At the tender age of 14, Venus Williams had already become a professional athlete, taking the world of tennis by storm. Fiercely determined and wielding an impressive physical prowess, she spent the next decade rising to the top-ranked position and winning numerous championships, including the U.S. Open, Wimbledon and doubles at the Australian Open and French Open in addition to three Olympic Gold medals.
In September 2009, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) honored Venus with the Americanism Award for publicly speaking up for tennis player Shahar Pe’er who was denied a visa from participating in the Dubai tennis tournament. In accepting her award, Venus spoke of the importance of treating all people equally and speaking out against injustice. A true believer of equal rights, Venus became the first to be named “UNESCO Promoter of Gender Equality.” Venus Williams states, “Through my partnership with UNESCO, my goal is to let women and girls throughout the world know that there are no glass ceilings, and to do my part to support programs that provide real opportunities for women to succeed in whatever they set their minds to.”
The transformation from tennis’ force majeure to savvy businesswoman didn’t happen overnight. It had been brewing all along, instilled in her early by her parents and embraced by the bright youngster. “Tennis doesn’t define me,” she states defiantly. “My parents taught me to be really well-rounded and to be more than just an athlete.” So, while winning countless matches across the globe and becoming an icon for youth and women everywhere, she took note of changing styles for both interior design and fashion.
“In my late teens, I realized that I love design and it was something that I wanted to pursue,” says Venus. True to her bold spirit, she simply enrolled in fashion design school while off-tour. She followed her dreams and recently earned a degree in Fashion Design from The Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale and continues her education to receive a Masters in Interior Design shortly.
With all her design interests, Venus devotes considerable energy to hands-on involvement in the design process, creating interiors that are youthful, but decidedly non-trendy. “The key to it all is coming out and giving my input. I make sure that I stay on top of things so they’re real sassy, with lots of color and more daring details. My personality is going into the design,” notes Venus, “so it’s also pushing the envelope because, when it comes to style or design, once things are in style, I absolutely don’t want them!”
Laughing delightfully at this proud admission of self-expression, she adds, “I don’t like mainstream. I want to be ahead of the curve. I don’t like to be the same as everybody.” There’s little chance of that happening: “I get bored really easily,” she admits, “so I’m constantly finding new things. I should probably slow down…but I can’t.”
EDUCATION & QUALIFICATIONS
B.A. Interior Design – Art Institute Online, Pittsburg Current
B.A. Business Administration – Indiana University 2016
A.A. Fashion Design – Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale 2007
Professional Tennis Player | WTA Tour 1994 – Present
Eleven by Venus Williams | Owner 2007 – Present
Wilson’s Leather | Designer 2000-2003
Diane Von Furstenberg for Reebok | Tennis Dress Designer 2000-2003
WTA Player Council Top Player Representative | 1998 – Present
2019 Hospitality Design Wave of the Future
2018 HD Gold Key Finalist Best Suite
2018 NEWH Gold Palm Best Guest Room
2018 NEWH Gold Palm Best Spa & Wellness