Venus Williams: Inspiring, Creative & Commanding
Being a professional tennis player is not an easy task and you hardly stop, but Venus Williams, former World No. 1 player in the world and seven-time Grand Slam winner, took time to chat with Miami Living’s publisher Markin Abras about living in Florida, her professional ambitions and tennis.
Originally from Compton, California Venus, along with her sister Serena moved to West Palm Beach, Florida to train and develop their tennis career.
Interview by Markin Abras, Images by Joseph Blasius Erlinger
Markin Abras: What made you stay and reside in Florida all these years?
Venus Williams: Like most people, I love great weather. Florida is a great place to live because I can exercise and play tennis outdoors any time of the year. I also enjoy the shopping and the climate of Florida. I like being outside and doing as much outdoor activity as I can.
MA: Serena also lives in Palm Beach Gardens. Does your proximity to her gives you any advantages on and off the tennis court?
VW: We aren’t home much because we are on the road most of the year. But when we do have down time and are home, living in the same city makes it easy to spend some time together.
MA: For our Miami Living readers, what drives you to visit Miami?
VW: I love karaoke and some of my favorite karaoke spots are in Miami!
Unlike most other active tennis players, Venus invested time in launching non-tennis related businesses. Venus is the CEO of design firm V Start Interiors and in 2007 launched her own fashion line, EleVen.
MA: Besides tennis and karaoke, you have dedicated time to become an entrepreneur. What sparked your journey to explore creative businesses?
VW: I have always enjoyed being creative, and traveling the world exposes me to so many interesting things. I explore through my travels. I am always interested in growth.
MA: How involved are you in the design and development of EleVen? Specifically what areas of the business you participate the most in (design, approval, marketing, management, etc)?
VW: I have a great team of people who work with me, but I am involved in all aspects of the creative and business process. MA: Any challenges we should know about?
VW: I have so many ideas and narrowing down to a few can be most challenging. MA: And how often do you release a new collection?
VW: Typically, we release a new collection to coincide with each new season.
MA: Your mission at EleVen is to get people moving, healthy and feeling good about how they look and feel. Has this mission transcended beyond your fashion work?
VW: Absolutely. The mission from EleVen transcends into how I live my life.
HEALTH & FITNESS
In 2011, Williams announced to the world she had Sjögren's syndrome. This autoimmune disease is not only difficult to diagnose, it is incurable. Despite the bad news, Venus took her business mission to heart and applied some personal healthy choices.
VW: Since changing my diet, I feel much better and have more energy. I also find that my skin and hair are healthier.
I have fresh juice or a smoothie everyday. I have many favorites and they are all at Jamba Juice. I especially enjoy the fresh squeezed juices.
MA: And do you ever have any cravings for meat?
VW: Ohhh yes, I love a good burger and crave meat all the time!
GOLDEN TENNIS CAREER
Venus Williams became the first black American tennis player to reach World’s No. 1 ranking in 2002 with her powerful and athletic-style. Her impressive seven Grand Slam singles titles ties her twelfth on the all-time list, plus Venus holds four Olympic gold medals, one in singles and three in women's doubles with her sister Serena.
MA: You have an astonishing list of accomplishments. Are there any special ones that stand apart?
VW: All of my accomplishments are important to me. Its really hard to pick just one.
MA: If you can’t just pick one, do you ever stop and reflect about your overall accomplishments?
VW: If I find myself reflecting, its usually about how I am truly grateful to have lived my life doing what I love to do and being able to travel the world doing it.
MA: And what can you share about difficult moments such as watching your sister Serena lose at the US Open?
VW: Whether we win or lose, we always keep each other motivated. Losing is what makes you work harder.
Whenever you are interested in learning more about Venus, including her latest collection, inspirations and updates, check out her websites:
Eleven by Venus: elevenbyvenuswilliams.com