All Articles Tagged "serena williams"

Midday Motivation: Serena Williams Turns Loss Into A Lesson Learned

January 31st, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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“Every time I walk in this room I’m expected to win. I’m not a robot,” Serena Williams said after losing the Australian Open final to Angelique Kerber on Saturday (Jan. 30). “I do the best that I can. I try to win every point but realistically I can’t. Maybe someone else can.”

While the world sees the 34-year-old tennis pro as an athlete that cannot be defeated, Williams sentiments are actually far from what others project. Simply, she’s tired of everyone assuming she’s perfect just because she’s ranked No. 1 player in the world.

“Think I did the best I could today. Would I give my performance an A? No. But this is all I could produce today,” the 21-time Grand Slam champion said during the press conference.

Williams — like all of us — is human and has faced defeat in life at some point or have felt the pressure to live up to the expectations of others. However, it’s quite refreshing to see that she was confident enough to speak her truth and set the record straight, even speaking highly of Kerber and congratulating her on her win.

“She played so well today. She had an attitude that I think a lot of people can learn from: just to always stay positive and to never give up,” Serena said.

“I was missing a lot off the ground, and coming to the net. She kept hitting some great shots actually, every time I came in,” she detailed. “And I think I kept picking the wrong shots coming into it, but honestly, it’s something to learn from and just try to get better.”

Now while our lives aren’t focused on a game of tennis, life’s trials and tribulations are enough of a whirlwind to take Williams’ advice and understand that the silver lining in a loss is ultimately the lesson learned.

As always, we love to hear from you. Share in the comments below one time you endured a loss and the lesson you learned in return.

Pop Mom: Is Serena Williams Doing Too Much?

December 28th, 2015 - By Erickka Sy Savane
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New York Magazine

New York Magazine

Let me start out by saying that I LOVE Serena Williams. It was Venus and Serena that brought me to the sport of tennis and it’s Serena who has kept me there. When she wins my day is better, and when she loses I’m as crushed as if I’d been on the court myself. She reminds me time and time again that winning takes heart. She’s an icon.

But lately, I’ve been confused by some of her choices. Starting with the provocative Sports Illustrated cover, to the negligee she wore to pick up her Sportsperson of the Year Award, to this photo on instagram that almost broke the internet.

I half expect to see her in a Drake video for “Hotline Bling 2.” And don’t get me wrong, Serena has always been fashionable, but why is she selling sex now?

Have a good day

A photo posted by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on

I can’t help wondering if it has something to do with Drake. Is she trying to prove that her ass is better than any woman he can put in his music video? Come on, Serena. Or perhaps she’s addressing the idiots who say that she’s not feminine enough. Nothing says ‘I am woman’ like walking around in your lingerie. Is she trying to keep up with pal Kim Kardashian? How far is she willing to go? It’s like watching Michelle Obama join one of those Real Housewives shows — somebody do something!

Maybe I can write her an open letter, to just ask her to calm down. I reach out to my editor and though she tells me to go ahead and write it, she kinda sounds like she’s defending her, “Sometimes people just feel the need to flaunt it,” she says. I’m kinda taken aback.

I get started on the letter right away, reaching out to a few people to get a second and third opinion, asking each one how they feel about the new, more exposed Serena. “Her body is a sculpture to display. She should display it proudly and in taste,” says the first person I reach out to. Okay… but he’s a guy so maybe that’s expected. What I didn’t expect was the reaction of the women. “She should be able to flaunt it. Black women, generally, are built differently and we shouldn’t be ashamed because we don’t fall into European ideology,” and “I see a confident, sexy woman who is still young and strong!” My best friend found her Instagram photo elegant and couldn’t say enough about the structure of her legs.

I step away from the computer because I’m having one of those moments where I realize that I’m in the middle of the ocean all by myself. Where did everybody go? I still feel strongly about my view, but what might I be missing?

I keep digging.

Okay, I have to acknowledge that I may not be the best person to speak about ass culture. In a world where women are being idolized for their voluptuous backsides, I’m the woman with the flat booty, on the outside looking in. It may be one of the reasons I’ve rejected the culture, but still, it does objectify women, so I’m not crazy.

