After public show for Meghan, Williams backs Aboriginal mental health

Less than 48 hours after Serena Williams praised her “noble” friend Meghan, Duchess of Sussex for speaking out about the trauma she suffered during her time in the royal family, the tennis champion has thrown her backing behind an Aboriginal mental-health charity.

Williams, a seven-time Australian Open winner, will donate proceeds from the sale of some of her wardrobe via resale website Poshmark to the Black Dog Institute, which has a focus on reducing suicide rates in Aboriginal communities.

“It is so important to elevate the voices of Australia’s First Nations People and include culturally led, safe and inclusive support for these communities,” Williams said.

On Monday, Williams was among many high-profile figures to publicly support Meghan after her and Prince Harry’s tell-all interview, in which she detailed her struggle with mental illness, including suicidal thoughts, at her lowest ebb as a member of the royal family.

Williams wrote on her social media account that Meghan’s words “illustrate the pain and cruelty she’s experienced”.

In the interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan also discussed issues about race, including concerns over son Archie’s skin colour before he was born. Throughout her career, Williams has also been the victim of racist slurs on and off the court, saying she knows “first hand the sexism and racism institutions and the media use to vilify women and people of colour to minimise us, to break us down and demonise us”.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (left) and Serena Williams in the early days of their friendship in 2014. Credit:Getty

“We must recognise our obligation to decry malicious, unfounded gossip and tabloid journalism. The mental health consequences of systemic oppression and victimisation are devastating, isolating and all too often lethal.”

Meghan and Williams have been friends for about seven years, and the latter attended the royal wedding as a guest in 2018. Meghan has watched Williams compete at Wimbledon and the US Open on several occasions.

Williams, who joined the board of Poshmark in 2019, is aiming to raise thousands for the Black Dog Institute through the sale, which will include tennis memorabilia, items from her own wardrobe and some pieces previously belonging to her daughter, Olympia. The collection will only be available to customers based in Australia.

A selection of items Serena Williams is selling to raise money for an Indigenous mental health charity.Credit:Poshmark

Included in the sale are several pairs of sneakers Williams wore in competition, such as the Nikes designed by Virgil Abloh she wore at the 2018 US Open. But those buyers keen to wear the sneakers first set foot in by a champion, take note: they’re a women’s size 11.5.

As well as her tennis and advocacy work, Williams is a fashion lover and has her own label, S by Serena. She said she works hard to set boundaries between tennis, business and family to “really appreciate all of life’s precious moments – from date nights with my husband to playing dress up and watching Disney movies with my daughter. Having a family really taught me that, and to also take personal time for myself.”

The Serena Williams Poshmark closet will be available from 9am, March 10, until sold out.

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