Serena Williams Values the Power of a Positive Body Image

"I am who I am. I love who I am," she told Self magazine.

The tennis star, who will be playing for her fifth gold medal at the upcoming Rio Olympics, spoke about the power of confidence, especially as a female athlete, for Self magazine's September cover story.

“I am who I am. I love who I am,” Williams told Self. “Just that whole attitude of being strong and powerful; that’s something I can get behind."

Williams, 35, spoke specifically to the issue of body image. She has faced ridicule in the past for her appearance, but has always defended herself and remained a symbol of strength for women.

“I love my body, and I would never change anything about it,” she said in the interview. “I’m not asking you to like my body. I’m just asking you to let me be me. Because I’m going to influence a girl who does look like me, and I want her to feel good about herself.”

And given her superstardom, William also acknowledged the responsibility to serve as a positive role model when it comes to such issues.

“I have this platform that other people don’t have,” she added. “I think it’s important, especially as a woman, to stand up for who you are and what you believe in, and not back down.”

Though Williams pointed out that she is not the first African-American to win big on the tennis court, she did tell Self that it "wasn't easy" for her in the ‘90s. For all she has overcome, Williams respects the power she has, as an accomplished athlete in the spotlight, to influence women.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion added, "I appreciate being in a position where I was chosen to be a role model."