WORKING MOMS

Serena Williams Plays Her First Tennis Match After Giving Birth Three Months Ago

The new mom lost the game but continues to win at life.


Nezar Balout/AFP/Getty Images

Most of us had a pretty bleh 2017, but Serena Williams, champion in every sense of the word, managed to have a pretty spectacular year. She got married and had a baby and is still considered the best tennis player on the planet. So does it matter that she lost her final match of 2017 and her first since giving birth? Not to Serena, apparently.

“I don’t think I am going to rate my performance,” she told the AP, per Vanity Fair. “I have plenty of comebacks, from injuries, from surgeries, but I’ve never had a comeback after actually giving birth to a human being. So, in my eyes, I feel it was a wonderful, wonderful match for me.”

The match in question was an exhibition game at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, and the winner was French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko. Williams said of her return to the game overall, “I don’t know if I am totally ready to come back on the tour yet …I know that when I come back I definitely want to be competing for championships. I am definitely looking forward to getting back out there. I am taking it one day at a time. I am going to assess everything with my team before deciding.” Fair enough.

“I don’t think I have anything more left to prove,” said Williams, referencing her dozens of grand slam titles and trove of gold medals. But she’s not done with tennis yet, and the first step was just getting back on the court. “In the beginning, it felt a little tough. But as the match moved on, I was less afraid. I knew I was not going to fall over and break,” she said.

It’s not like she was gone for too long, actually. Williams’ break from the game started in January, when she was already several weeks pregnant with her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr, so she’s beginning and ending 2017 as a tennis player. And she managed to squeeze in a wedding to the Alexis Ohanian, founder of Reddit.

She even achieved the most rare and elusive award of all: an Instagram shout-out from her close friend Beyoncé.

Related: Serena Williams Makes Her First Post-Birth Appearance to Honor Gigi Hadid

Royals 2017: Why Pharrell Williams, Winona Ryder, Tracee Ellis Ross and More Are the Role Models of Today

Winona Ryder wears Fendi dress; Angela Friedman bra; M&S Schmalberg brooch; Fogal tights; Gucci shoes. Beauty: Chantecaille.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti. Styled by George Cortina.

Tilda Swinton wears Loewe jacket, shirt, and pants. Beauty:
Chanel.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti. Styled by George Cortina.

Hailee Steinfeld wears Valentino dress. Beauty: Maybelline.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti. Styled by George Cortina.

Tracee Ellis Ross wears Vetements dress. Beauty: Lâncome.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti. Styled by George Cortina.

Saoirse Ronan wears Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello shirt and pants. Beauty: Nars.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti. Styled by George Cortina.

Chris Hemsworth wears Boss shirt and pants; his own belt and necklace.
Grooming: Hugo Boss.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti. Styled by George Cortina.

Pharrell Williams wears Sacai shirt; Bulgari necklace (top); his own necklace. Grooming: Giorgio Armani.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti. Styled by George Cortina.

Robert Pattinson wears Dior Homme turtleneck; Haider Ackermann pants. Grooming: Dior Homme.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti. Styled by George Cortina.

James Corden wears Ann Demeulemeester shirt and hat. Grooming: Neutrogena.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti. Styled by George Cortina.

Jared Leto wears Gucci jacket, shirt, and pants; M&S Schmalberg brooch; Artemas Quibble belt. Grooming: Gucci.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti. Styled by George Cortina.

New Royalty: Movie Star

My first kiss was on set. It was my very first film as well. My character really liked this boy, and she didn’t know if he noticed her. In the end she got to kiss him. At that time, I was only 11 years old, and not ready to kiss a boy. I asked the director, “How long do you want me to kiss him? How many seconds?” And the director said, “Three seconds.” So while kissing, I counted in my head. Every single take I was like, One, two, three. And then: “Okay, kill, cut!” I definitely suffered for art.

Ronan wears a Louis Vuitton top, cape, and shoes; Falke tights.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by George Cortina; Hair by Akki at Art Partner; Makeup by Diane Kendal for Marc Jacobs Beauty At Julian Watson Agency; Manicures by Honey for Marc Jacobs Beauty at Exposure NY.

Classic Royalty: Movie Star

Is there anything that scares you? I’m not easily scared, and I’m wary of being bored. I think risk-taking is a subjective thing. One person’s risk is another one’s comfort zone. And, to be honest, I’m too lazy to get easily scared. Maybe I’ve got a bit of my brain missing, but I love not knowing what I’m doing next. What about when it comes to clothes? Did you always have a fashion-forward outlook? Again, what somebody might think of as unusual is, to me, supercomfortable, inspiring, and interesting. I’ve never truly been that aware of fashion; I’m interested in style.

