5 Questions with Serena Williams on Travel, Business, and Her Latest Collection with Away
There is no athlete perhaps more synonymous with skill, talent, and greatness than tennis superstar Serena Williams. But when she’s not on the court or on the way to her next Grand Slam win, Williams has been busy focusing on her entrepreneurial endeavours. Her latest project? A collection with Away, the second in her ongoing partnership with the global travel lifestyle brand featuring an assortment of luggage and travel essentials.
“Travel has always been ingrained in my identity, both professionally and personally, which is why I am so excited to continue my partnership with Away. Despite the current limitations of travel, being able to bring this new collection to life has been such a rewarding, collaborative process,” said Williams in a press release announcing the new collection. “With this latest phase of our work together, I’m thrilled to share a collection that speaks to the new realities of travel and highlights my personal take on design and functionality, all with the hope that it can get people excited for the future.”
The collection arrives at a unique time where the majority of the world continues to shelter in place. Yet, while travel may still be a daydream for many, the collection invites people to satiate their spirit of wanderlust and continue dreaming of the day they can return to their favourite places around the world.
“Although the world has changed dramatically since we first announced Away’s partnership with Serena Williams at the start of 2020, anticipation and excitement for the future of travel is growing exponentially,” said co-founder Jen Rubio. “Serena’s role as a world traveler, mother, athlete, and businesswoman gives her a unique perspective, which we are proud to bring to life through this collaboration. If there is anyone who can keep people inspired and dreaming about their next adventure, it’s Serena Williams!”
In a Q&A with Bay Street Bull, Williams discusses the collaboration, her experience working with Away, and her love of travel below.
Bay Street Bull: As an entrepreneur who has built and invested in many businesses, what are some aspects that help you identify if a brand collaboration is the right fit?
Serena Williams: As a designer, I’m very passionate about the look, feel and quality of product I put into the world, and Away has always been the best in all of those categories. They valued my opinions and insights from the beginning, and they have been such excellent partners.
Bay Street Bull: What has been your favourite part of the process in your collaboration with Away?
Serena Williams: I loved Away long before we decided to partner, so I think my favourite thing about our collaboration is that I am able to bring my personal style and design aesthetic to a product that I really love and have been using for years. The Away team was so collaborative and they were really to bring my vision and inspirations to life.
Bay Street Bull: Travel has taken on a new definition in 2020. How have you embraced your spirit of exploration in a time where travel has been so restricted?
Serena Williams: I’ve been mostly staying at home and have cherished this extra time with my family. My daughter and I love to use our imaginations to “go” anywhere we want from the comfort and safety of our backyard. The zoo has been our favourite place to “visit” recently. This time has really allowed us to connect and play together, so I am very grateful.
We had a lot of fun with this idea when doing the photo shoot for this collection. We really playfully re-created some of my favourite cities, Paris and Rome, using backdrops, props, and even a kiddie pool. While stuck at home, it’s been really fun to get creative and figure out new ways to satisfy our wanderlust.
Bay Street Bull: When you do have time to immerse yourself in a new destination, in what ways do you look to enlighten yourself by engaging in new and different cultures?
Serena Williams: When traveling for work and tennis, it can be challenging to find time to explore, but I try my best to visit at least one new restaurant, museum, or area of the city each place I visit.
Bay Street Bull: Do you have a specific travel memory where you remember walking away feeling impacted by a new culture?
Serena Williams: I love just people watching in Paris. Sitting at a cafe with a cup of coffee and watching how the city and people interact with each other. It’s like watching living art!
Swipe through the gallery below to explore the full Away x Serena Williams collection (available January 28, 2021).