Activist, tennis champion, mother, entrepreneur and avid traveller are just a few of the many hats Serena Williams wears on a daily basis. Now, the 38-year-old sportswoman is adding another to her list, designing an exclusive collaboration with cult lifestyle brand, Away.
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While in Australia, and coinciding with the launch of her collab, marie claire Australia spoke to Williams about her dedication to helping Australian wildlife, how she manages her busy work schedule with motherhood and what she uses to stay sane while travelling.
On staying motivated, Williams says: "I think what helps me most is maintaining perspective—I’m often wearing many hats and trying to maintain balance between my roles, but I ultimately know that I’m lucky to be in the position I’m in. I try not to look at anything I do as something that’s demanding my time or forcing me to make sacrifices. I’m pursuing my passions while being a mum, and I hope I can inspire other working parents (and my daughter someday as well!) to also have the courage to explore the things that bring them joy."
Williams, on top of everything else, is also no stranger to making a bold fashion statement. At the 2020 Australian Open, fans noticed the tennis star's manicure paid tribute to koalas affected by the ongoing bushfires. "I have been playing in Australia for over 20 years and have been able to experience first-hand how special this country and its people are," Williams said of the decision to pay tribute. "Upon seeing the catastrophic impact on the environment and community, it was an easy decision to support relief efforts in any way I could. Having one of my nails painted with a koala design was a small but personal reminder of the millions of animals who have been killed or harmed, the acres of land that have been lost and the homes in Australia that have been destroyed during the bushfire crisis."
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When she’s not on the court, Williams is constantly jet-setting for tennis, business, and pleasure — so it was only a matter of time before she partnered up with the world's most coveted luggage brand. The limited-edition line of luggage and travel accessories reflect Williams' fiery spirit, customising the brand's signature pieces with a vibrant cherry red exterior and multi-coloured camo print interior.
Even she isn't immune to travel woes, though. So over the years, she's figured out tricks to help her stay on track while travelling: "I try to keep to a routine as much as possible in order to help me feel grounded," she says. "I make sure to get rest on long flights and I find drinking extra water and eating healthy snacks helps me maintain my energy and stay healthy and sane.
"I also always travel with my Moana blanket and a small stuffed monkey named Max, which remind me of home."
Williams adds, "Travel is a huge part of my life, and I’ve always been a fan of Away. I’m also passionate about design and style, so creating my own travel collection has been something I’ve wanted to do for ages. Away stood out as the perfect brand for me to partner with and help bring my ideas to life in a thoughtful way.
"The design process was very collaborative. It was important to me that I was able to bring my aesthetic and perspective to the partnership and that the product we created reflected my personal style. The Away team understood my vision and encouraged me to include the design elements that were important to me, specifically the camo print we chose for the interior, coupled with a bold red exterior. Their expertise and guidance allowed us to introduce a perfect collection for travellers."
The Away x Serena collab is limited edition, meaning that once it’s gone, it won’t be back. So grab one of the ruby red suitcases while you can.