Swinton wears a Haider Ackermann shirt; Alexander Calder necklace from Stephen Russell, New York.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by George Cortina; Hair by Akki at Art Partner; Makeup by Diane Kendal for Marc Jacobs Beauty At Julian Watson Agency; Manicures by Honey for Marc Jacobs Beauty at Exposure NY.

New Royalty: Renaissance Person

Where do you get your ideas? The shower is a frequent place. Actually, near any running water—whether it’s the faucet or the shower. And sometimes I get ideas on a plane because of the sound deprivation.

Do you record your ideas on your phone? I just hold on to them. The best way to remember something is if you home in on the excitement. That you don’t forget.

Is there a song that makes you cry? It’s been maybe 10 years since I heard something that made me cry. There is an old Donny Hathaway song called “Take a Love Song,” and it would make me emotional. But I think I was eating a lot of weed candy at the time, so that may have pushed me over the edge.

Whom do you consider Royal? Wes Anderson. I love what he does. Bill Murray running from a playground in Rushmore made me very happy. Anderson’s composition is amazing: his color, the music that he uses. I’m not an actor, but, in a heartbeat, I would just walk by or whatever he asked me to do in one of his films.

Williams wears a Chanel jacket and necklace; G-Star pants; Adidas Originals = Pharrell Williams shoes; his own shirt, belt, bracelets, ring, watch, and socks.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by George Cortina; Hair by Recine For Rodin; Makeup by Kanako Takase for Shiseido at Streeters; Manicures by Lisa Jachno for Chanel at Aim Artists.

Classic Royalty: Renaissance Person

When did you start dancing? When I was 3. I loved it. I did recitals and I loved being onstage. I particularly loved the collective mind of the audience. Applause was nice, but I liked the silence of the audience better. The silence means, Oh, my! You have their rapt attention.

MacLaine wears an Akris turtleneck.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by George Cortina; Hair by Recine For Rodin; Makeup by Kanako Takase for Shiseido at Streeters; Manicures by Lisa Jachno for Chanel at Aim Artists.

Classic Royalty: Activist

I came to New York in the ’70s to become president of Planned Parenthood. It was a time of great difficulty for the city—and for the country—but also one when women made tremendous progress toward being in control of their lives and their bodies. My position allowed me to be a spokesperson for women in the midst of the great changes that were taking place and the turmoil that occurred as a result of them. Today, 40 years later, the continuing opposition to Planned Parenthood comes from people who want to roll back the clock.

Wattleton wears a Row coat; Vhernier earrings; Verdura necklace.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by George Cortina; Hair by Akki at Art Partner; Makeup by Diane Kendal for Marc Jacobs Beauty At Julian Watson Agency; Manicures by Honey for Marc Jacobs Beauty at Exposure NY.

New Royalty: Activist

When I was 11, my parents gave me an iPhone. I think it shaped who I am as a person because I had access to everything very, very early on. But
 now I’m 18 and I have gotten rid of it. I was worried about the mental-health effects it was having on me. The phone was taking over my life. I felt like I was floating away, and part of that had to do with being in a virtual world without any tangible substance. I felt like I was always refreshing Instagram instead of refreshing my life.

Stenberg wears a Prada top; Buccellati earrings.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by George Cortina; Hair by Recine For Rodin; Makeup by Kanako Takase for Shiseido at Streeters; Manicures by Lisa Jachno for Chanel at Aim Artists.

New Royalty: Renaissance Person

To me, Paula Abdul is royalty. I just saw her live, and the whole time I was watching her, I was hitting the person next to me and saying, “Oh. My. God. Yes!” I’m late to the game, but Paula Abdul is completely amazing.

Steinfeld wears an Yves Salomon coat; Nili Lotan dress; Mahnaz Collection ring; Lynn Ban earring.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by George Cortina; Hair by Akki at Art Partner; Makeup by Diane Kendal for Marc Jacobs Beauty At Julian Watson Agency; Manicures by Honey for Marc Jacobs Beauty at Exposure NY.

New Royalty: Renaissance Person

There were eight boys in The History Boys, and we were all at a similar point in our careers. The other seven would get incredible scripts for Spielberg movies or big HBO shows, and I would get a one-page script for the guy who drops off a TV for Hugh Grant. I remember thinking, These decisions are being made based on the way I look. I realized then and there that I needed to try and start creating stuff on my own. And I did.

