Serena Williams Wants Women To Boss Up and Make The First Move

Photo: Lorenzo Agius

The tennis champ is asking women to take back their power and make the first move in dating app Bumble’s new Super Bowl commercial.
Jasmine Grant Jan, 31, 2019

Serena Williams didn’t become a champion by playing it safe and asking for permission. That’s what makes this natural born leader and risk taker the perfect choice for Bumble’s new Super Bowl commercial encouraging women to make the first move.

If you’re not familiar with Bumble, it’s a popular dating app where the women must initiate the conversations with men first in heterosexual couple matches. The idea is to allow women to feel empowered to take control in the dating process (and also helps women avoid the onslaught of creepy and unwarranted online messages from men.) In the 30-second slot, titled “The Ball is in Her Court,” Serena is shown commanding the court in a series of past tennis matches. It then fast forwards to her life now as a wife and businesswoman. “Make the first move: in work, in love, in life,” she says in her narration of the ad. “And don’t wait to be given power. Because here’s what they won’t tell you – we already have it.”

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Williams also serves as the co-creative director for the ad, and said in a statement to AdAge that it’s reflective of a bigger change on the horizon for women. “At such a pivotal time for women across the globe, this commercial seeks to inspire all of us to seize opportunity wherever it presents itself,” Williams, who is the co-creative director of the ad, said in a statement. “I want women to feel empowered to find their voice and use the power within to create change, to lift each other up, and to never let the world tell us we can’t–because we can, and we will.”

The theme of making the first move is ironically pretty reflective of Williams’s first date with her now husband Alexis Ohanian. She once told Vanity Fair that after originally trying to shoo him away when they first met as guests of the same hotel, Williams eventually invited him to join her team for dinner. Down the line, she then invited him to see her play at the French Open, and that’s when their romance really blossomed.

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To help boost the campaign, Bumble has named Feb. 4 “First Move Day.” For every first move made on the Bumble app that day, the company will donate to the Yetunde Price Resource Center – a community service center founded by Serena and her sister Venus that will connect residents affected by violence with service providers. The organization is named after their eldest sister, who lost her life to gun violence.