Story by Estelle Avbuere
Photos by Mia Navarro
In this week’s HerStory, we are looking at yet another strong and beautiful woman: Billie Jean King.
Recognized for being the former No. 1 ranked tennis player and the first female athlete to win over $100,000 in prize money, King was also one of the first openly gay athletes, as well as an outspoken feminist. King’s most renowned matches, called “Battle of the Sexes” was against the former No. 1 ranked tennis player, Bobby Riggs, who claimed that the women’s game was inferior.
Needless to say, King proved him wrong when she won the match, making history with millions of people cheering her on.
This empowering woman didn’t stop there, but went on to found both the Women’s Tennis Association and the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative. Eventually, her dedication to equality earned her the Medal of Freedom in 2009. Are you inspired, or what?
It’s amazing that King used her athletic talent as a platform for her to draw attention to social injustices and for her to actively fight against that inequality. We are so excited to channel this queen- or rather, “King”- this month!
This shoot took place on a tennis court (of course!), our lovely model’s feminine look contrasted with bold poses might just inspire you to head to the court for a match, if only for the outfits. But, there’s no need! We’ve got you covered with a few tips to help you channel King’s style on the daily, without needing to hit the tennis court (unless you wanted to, of course).
Tips for channeling Billie Jean King in your style:
Chic glasses – In this shoot, the stylist chose a white pair of sunglasses, but any color and style will do. Billie Jean King wore her glasses during matches. Over the years she has sported different ones in colors like hot pink and red which are also cute color options.
Pretty pastels – Pastels are not for the faint of heart. The beautiful irony is, it takes a bold person to work pastel colors. It is so much easier to put on dark neutrals that easily pair together. In this look, even though the dusty blue and pale pink might not “go” with each other, they still contrast to create a pretty, yet strong look. King’s ideas for how women should be seen, treated, and paid didn’t “go” with what was the norm in the world of tennis, but she didn’t change. She was not faint of heart. Billie wore her womanhood the way she wanted. If you dare, break away from neutrals and wear your pastels the way you want this spring!
A uniquely draped sweater – King was a woman like no other, especially in the world of tennis, and she wore her uniqueness boldly. A small way to add a unique touch to your own style is by tying your own sweatshirt around your shoulders, in typical tennis style, and perhaps by pulling one side under an arm, in not-so-typical tennis style. It’s different, but it’s a look. Plus, it’s essential for these colder days.
A pleated skirt – It’s a little bit tennis star and a little bit private school girl, but our model works it perfectly. These skirts are fun and flouncy, highlighting the waist to create a classic hourglass figure. It’s an easy way to channel King in your own style. What says “tennis legend/social activist” more than a pleated skirt, right?
“Everybody’s wearing white shoes, white socks, white clothes, playing with white balls, everybody who plays is white. Where is everybody else? That was the moment I decided to fight for equality and freedom and equal rights and opportunities for everyone. Everyone. Not just girls. Everyone.” -Billie Jean King
This quote by Billie Jean King displays her heart for equality, for both the LGBTQIA+ community and for women of every color. The quote encompasses the work she has done to challenge the athletic world and beyond to be more aware of inequality and to do something about it. This is a woman who overcame barriers and did what she could to help others with their own social hurdles. This is the kind of woman that we are not only excited to celebrate, but use as an inspiration for our personal styles. And especially to let inspire our views on equal rights for not just women, but everyone.
Model Celeste Chaves
Stylist Eve Mclernon