Corden wears a Berluti jacket; Burberry shirt; Balenciaga scarf.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by George Cortina; Hair by Recine For Rodin; Makeup by Kanako Takase for Shiseido at Streeters; Manicures by Lisa Jachno for Chanel at Aim Artists.

New Royalty: Society

The notion of being born into the right stratosphere no longer exists. More and more, young people want to dedicate their lives to doing something meaningful that has a positive effect on the world. That’s what is valued now—not your name or your lineage.

Bush Lauren wears a Ralph Lauren shirt; Zimmerli of Switzerland tank; Hermès scarves; Vicki Turbeville earrings; vintage bracelet from Stazia Loren, New York.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by George Cortina; Hair by Akki at Art Partner; Makeup by Diane Kendal for Marc Jacobs Beauty At Julian Watson Agency; Manicures by Honey for Marc Jacobs Beauty at Exposure NY.

Classic Royalty: Society

You got involved with God’s Love We Deliver during the ’80s AIDS epidemic. It was a terrible time. We delivered meals to people who were sick. A lot of my friends thought I had lost my mind. There was so much fear.

How did you meet Robert Trump? At a fundraiser. We were married in 1984. But years later things changed, and, in 2007, we divorced.

Did you go to your former brother-in-law’s presidential inauguration? Yes. It was kind of an out-of-body experience. [Laughs] It’s like, Am I really here? I went to all the balls, and there was a wonderful small lunch, and Donald and Melania were there. She looked beautiful.

Is it strange to see your last name everywhere? Yes—very, very strange. I mean, forget paying with a credit card. It’s always, “Are you related?” It never ends.

Trump wears a Chloé dress; David Webb earrings.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by George Cortina; Hair by Akki at Art Partner; Makeup by Frank B for at The Wall Group; Manicures by Honey for Marc Jacobs Beauty at Exposure NY.

New Royalty: Model

I always go into a zone when I’m posing for a photographer. I like to try and get into whatever character is wanted for the photos. For this shoot, I tried to be kind of vulnerable and soft because I can be quite hard with my resting bitch face. I wanted to look innocent, but mysterious. And royal. Very royal.

Aboah wears a Calvin Klein 205W39NYC dress; Stephen Russell earrings; Vhernier bracelets; her own rings.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by George Cortina; Hair by Akki at Art Partner; Makeup by Francelle for Lovecraft Beauty at Art + Commerce; Manicures by Honey for Marc Jacobs Beauty at Exposure NY.

Classic Royalty: Model

What is your secret skill? Fucking.

Fucking? Mm-hmmm. It’s an awfully good thing to be good at, no? And it goes on forever, guys and girls. You should remember that.

Hutton wears a Row coat.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by George Cortina; Hair by Akki at Art Partner; Makeup by Francelle for Lovecraft Beauty at Art + Commerce; Manicures by Honey for Marc Jacobs Beauty at Exposure NY; Set design by Phillip Haemmerle. Produced by Kyd Drake at North Six. Production Manager: Danica Solomon. On-site producer: Steve Sutton. Printing by Arc Lab LTD. Lighting Technician: Lars Beaulieu. Digital Technician: Johnny Vicari. Photography Assistants: Kotaro Kawashima, Javier Villegas. Fashion Assistants: Steven La Fuente, Alex Paul, Elyse Lightner. special thanks to Pier 59 Studios and Highline Stages

Classic Royalty: Superhero

My first audition was for some random sort of commercial. I remember walking in and having to tell them about myself, and none of it was very interesting because I never got those jobs. My first regular acting gig was on a soap opera called Home and Away. I did that for three and a half years, and I went through every melodramatic tragedy that one can go through: plane crashes, fires, robberies, landslides. I had three different kids with three different women. And my character was 19 for three years. I never had a birthday. Never aged.

Hemsworth wears a Boss jacket, shirt, and pants; Western Spirit bolo tie; stylist’s own belt.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by George Cortina; Grooming by Kumi Craig for La Mer at Starworks Artists

New Royalty: Superhero

I don’t fuck with karaoke. I tried it once, and it was the biggest disaster. The song I bombed on was “Eye of the Tiger.” It was at a wedding, in front of hundreds of people. The only line of the song that I knew was “eye of the tiger,” so I just mumbled, and it was awful. Deep shame. Now I stick to singing my own songs onstage with my band, Thirty Seconds to Mars. There are some things you just know you’re not good at.