When it comes to Serena, one of the reasons I admire her so is because she became one of the best tennis players in the world, in history, and it was always about the talent, the fitness, the sport. Even when she wore the infamous cat suit to the US Open, and we saw every magnificent curve, it was just her body, I never felt like she was selling sex. And she could have easily gone the Anna Kournakova route. I guess I feel let down.  

The more I think about it, I’ve been here before. It reminds me of when I got mad at Prince when he stopped writing explicit lyrics and refused to sing his old songs, and when the Beastie Boys shifted from hip hop to rock after Licensed To Ill, and I’m still upset that Heidi Klum and Seal didn’t make it. I guess I don’t deal well with change. But I can’t hold Serena hostage. A sister has to live.

Do I really know what’s best for her anyway? What if she’s doing this because stirring up controversy leads to more endorsements? Even if this is her answer to the body shamers, who am I do judge how she chooses to fight? Or maybe she’s just feeling good about herself. At the end of the day, it’s her life, her body, her choice. I may not understand or agree with all of her choices, but she’s still a helluva role model for me and my two girls. That said, I’m going to continue rooting for her on, and off, the court.

Check out Erickka Sy Savané’s column, Pop Mom, right here on Madamenoire. Before Erickka became a writer/editor, she was a model, actress, and MTV VJ. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Jersey City. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.


15 Times Serena Williams Proved Strong Is Beautiful In 2015

December 21st, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Source: AP Images

Source: AP Images

Serena Willilams’s haters may not understand that strong is beautiful, but Sports Illustrated’s 2015 Sportsperson of the Year keeps proving it. From the red carpet to the court, check out how Serena Williams redefined tired beauty standards in 2015.

“I’m Happy To Be A Part Of This New Movement” Serena Williams, Sportsperson Of The Year, Talks Black Activism

December 14th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Serena Williams, Sportsperson Of The Year, Talks Black Activism

Source: Yu Tsai for Sports Illustrated


It’s not everyday that you see athletes, at the top of their game, speak out about issues of racism and injustice in this country. With endorsement deals, the court of public opinion and the threat of being disliked or even banned from certain circles of influence, it can be a risk. But Serena Williams is not your average athlete. Not only is she a champion on the tennis courts, she exercises that same spirit in the personal decisions she makes that just might impact her career.

But Serena Williams has proved a very important point. That speaking up for what you know is right and just, doesn’t have to be detrimental to your career. Not only was Williams a force to be reckoned with on the court, she received $74 million in prize money and another $13 million in endorsements. And today, Sports Illustrated named her Sportsperson of the Year, a very well-deserved title.

The comment section over at Sports Illustrated is already erupting with debate about whether or not the honor should have been bestowed upon Williams but as SI puts it,

“Williams, 34, won three major titles, went 53–3 and provided at least one new measure of her tyrannical three-year reign at No. 1. For six weeks this summer—and for the first time in the 40-year history of the WTA rankings—Williams amassed twice as many ranking points as the world No. 2; at one point that gap grew larger than the one between No. 2 and No. 1,000. Williams’s 21 career Grand Slam singles titles are just one short of Steffi Graf’s Open-era record. Such numbers are reason enough for Sports Illustrated to name Serena Williams its 2015 Sportsperson of the Year.”

But as a Black woman concerned with the lives and plight of Black people in this country and aboard, her accomplishments become even more impressive when you consider Williams’ activism. And yes, speaking out in such a position of power and influence is indeed activism. You may also remember both Williams sisters boycotted the Hilton Head tournament in South Carolina back in 2000, because the state refused to remove the Confederate flag from the state capitol building.

Even in the arena of elite athletes, Williams has experienced racism.

At the Indian Wells tour stop, in 2001 when Serena was just 19-years-old, Williams received vicious boos. Her father Richard Williams and sister Venus, claimed they heard racial slurs. SI reports:

“Boos changed to cheers whenever she double-faulted or made an error, but they returned when she beat Clijsters and grew thunderous when she left the court to hug her sister and dad. She would write in her 2009 autobiography, On the Line, that she, too, “heard the word, nigger, a couple times.”

No outside source confirmed hearing such language. Nor did anyone from the tournament make any mollifying announcement. “No one said anything,” Oracene says. “They were just letting it go on, almost like, She deserved this.”

