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Venus Williams

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Venus Williams

An Evening with Venus Williams

Thursday, September 14, 2017, 7:30 p.m., Show Me Center

At age 14, Venus became a professional athlete, taking the tennis world 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.

Currently, Venus holds 43 Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour titles, which include seven singles Grand Slams. In July 2008, Venus won her fifth Wimbledon Championship in a riveting match against her sister Serena Williams. Venus now joins the ranks of only a handful of legendary women’s singles tennis champions who have won five or more Wimbledon Championships. During the 2007 French Open, she made history with a record-breaking 129 mph serve, which she tied during the 2008 Wimbledon tournament, making this the fastest serve ever recorded in women’s tennis history. In 2005, after an intense two-hour and 45-minute match against Lindsay Davenport, Venus took home her third Wimbledon Championship. This match went down in history as the longest women’s final in Wimbledon’s 128-year history. Later that year, Glamour magazine named her one of their “Women of The Year.”

Not only is Venus a force in the tennis world, but the fashion community also has taken notice of her grace and elegance. She has been photographed by some of the most world-renowned photographers for top fashion publications worldwide. She also has been the subject of a coffee table book photographed by avant-garde photographer, Koto Bolofo, titled “Venus.”

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.”

“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,” Venus said.

She has parlayed her fine-tuned business acumen with her healthy competitive spirit to excel in several ventures and has gained a comprehensive education on the business side of the sport as well. Her book, “Come to Win: Venus and Friends on Life Lessons Beyond the Playing Field” hit bookshelves in July 2010 and was number five on the New York Times Best Sellers list.

In addition to worldwide tennis competitions, the young entrepreneur is a uniquely creative designer. She is a certified decorator and owner of V Starr Interiors, a successful interior design firm in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Her transformation from a tennis force to a savvy businesswoman was instilled in her early by her parents. While off-tour, she enrolled in fashion design school, earned a fashion design degree from The Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale and became a Certified Interior Decorator. In November 2007, Venus launched her clothing line “EleVen,” the largest clothing line ever launched by a female athlete.

Prior to that launch, Venus worked with Reebok, collaborating with famed designer Diane Von Furstenberg for her line of tennis clothes (the largest endorsement ever awarded to a woman athlete, at $40 million for five years). She devotes considerable energy to hands-on involvement in the design process, creating clothing that is youthful, but decidedly non-trendy. While balancing dual careers, Venus also has pursued other interests, including learning piano, guitar and bass.

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