Leto wears an Ann Demeulemeester shirt; Gucci pants; Mikimoto pearls; his own ring and necklace.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by George Cortina; Hair by Recine for Rodin; Makeup by Kanako Takase for Shiseido at Streeters; Manicures by Lisa Jachno for Chanel at Aim Artists.

New Royalty: Television

As a boy, I was very, very sensitive. Ever the emotional young thing. In eighth grade, a drama teacher put me in a play, and I got really involved with theater. Within a year, all the kids who were making fun of me were my allies. I remember thinking, Instead of being a weird guy in the corner of the classroom, now I’m the weird guy that everyone has to pay attention to! And, like, Wow—maybe someone will kiss me!

Middleditch wears a Prada shirt; Coach 1941 pants; Artemas Quibble belt; Calvin Klein 205W39NYC boots.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by George Cortina; Hair by Recine for Rodin; Makeup by Kanako Takase for Shiseido at Streeters; Manicures by Lisa Jachno for Chanel at Aim Artists.

Classic Royalty: Television

Since signing on to Stranger Things, I’ve become a binge-watcher of TV. My favorite show is The Americans. It’s brilliant, and Keri Russell is just mind-blowing. I watched the entire last season all at once, and I was crushed when it ended. I met Keri, and I was like, “What’s going to happen?!” I had turned into a fan-geek. But she wouldn’t tell me. Everyone in TV has to keep things a big secret—which I’m learning.

Ryder wears a Dior dress and hat.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by George Cortina; Hair by Recine for Rodin; Makeup by Kanako Takase for Shiseido at Streeters; Manicures by Lisa Jachno for Chanel at Aim Artists.

New Royalty: Movie Star

I didn’t think I could play Dr. Dre in Straight Outta Compton. I was asked to audition, and I remember saying no because I didn’t want to be the one to mess it up. I was nervous because it was Dr. Dre. And now, after the film, I walk down the street and people ask, “Is that Dr. Dre?” Nobody did that before Compton. Now everybody does it.

Hawkins wears a Giorgio Armani jacket, shirt, and pants; Tom Ford shoes.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by George Cortina; Hair by Akki at Art Partner; Makeup by Frank B at The Wall Group; Manicures by Honey for Marc Jacobs at Exposure NY.

Classic Royalty: Movie Star

What was your first acting job? When I was 15 or 16, I was cast as Reese Witherspoon’s son in the film Vanity Fair. I went to the screening, and no one had informed me that I had been cut from the film. But the casting director felt so guilty that she gave me a first run at the part of Cedric in Harry Potter, which I booked. So, in the end, I was quite glad to have been cut from Vanity Fair.

How did you prepare for your role as a bank robber on the run in Good Time? I stayed in character for several days and got a job at a car wash. I wanted to change myself so that people would not be able to recognize me for the whole shoot. And it worked. We were filming in a packed subway at rush hour; I was directed by text message, and no one could tell we were making a movie. Not one person took a cell-phone picture, which would have ruined the whole thing. It was great to not be recognized.

Pattinson wears a Berluti jacket; Charvet scarf.

Hair by Recine for Rodin; Makeup by Kanako Takase for Shiseido at Streeters; Manicures by Lisa Jachno for Chanel at Aim Artists.

Classic Royalty: Television

After Everybody Loves Raymond ended, it wasn’t hard to say no to other sitcom offers. This sounds awful, but I had all the money I needed, my wife had all the money she needed, and creatively I wanted to do other things. I thought, Suddenly I have time, I have money, I have a bit of fame, and this is going to be fun. After three months, it wasn’t fun anymore. I had a kind of emotional breakdown until I started creating the next show. People ask me sometimes, “How do you keep going?” And I like to say, “I have to keep moving, or I catch up with myself.”

Romano wears a Balenciaga shirt.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by George Cortina; Hair by Recine for Rodin; Makeup by Kanako Takase for Shiseido at Streeters; Manicures by Lisa Jachno for Chanel at Aim Artists.

New Royalty: Television

Your mom is Diana Ross. Did you ever borrow her clothes? I’m not going to lie: It was more like stealing. One time, she left the house and I saw her car go down the driveway. I marched myself into her bathroom and started taking clothes. I liked to put them in my closet and live with them as if they were mine. Just as I was loading up, my mom walked into the bathroom. She said, “What are you doing?!” I was like, “I’m organizing your closet for you!” To this day, I visit her closet and call it shopping.

Ross wears an Alexander McQueen dress; Gianvito Rossi shoes.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by George Cortina; Hair by Recine for Rodin; Makeup by Kanako Takase for Shiseido at Streeters; Manicures by Lisa Jachno for Chanel at Aim Artists.
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