“As a family we were all hurt,” says Isha. “It stayed with us a long time. Our parents have always been very clear about who we are in terms of the country, but to have evidence of that? It was a disillusionment, the end of any innocence that we had about the world we lived in.”

Williams rode the two hours home in tears and she begged her parents not to make her play the Indian Wells tournament again.

But after 13 years and seeing a Nelson Mandela film, Williams was beginning to change her mind. She almost played in 2014 but consulted her family first about a return in 2015. She wrote three drafts of a Time essay. She took one to her father and choked up trying to read it aloud. She just handed it over for him to read.

Though Richard and Venus were not ready to return to Indian Wells, her father told her it would be a mistake not to return.

Her mother, Oracene said, “I wouldn’t have gone back. Not because I didn’t forgive them-because of my own integrity. If they didn’t think I deserve to be there? Then I don’t need to be there.”

As for Serena herself, the decision was spiritual.

“I was brought up to forgive people and I felt that I wasn’t doing what I was taught.”

Her mother, who says she’s seen growth in her daughter, said this was a big step for her.

“To learn to forgive: She has a problem with that. It’s a big step for her. Because she’s the kind of person who would get revenge on you– and it was never going to end.”

Serena Williams, Sportsperson Of The Year, Talks Black Activism

There was also another factor.

On August 9, 2014 Michael Brown was shot six times and killed by officer Darren Wilson. Then his body lay in the street for four hours. Then in November of that year, the grand jury voted not to indict Wilson.

Williams tweeted: “Shameful. What will it take???”

Brown’s age meant something to her.

“I had been a teenager at Indian Wells, and that was hard for me to go through—especially when I was thinking, It’s 2001, I [shouldn’t] have to deal with that stuff as much anymore,” she says. “Now fast-forward to 2015, and we still have young black men being killed. Someone needed to do something. And I thought then that there was something greater than me and tennis. I needed to go back there and speak out against racism.”

In her early 20’s she described an incident where a gas station clerk refused to touch her.

“He didn’t want to touch my hand. He told me to put the money down. I found it fascinating that it’s 2000-something and this guy had that attitude toward a black person. I wanted to do things, like, touch this or that, just to see what his reaction would be. I’m almost glad I had that experience, so I can understand more what people have to go through.”

Then in 2006, when she traveled to Ghana and toured the country’s slave castles, inequality and racism became even harder to ignore. Since then, she’s visited the continent often. She financed two high schools in rural Kenya, in an area where many girls drop out by 14-years-old to marry. Williams insisted that the enrollment be at least 40 percent. Of the 442 students, 54 percent are girls.

After viewing a TED Talk by Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative- a Alabama legal organization that provides representation for prisoners, mostly Black and poor, who have been wrongfully convicted– Williams decided to coincide her return to Indian Wells with her partnership with EJI. No prominent athlete had ever endorsed them before. Offering up a hitting session, a souvenir racket and court side tickets to her first match, Williams raised $100,000 for the organization. The publicity generated another $100,000 in contributions.

Stevenson naturally praised Williams for her involvement.

“It’s been huge. It’s so rare when athletes at the top of their game are willing to embrace a set of issues that, for a lot of people, are edgier. This is not aid to orphans. These are questions of racial bias and discrimination, mass incarceration, excessive punishment, abuse of the mentally ill. You don’t change the world by doing what’s comfortable or convenient. You have to be willing to do uncomfortable things. In a small way, Serena’s return to Indian Wells represented that. But associating herself with an organization like ours was more significant: She was standing when a lot of her contemporaries remain seated, speaking up when others are being quiet. That’s an act of hope and an act of courage, but it’s also an act of change.”

And though Williams thought she was fully prepared to return to Indian Wells, as the date approached, she was anything but ready. Two days before she was set to play, she had a panic attack in her bedroom. Serena thought, “I do not want to go there. What if it’s horrible? What if they boo again? How can I get out of this?”

Her sister Isha was all for her retracting her offer. She didn’t want her sister vulnerable and exposed.

Eventually, she pulled herself together and attended with her sisters Isha and Lyndrea and her mother Oracene.

She arrived to a standing ovation.

