How tennis star Sloane Stephens is ‘moving a generation forward’ on and off the court

How tennis star Sloane Stephens is ‘moving a generation forward’ on and off the court

My Beauty, My Way is a video series hosted by Yahoo Life Beauty Director Dana Oliver in which women of all ages and backgrounds break down their beauty habits to explain what beauty really means to them and how it represents their cultural identity.

When you’re a professional athlete like tennis star Sloane Stephens, you’re used to a strict lifestyle. Your day is planned down to the minute and is often filled with intense workouts, nutritious meals, expected play time, and of course, sleep. But in the midst of the American pandemic and social unrest, Stephens admits that adapting to the “go with the flow” approach has been “difficult.

“For athletes, you know your schedule, you know when you’re training, you know everything that’s going on,” she told Yahoo Lifestyle. “It’s hard, but I’m just trying to take care of myself the best I can …… take care of the people I love and make myself feel good.”

One of the ways she has been present is by wearing her facemask on tennis courts (like the 2020 U.S. Open) to expand the Black Lives Matter movement and educate her 507,000 Instagram followers on different ways to implement change – from voting to mentoring.

“Never before has a platform been as loud as this one, as much as your own,” Stephens explained. “I think for people who are following me and want to learn more, they just haven’t been educated on what’s been happening for years, and that’s something you can educate people on …… That’s how you move a generation forward instead of backward.”

When Kamala Harris made history as the first female, first Black and first Asian-American vice-president-elect, Stephens immediately took to Instagram to share her excitement, writing: “Healing, unity, a way forward.” The 27-year-old said she understood that many black people were already doing the work, but was “afraid “, “feel like they shouldn’t be doing it” or “there’s no room at the table”. However, Stephens hopes this new administration will bring more resources to black people and inspire them to take advantage of them and seize opportunities like entrepreneurship or promotions.

“I think people see change, they see what can be done and what’s possible,” she said. “Now is the time to show people what you’re worth and what you’re worth.”

The tennis champion recently put on her entrepreneurial hat and partnered with influencer Shalom Blac and artist Cristina Martinez to create a Vaseline skincare line created specifically for black women. The line, which is currently sold out, includes Illuminate Me Whipped Body Butter and Shimmering Body Oil. Stephens believes that “there’s something for everyone,” and “especially for black women who are looking for something that hydrates, moisturizes and smells great.”

She adds, “I think it’s very important and vital to be able to create it for black women in times like these. And to provide us with something that’s made by us, I think that’s also very, very cool.”

It’s no surprise that the Vaseline Illuminate Me line is flying off the beauty shelves, but it’s refreshing to see a melanin-rich female athlete like Stephens at the forefront of the beauty movement. This level of visibility is something that professional tennis players don’t take lightly.

My beauty is power because my platform is strong. As a black woman, I’m powerful.
Sloane Stephens.

“I think there’s a voice and I have a big platform as an athlete. So now using it for women who look like me, like I play tennis – a sport that doesn’t have as many other people of color or black women. So if we have six of us, we’re all like, ‘Okay, this is great.’ But we all have to use our platforms to make sure that people who look like us have a chance to play, too,” Stephens said. “I think at a time like now, it’s a lot of support. A lot of use of your platform. It’s great encouragement.”

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