletic prowess, her own interests and her commitment to supporting the next generation goes beyond sports. Fans will remember her many impressive entrepreneurial ventures, like her inclusive fashion line S by Serena. There’s also her recent Serena Williams Design Crew partnership with Nike, through which Williams will mentor 10 up-and-coming designers with forward-thinking goals on forging a new path in the design industry where diverse perspectives can thrive. And, in the near future, Williams may even use her seemingly unending ambition to shake up an entirely new arena: the beauty industry.
Ahead, Williams reveals her go-to beauty products, her thoughts on starting her own beauty line, and why Secret’s Just #WatchMe campaign is so meaningful to her.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Elite Daily: Tell me about your new campaign with Secret, Just #WatchMe. Beyond the campaign, what do you think we could all be doing to help women and girls in sports, particularly with issues like underfunding and underrepresentation?
Serena Williams: The campaign is focused on improving the statistics of young girls dropping out of sports at twice the rate of young boys, due to, as you mentioned, issues surrounding underfunding and underrepresentation. [It’s all about] empowering young women athletes to keep going in the sports they love, and it really encourages everyone to show up and “just watch” these athletes.
ED: Do you think underfunding, underrepresentation, and other gender-based inequities are just as common in other countries, too? If so, what can we all do globally to help?
SW: This is something that I think everyone can do something about, because really, it’s about just showing up. So what is that? Is that watching them? The campaign is called Just #WatchMe, and when you’re watching someone, it’s really supporting them and that’s what we have to do — support these amazing young lady athletes. So, how can we support them? Well, by showing up, by being a mentor to them … those are just some ways that you can show support. It goes a long way just to be able to be there. I know, for me, it was always cool to have my mom and my dad, my sisters, and my friends, or even … to have people come to the matches and really be there to support. That [type of support] is what it’s all about; it just takes you to a new level and makes you feel really excited to be there and to be seen.
ED: I would love to know more about your journey with beauty. I recently watched some of your videos where you talk about your skin care routine, and you mentioned being into Mario Badescu products?
SW: I always kind of go back to the same products that I know and love because they really work well for me. There are so many different products that I love, like the [Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater ($7, Sephora)] — I love it as a setting spray. Beauty is so big right now, with everyone wanting to go outside to “play.” My new thing is lashes; I’m really into lashes now. I posted on my Snapchat about looking for the best lashes, and apparently, the bigger [the lashes], the better.
ED: Do you think that your love for beauty and skin care has changed over the pandemic? Have you become more experimental over the last several months?
SW: Yeah, I’ve been looking at so many videos on TikTok and Instagram and trying to understand how to do my own makeup better. I’ve always known how to do my own makeup pretty well, but now, I’m learning different things. I’m really focused on my eyes and [on learning] how to [apply] different shades on my eyes and stuff like that. It has been fun. I was definitely a girl who didn’t wear makeup in the pandemic. I’d start on Zoom with makeup, and then, I ended on Zoom with just nothing, you know?
ED: In the future, do you think you’d be interested in launching your own beauty line?
SW: As much as I genuinely care about makeup and how much I’m wearing it, I definitely think I should think about doing something in that space. Especially when I play, I’m always thinking, “Is this product long-lasting?” I definitely think that’s a path to go down in the near future.
ED: What is your one, desert-island beauty product?
SW: You know, someone just asked me that question, and it’s just not fair, because I’m gonna need more than one.
ED: OK, let’s say you can have two.
SW: I mean, I’m gonna have to go with lipstick, and then, maybe an eyeliner.
ED: What kind of color are you thinking of for the lips? Something bright? Something nude?
SW: Maybe a strong berry color, because you can also put it on your eyes, cheeks, and lips.
ED: What kind of lipstick finish are you into? Matte or glossy?
SW: I mean, what’s in? If matte is in, I’m into matte because I’m definitely following the trends. Right now, I’m not into a glossy finish, but not a matte — just the standard.
ED: Kind of like a sheeny, satin finish?
SW: Yeah, sheeny, like the natural lipstick look. I was really into matte finishes for a while, though, that was my thing.
ED: Matte finishes are nice, but then, they start to get a little drying.
SW: I still loved it, though. I still have some matte lipsticks that I hang onto.