At first Oracene was wary, wondering, Why are they being so nice? But Serena’s turn to conciliation made her mother take stock. “She needed that, and I learned that I need a bit of that, too,” Oracene says. Isha started crying. When Serena pulled off her headphones before the warmup and heard the cheers, she cried too.

Serena Williams, Sportsperson Of The Year, Talks Black Activism

Source: Yu Tsai for Sports Illustrated

Serena talked about the moment being an iconic one in her career.

“Everyone always asked, ‘What was your greatest moment in tennis?’ and I always said it hasn’t happened,” Serena says. “But I think it has happened now, and that was going back to Indian Wells and playing. It released a lot of feelings that I didn’t even know I had. I was really surprised at how emotional I got—and how relieved I felt after everything was said and done.”

But we all read the headlines. We know the racist incidents didn’t stop after Serena returned to Indian Wells. Many unarmed Black men were killed at the hands of police. Then nine Black people attending Bible study were shot and killed in a Charleston, South Carolina church.

In September, she enrolled in an online history of civil rights class at the University of Massachusetts.

“I was disappointed in how little I knew compared to how much I thought I knew.”

Like many of us, Williams’ parents, who are old enough to remember the country, in the midst of the Civil Rights struggle, tried to warn their daughters of the racial changes they’d face. Their mother, Oracene told them that they would never be fully accepted by Whites. The Williams sisters bristled.

“They used to say, ‘You’re racist!’ ” Oracene says. “And I’d say, ‘I’m not. I just want you to be aware.’

In October, Williams guest-edited Wired magazine. In her piece, she wrote: “To those of you involved in equality movements like Black Lives Matter,” she wrote, “I say this: Keep it up. Don’t let those trolls stop you.”

In a question and answer session at the University of Pennsylvania, Williams told students she was inspired by the examples set by Black activists in the ’60’s.

“I’ve been a little more vocal,” Williams said, “but I want to do more. I want to help everyone to see the so-called light. But there are a lot of other athletes, actors, politicians who are speaking out—of all colors, by the way. They’re not sitting back. They’re calling for justice straight away. It makes me look at myself and say, like, What am I doing? I have a platform. I can speak out, too. If one person hears me, maybe that person can speak out and help. I embrace that. I’m willing and happy to be part of this new movement.”

You can read Williams’ full interview over at Sports Illustrated now.

ESPNW & Marvel Has Made Our Favorite Women Athletes & Influencers Into Superheroes

December 12th, 2015 - By Ashley Monaé
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ESPN/Jamal Campbell

ESPN/Jamal Campbell

With 2015 coming to a close, publications and media websites alike are preparing major lists to honor some of the most deserving and hardworking individuals that showed and proved to be ultimate powerhouses in the past 12 months.

Included in those outlets is espnW — the home for women who love sports, featuring tips for athletes, community of female fans, and the latest women’s sports updates — with their IMPACT25. This year, the women sports-driven site joined forces with Marvel to highlight honorees like Serena Williams, Misty Copeland,  Carli Lloyd, Lydia Ko, Ronda Rousey and more by creating them into superhero versions of their already larger than life achievements.

Continue scrolling to check out a few of their illustrious IMPACT25 and their superhero transformations.


espnW dubbed superstar pro tennis player, Serena Williams, the “Super Galactic Slam” for her 53-3 match record his year, making her one of the most dominant tennis players this year.


U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch was recognized as an influencer and the “FIFA Slayer” for her relentless work ethic regarding this year’s corruption investigations.


“The Principal” is a fitting title for Misty Copeland after the American Ballet Theatre promoted her to principal dancer, a position that had never been held by an African-American woman in the company’s 75 years.

See more of the amazing women honored in espnW’s IMPACT 25 here.

What Happens When You Try To Steal Serena Williams’ Phone?

November 5th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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serena williams

Source: Facebook

Don’t let the ad campaigns, red carpet appearances and tennis titles fool you, not only is Serena Williams an athlete, she’s from Compton. In other words, she does not play. Apparently though, one man didn’t get the memo and attempted to steal her cell phone.

Needless to say, his plot didn’t go as planned.

Yesterday, Serena posted a picture of herself in a Superwoman costume and recounted the story.

serena williams

Source: Facebook

This dude messed with the wrong one. Homegirl was hoping over chairs and all! I’m actually surprised she handled it so well once she caught up to him. Some of us might have had a few more choice words. And on another note, Serena’s a pretty good storyteller. Have you ever known someone was up to no good and followed your instincts?

