Serena Williams is experiencing no shortage of things to fill her newfound free time with since boldly exiting the sport of tennis.
Among those opportunities are her ongoing partnership with Michelob ULTRA, one of her favorite brands. Williams is starring in a commercial for the beer brand for the third consecutive year during the Big Game. For the tennis star, the pairing is a no-brainer, especially given their focus on enjoyment and taking time for yourself and your friends – a message she identifies with even more these days.
“I love Michelob Ultra. I love that it reminds us of joy. I’m a very joyful person,” Williams tells ESSENCE exclusively. “I love to laugh. I’m passionate about being happy. I love to make jokes. I love to just bring that to my life. And so I think that’s what we get to see in these ads that we’ve done in the past. We get to see some familiar faces, some legendary athletes, and even some friendly competition to a more playful and humorous side of ourselves and it’s only worth it if we enjoy it.”
Williams says that in such a physically demanding career that takes as much dedication as theirs does, athletes need some time to just kick back and enjoy things – which is the very philosophy of the brand.
“As athletes, we get to do so much and we work so hard and sometimes I am very guilty of not always enjoying what the championships and things like that [bring]. So it’s super cool.”
This year’s ad finds Williams on the golf course with stars like Miami Heat small forward Jimmy Butler, former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, LA Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike, San Diego Wave player Alex Morgan, and even Succession Star Brian Cox.
As for if golf is something Williams has been turning to in her free time now that it’s much more plentiful…the sports star says, not quite.
“I’m not golfing at all these days. Although I am definitely going to pick up golf as soon as I have time, which hopefully will be very soon,” she laughs.
But as far as what she has found time for, books and film are where Williams finds solace.
“I love reading, but ever since I had Olympia, I just don’t even think I’ve read a
book,” she tells us. “But I do love reading. I absolutely love going to the movies, it’s my favorite thing, it shuts my brain off.”
With the Big Game just days away, Williams says though she has no dog in this fight – she owns a minority stake in the Miami Dolphins and they were eliminated from the playoffs – she is looking forward to what we’re all looking forward to: Rihanna’s big return to the stage.
“I sure hope she does [“Lift Me Up”]. It makes me cry every time. It’s such a good song,” Williams says. “I’m such a massive Rihanna fan. I just was so happy that she did that song for [Black Panther: Wakanda Forever] and I’m so happy that she is doing the Super Bowl. It’ll be really exciting.”
Williams’ Michelob Ultra ad will run in its entirety during the Big Game on February 12.