Serena Williams

Serena Williams embodies style, power, beauty and courage. Like numerous A-list celebrities, Serena is recognized by the mere mention of her first name. Serena has overcome insurmountable odds to win 13 career Grand Slams, including 4 in a row in 2002, 2003, which became known as the “Serena Slam” . Serena‘s remarkable tennis skills have sky-rocketed her to fame, but only her unique charm and drive could explain her successful endeavors outside of tennis in film, television, fashion and philanthropy. Her tennis ability combined with her off-court activity makes her one of the most recognizable names and faces in the world – an icon.

Serena was born September 26, 1981 in Saginaw, Michigan, to Richard and Oracene Williams. While still an infant, the family moved to Compton, California where Serena began playing tennis at the age of four. At nine, Serena and her family moved to West Palm Beach, Florida. Since that time, she has become one of the most dominant figures in tennis.

Serena‘s most recent Grand Slam victory was at the 2010 Wimbledon Championships which followed her 2010 Australian Open crown. Serena also won the 2009 Wimbledon Championship and 2009 Australian Open. At the 2008 Olympics, Serena and her sister claimed the gold in Women’s Doubles.

Serena has won a title in all four Grand Slam tournaments for a total of 13. She has won 36 singles championships, 20 doubles championships, and was a Gold-Medalist at the 2000 and 2008 Olympics. In 2002, Serena won the Italian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open. On the heals of those 2002 accomplishments, Serena was named Associated Press “Female Athlete of the Year,” “Best Sportswoman in the World,” by EFE News Agency of Spain, one of BBC’s “Sports Personalities of the Year,” and nominated for the Sports Illustrated “Sportsman of the Year” Award. In 2003, she won the Australian Open, (singles & doubles), NASDAQ Open, French Indoors and Wimbledon. She also won two ESPY Awards: “Female Athlete of the Year,” and “Female Tennis Player of the Year.” Her 2005 Australian Open victory finals match earned ESPN2 their highest highest-rated and most-watched tennis telecast ever. After injuries forced her to compete in only 4 tournaments in 2006, Serena came back triumphantly winning the 2007 Australian Open and the Sony Ericsson Open, proving that she is still on top of the tennis world. However, she has always had other interests and set herself up for a career after tennis.

Off the court, fashion and acting are Serena‘s passions. She was selected as one of People Magazine’s “25 Most Intriguing People” (October 21, 2002) and one of the top 10 celebrities in Biography’s top 100 biographies of 2003. Serena was honored as one of Essence magazine’s “50 Most Inspiring African-Americans.” In 2005, Serena appeared with her sister in the reality show titled “Venus and Serena For Real.” The show, which had cameras follow Serena and Venus on and off the tennis courts, debuted on ABC Family to high ratings and good reviews. Serena‘s other acting credits include an appearance on the hit NBC Drama “ER”; the ABC sitcom, “My Wife and Kids”; a role as an ex-gangster on Showtime’s “Street Time”; and a leading role on an episode of Lifetime’s “The Division.” Serena has also lent her vocal talents to “The Simpsons” and Disney’s “Higgleytown Heroes.” She was also featured among 10 individuals named “Fashion Trendsetters” by Vogue Magazine on a VH1/Vogue Television Special. Serena has used her fashion savvy to create her own clothing label, Aneres, which has been featured in In Style Magazine.

Serena is deeply committed to philanthropic causes. She visits schools and hospitals, and conducts tennis clinics for at-risk youth. Over the past two years, Williams has helped to fund the construction of two schools in Africa. The Serena Williams Secondary School in Matooni, Kenya opened in 2008 and the Serena Williams Secondary School Wee Village opened in February 2010.

She has also worked with The Owl Foundation, helping to raise funds for programs that help individuals with learning disabilities. Its mission is to ensure that every child is treated individually and is provided with the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. Some of the other organizations that Serena supports include: the S.E. Tennis and Learning Center, in Washington, D.C.; the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund; Race for the Homeless, Stop the Violence, the Special Olympics, and the Arthur Ashe Foundation.

Serena splits her time between Palm Beach, Florida and Westwood, California with her Jack Russell terrier, Jackie.