While Serena Williams continues to inspire us with her athletic prowess on the court, the tennis champ is also giving us hope when it comes to the hot topic of body image.
The 5-foot-9-inch, 155-pound beauty is the official covergirl of Essence magazine's July 2013 "Body Issue," proving you don't have to be a size two to look fabulous in next to nothing. Donning a radiant smile and striking a pose in a blue ombré swimsuit by Carmen Marc Valvo, Serena exudes the type of confidence we can all aspire to.
In the issue, which she guest edited, the 31-year-old star dives into issues that range from self-esteem and aging to maintaining her health and embracing her famous curves. In fact, curvy women are having a major moment--much to Serena's (and our) delight.
"It can be a bit weird," she admits. "Before it was, 'Serena has a big butt,' and that was all," Serena told Essence. "Now there are way more people who feel comfortable with themselves and they're saying, 'I'm a woman, and this is what I look like.' I always say, 'We're popular now! We're finally in style!' "
Being on trend was the furthest thing from Serena's mind two years after suffering from a pulmonary embolism. However, she battled back to pick up a some titles, a few Olympic gold medals and reclaim her spot as the #1 female tennis player in the world.
And the way Serena sees it, she has no plans of slowing down.
“I feel lighter, I feel healthier, and even though I’m 31—which really isn’t old, but for an athlete, particularly a tennis player, it’s old—I promise you, my body has never felt better. Considering how much I’ve played and how much I’ve done, I feel fine. I’m strong..."
To read more of Serena's interview pick up Essence's "Body Issue," which hits newsstands June 7th. And make sure to take a look at the slideshow below for a few tips from Serena on her shopping strategy, her go-to hairstyle when working out and the exercises she recommends for non-athletes to get fit for bikini season.