You can watch video of the incident below.

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Relax, Drake And Serena Williams Are Not Engaged

October 8th, 2015 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Drake and Serena Williams


The Internet went crazy earlier today after rumors implied that Drake and Serena Williams will be tying the knot soon. According to an OK! Magazine source claiming to have the tea on said proposal, Drake flew Williams into his hometown and asked her to be his wife.

“Right now they’re happy with just being happy,” the source told the tabloid. “She said yes, but they want to keep it on the down-low for now.”

A spokesperson for Drake quickly dispelled the rumors Thursday afternoon in a statement to TMZ.

“The rumor is completely untrue,” said the rapper’s representative.

While we would love to see Drake and Serena get married and have a bunch of babies, we don’t want them to rush into anything prematurely. We all know how quickly those situations can go left.

Gym Baes: 10 Inspiring Women of Color Who Are Pretty Strong

October 5th, 2015 - By Anslem Samuel Rocque
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The cast of Oxygen's "Pretty. Strong." flex their stuff in the locker room (Source: Courtesy of Oxygen Network)

The cast of Oxygen’s “Pretty. Strong.” flex their stuff in the locker room (Source: Courtesy of Oxygen Network)

Whoever said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder must have forgot that when it comes to a woman’s body, hers is the only opinion that matters. Too bad most people didn’t get the memo.

Be it mainstream media, men in general or sometimes even other women, everyone seems to have a view on the female form that they just have to share. That scrutiny increases tenfold when talking about the bodies of black women. From the inhumane objectification of Saartjie Baartman (better known as Hottentot Venus) during the 19th century to Serena Williams recently being labeled too “masculine” by an opposing tennis coach, it seems as if women of color are constantly being picked apart for simply being in their own skin.

Thankfully, there are countless sisters who refuse to be judged or defined by the opinions of others and own who they are both inside and out. These are the women who prove that there is not one standard of beauty, but several that includes all shapes, sizes and colors. Check out our picks for physically fit and fiercely feminine queens who redefine what it means to be pretty strong.

Looking for more fitness muses? Tune in to Oxygen’s new reality series “Pretty. Strong.,” which premieres tomorrow, October 6th at 10/9c.

Who Really Cares What Candy Carson Is Wearing?

September 29th, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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good morning! Man the Internet has no chill! lmaoo #goodmorning #directv #comcast #cable #obama #barackobama #bencarson

A photo posted by 📷 Its The Doc 📷 (@doc_vs_jacques) on


While briefly perusing social media this past weekend, I ran across a meme with a side-by-side image of President Obama and Michelle at the China State Dinner at the White House on Friday. Next to them, there was a picture of Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson and his wife, Candy. The caption for the meme? A parody of the hilarious “Don’t be like ___ me” DirecTV commercials:

“Hi, I’m President Barack Obama, and I have DirecTV.”

And in contrast:

“Hi, I’m presidential candidate Ben Carson, and I have cable.”

To me, I thought the images were put together to show off how awesome (and fly) our president and the First Lady are in comparison to the controversial and swag-deprived Carson and his wife. But as I would find out this morning, the meme was created to poke fun at the looks of Carson’s wife. While Michelle looked radiant in one photo with her sickening side-swept hair and curve-hugging gown, Candy looked very tame, like she on the way to parent-teacher conferences. She waved to supporters in a photo from Ben’s presidential run announcement rally, hair pulled back, rocking a fluted polka-dot skirt with a large red belt, glasses, and a blazer. Despite the latter image being old (it’s from May), people on social media still had a field day over it this past weekend, cracking jokes about Candy’s style and overall appearance. Despite her husband’s decision to be in the spotlight and make controversial comments that have garnered the accomplished doctor many detractors, it was Candy who was receiving all the criticism this time around. Not cool, guys. Not cool.

In a piece for The Root, Demetria Lucas D’Oyley defended Candy from her critics, stating that Ben chose to be in the spotlight, not her. Therefore, the attacks on her appearance are uncalled for. However, Lucas D’Oyley also criticized Candy’s fashion sense in the same breath. She even stated that Candy’s Seventh-Day Adventist faith isn’t a good excuse for her style missteps. According to the author, “religion and modesty are not synonymous with ill-fitting and unflattering and out-of-date” clothing.

