Serena Williams is continuing her mission of women’s equality with a new job title.
The tennis champ is Secret Deodorant’s first brand ambassador, teaming with the P&G-owned brand to promote gender equality in sports.
“[Secret] has a history of supporting women’s issues and fighting for women’s equality,” Williams said in an interview with WWD, ahead of the announcement on Tuesday. “That’s what I do. I fight for equality and I’m vocal about gender bias. It only makes sense for me to join in this charge with Secret.”
Together, Secret and Williams will be conducting a study on gender inequality in sports to see how gender bias plays out for athletes ranging from high school players to professional sports leagues. The brand will then donate $1 million to organizations that address these issues.
The partnership is a natural one for Williams, who has routinely been outspoken on gender-inequality issues throughout her career. Williams most recently spoke on her activism at a press conference on July 13 after she competed in Wimbledon, stating: “The day I stop fighting for equality and for people that look like you and me will be the day I’m in my grave.”
She’s also used fashion as a way to communicate her mission. At last year’s French Open, Williams wore a Virgil-Abloh designed black-and-white Nike outfit that was inscribed with the words “champion,” “queen” and “goddess.” Many interpreted Williams’ look as a follow-up to her headline-making Nike compression “catsuit” from the year prior, which she wore to prevent blood clots but was nonetheless banned by the French Tennis Federation, stating it didn’t abide by the dress code.
Williams’ namesake fashion label, which debuted at New York Fashion Week last season, is another extension of this ethos. The brand focuses on diversity and inclusion, launching a number of digital campaigns that promote body confidence.
“Our brand caters to all women,” Williams said. “It’s not just one type, one size or one woman. We’re all different and the Serena brand embraces our differences.”
The initiative is also an extension of Secret’s mission to promote gender equality. In July, the brand made a $529,000 donation to the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team — who was vocal about how they were earning less than their male counterparts — after their World Cup win. Secret also released a Super Bowl LIV commercial that focused on gender inequality in sports by highlighting female football players.
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