Serena Williams reveals that her photo shoot for the 2017 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue offered her an introduction to thong bikinis.
Williams takes us behind the scenes of her radiant Turks and Caicos shoot in a video issued by the magazine. The tennis pro speaks candidly about her experience stepping in front of the lens, noting that her first swimsuit option was a strong confidence boost.
“I’ve never worn a thong bikini, so for that to be my first shot was like a shot of espresso for me because I had to wake up immediately,” Williams says in the video below. “The thong is perfect, it really made me feel comfortable. I’m officially a thong girl now!”
Though learning about the joys of a thong bikini was a highlight of Williams’ shoot, she says that her favorite photo set-up was for the series that took place in the shower.
“The shower scene was amazing because I also wanted to do something like that,” says Williams. “I’ve always wanted to let go — let my hair [get] wet, let my face [get] wet and take a supernatural picture that was strong and beautiful at the same time, and I really feel like we were able to achieve that with that shot.”
To get her in the mindset to pose, Williams says that her music requests were primarily “cheesy ’90s songs.”
“I want people to come away with the fact that it’s okay to be comfortable in your body,” Williams adds. “I’m not a size two. It’s okay to look good and feel good and I’m strong. It’s okay to look strong and to be sexy and to be a woman and to be unbreakable — all those things. I really want to have that influence for people out there that have my body type. I want them to be like, ‘I look good too.’ That’s what I hope for.”
Watch her behind-the-scenes video below and launch the gallery at the top of the page to view more photos of Chrissy Teigen, Alexa Ray Joel,Hannah Jeter, and more from Sports Illustrated‘s 2017 swimsuit issue.