Are there sexist and, in this case, racist underpinnings that make appearance matter more in certain circumstances? Absolutely. But until those “isms” are dismantled, women absolutely need to look as if they at least tried, especially when they’re up for a role they really want.

I won’t drag Candy Carson. I’m sure she is a lovely woman, and she has endured her husband’s politics for 40-plus years. But I will say that I can’t help noticing that as a presidential candidate, Ben Carson always shows up looking like the position he wants to have. I want the Mrs. to look the same.

And I can somewhat get where Lucas D’Oyley is coming from. Appearance matters in most realms of life. When you interview for a job, you can’t walk into an office looking like a Love and Hip Hop hopeful. And when you’re going to be in front of the camera every day, you don’t want to have a look that distracts people. But when these type of issues arise in the news (or via social media), I’m often left thinking to myself, My goodness…we focus on the wrong things. 

We’re focused more on Candy’s looks than we are her husband’s politics. Just like we were way too focused on Gabby Douglas’s hair when she was flipping for gold at the 2012 Olympics in London. Just like people continue to focus too much on Serena Williams’s muscles, and when they’re not, they’re wondering when she’s going to move on to another hairstyle. And just like the time social media put Pam Oliver’s looks on front street. Leaving some to wonder if the controversy over her wigs was one of the reasons she was demoted from her position at Fox Sports and replaced with Erin Andrews. Despite the more important reasons why we were seeing these women on our TV screens, and their great accomplishments that we could have been celebrating, we were talking about surface beauty standards and what we “want,” as Lucas D’Oyley said, these ladies to look like.

I get it. We’ve all looked at someone’s ensemble or hair choice when they’re on the main stage and thought, yikes! But there’s a difference between thinking something and deciding to make a mockery of someone on social media. This is especially troubling considering that the same criticisms are never lobbed at the husbands of famous women. They’re not expected to look like more than any other guy in a simple suit. And yet, Candy, who is well into her 60s and hasn’t been in the spotlight very often, is expected to step out looking like a million bucks. What exactly was she supposed to put on in this stage of her life that would have pleased folks? Was it the ponytail that turned you off? The skirt? The glasses? Does her ensemble make you trust Ben any less?

Yeah. Get over yourself.

And, honestly, as amazing as Michelle Obama looks in this meme, that’s not how she appeared when President Obama announced his initial run for president. I’m from Chicago’s Southland, and I remember old-school Michelle. The days when President Obama was just running for Senate, and Michelle didn’t look nearly as polished as she does now. But with time, the right stylists, and some fabulous hair and makeup artists at her beck and call in the White House, Michelle has become a fashion icon. But like Candy, she didn’t start that way. It took a while for her to ditch the flip curl, sharp eyebrows, and bell-sleeve ensembles. But once she did, va-va voom!

Look, I’m not trying to say that people don’t need to look like they love themselves when they step out of the house, but I think we’re way too hard on way too many women, Black women especially, when it comes to how they choose to present themselves to the world, as the women they really are (not as if they’re stepping out on the red carpet). And considering that in the meme, Ben is holding Candy’s hand, looking happier than a kid in a candy store next to his wife of 40 years, does anything else really matter?

Runs In The Family: Celebrity Siblings Who Have The Same Job

September 17th, 2015 - By Danielle Young
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"Venus and Serena Williams pf"


It’s a beautiful thing to watch celebrity siblings who share in the same careers celebrate one another’s wins.

It took at least five minutes for the giant goosebumps on my arms to flatten after watching the superstar tennis sister duo, Venus and Serena Williams compete in the U.S. Open at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. And when the cameras caught the moment Venus embraced her little sister at the net and whispered, “So happy for you,” all the tears, all the feels.

“Obviously we are very, very tough competitors on the court,” Serena said later, “but once the match is over, the second it’s done, you know, we’re sisters, we’re roommates and we’re all that.”

Venus and Serena are not the only celebrity siblings who “compete” within the same field. Check out this list of our fave famous sisters and brothers who work in the same industry.