Is it ok to be a woman in sports and to own and be proud of your sexuality?! This debate has gone on forever and will go on forever. In particular in the world of tennis where the women of the sport are generally more recognized than most other women's sports.
Anna Kournikova, probably one of the most recognized female tennis player names, never won a grand slam, rarely won tournaments, rarely even made it to the finals . . .yet her career was more lucrative than most. She was a media darling who attained numerous commercial endorsements, graced the covers of multiple magazines, among countless other modeling and entertainment jobs that flew her way.
Eugenie Bouchard - although maybe a bit more impressive on the court than Kournikova, media wise has walked down a very similar path.
Both women have met a great deal of criticism. Fault of their loses, or dips in their games, being entirely placed on their appearances and taking advantage of the opportunities that have/had fallen in their laps as a result. And Bouchard, the Millennial of the two, being given a constant dose of comments in regards to how she portrays herself on social media . . .a bit too sexayyy for some. But IS she being too sexy? Or is she just being herself? If she wasn't so physically attractive, would there be so much commotion?
If these women weren't so "media friendly" though, do we really know if anything on the court for them would have been/be different???
Serena Williams - close to the stark opposite of these two. One of the most athletically gifted women to hit the tour, but often criticized about her physical appearance . .to the point of even being called "manly."
Physical appearance for women in tennis is a constant topic of conversation. I mean, how could we forget now infamous ex CEO and Indian Wells Tournament Director Raymond Moore's comments:
"the WTA have a handful of very attractive prospects... You know, Garbine Muguruza, Genie Bouchard. They have a lot of very attractive players. . . .They are physically attractive and competitively attractive."
I don't remember the last time a tournament director played "Hot or Not" about the men's tour . . .just sayinnnn.
Every now and then we may hear about how Rafael Nadal's shorts have gotten shorter over time LOL. But we get a laugh, don't send jabs.
Why is it such a hot topic?! If one woman is lucky enough to be blessed with attributes that attract the media, what’s the problem?! And if another woman exudes more physicality than the "norm" defined by society, again, what’s the problem?!
The photo shoot documented by this fun video was inspired by my good friend Marshall Faulk, who also directed the shoot, and this constant inquisition us ladies are subjected to. . .especially in tennis.
Marshall and I had a debate before an event I was covering last year. I chose an understated tennis outfit to wear under the pretense of wanting to "blend in", concerned about judgement if I did not. Marshall, knowing me very well, said "that outfit is not you!" I rolled my eyes and insisted that he just didn't understand because coming from the NFL world where women are "allowed to be sexier", he just couldn't relate with the more conservative nature of the tennis world. This debate carried on for a few weeks until I handed over the reigns to my-long time compadre.
Stiletto's on the tennis court . . .?! Not really something you see every day. But that’s the point. Who cares?! Be you, have fun, be free, don't restrict yourself, don't conform . . .own who you are!! And ya know what, I love tennis, and I love a sexy pair of heels, and I HATE just "blending in"! I'm loud, I'm goofy, I'm athletic, I'm smart, I'm confident, I'm tomboyish yet feminine, I can sometimes have the mouth of a sailor, but I am who I am, love me or hate me. I'm good with me, and that’s what matter's ;) I will do my best to never walk into a room again with the mindset of needing to "blend in".. . .and I'm disappointed in my self that the thought "women are allowed to be sexier in football" even ran through my mind!!! I will do my best to always stay true to myself and who I am. So Anna, Genie, Serena, and every other woman out there . . .BE YOU BOO'S!! Hater's gonna hate. Know that person and BE that person, and you'll always prove them wrong.
Marshall says it best, "go ahead and be sexy, be brash, have some bravado about who you are and what you are" . . . .
Game. Set. Match. Marshall.
Whatever "sexy" means to you . . .STAY SEXY MY FRIENDS! And tune in here to one of my favorite ever TALK TENNIS shoots!