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None of us wished to face it. Yet it needed to occur someday. Serena Williams introduced this yr not that she was retiring (there are few folks to whom that phrase applies much less) however “evolving away from tennis” to focus on different pursuits. Millions can keep in mind the actual thrill of seeing her take the court docket at Wimbledon, Roland-Garros, or the Australian Open. If you had been ever fortunate sufficient to witness this in individual, the joy was that rather more palpable. And her explosive vitality throughout play was breathtaking. Her farewell match this September in Arthur Ashe Stadium on the US Open appeared to encapsulate 27-plus years of her legend. The 23-time grand slam singles champion and four-time Olympic gold medalist strode onto the court docket to thunderous cheers and applause that echoed within the New York evening and appeared to final till daybreak. She wore a Nike tennis gown, that includes a six-layer tutu, reference to her six US Open victories, and a jeweled headband with gems stamped into her hair. Somehow, her cheekbones appeared extra regal
than ever.

Serena’s ever-changing vogue and hairstyles have at all times been a part of her attraction. And there’s goal in her selections. After the president of the French Open banned a catsuit that she wore to assist stop blood clots in her legs, which she had skilled prior to now and throughout the delivery of her daughter, Serena slightly pointedly went on to dominate in a tutu.

In 2019, Serena instructed Allure: “Venus and I were unapologetically ourselves. We weren’t afraid to wear braids. We weren’t afraid to be Black in tennis.”

Serena embraces her magnificence. She embraces her muscle groups and her curves. She embraces sisterhood and motherhood (her enjoyment of her mini-me daughter Olympia is as plain as day). Most of all, although, she embraces her energy. It’s an influence that extends properly past sports activities, past age or gender or nationality. And it is not bodily energy. It is the facility to encourage.

In Memoriam 

Clockwise from high left: Olivia Newton-John, Nichelle Nichols, Loretta Lynn, and Queen Elizabeth II

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To Boldly Go

If Nichelle Nichols is any measure, there have to be superb magnificence salons in area. For three seasons (1966-1969) of the unique TV run of Star Trek, and in a number of of the flicks that got here later, she supplied intergalactic glamour. She was a relentless on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise as Lieutenant Uhura, chief communications officer. There she was at her blinking console, sitting with a dancer’s posture, the image of futuristic effectivity in a ’60s bouffant, winged eyeliner, frosted lips, and inexperienced hoops (or different assertion earrings) below her signature silver earpiece. She thought-about leaving the sequence after the primary yr to do a Broadway present, however, because the Los Angeles Times recounted after her demise, an opportunity assembly with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an avid Trekkie, made her change her thoughts. Nichols recalled that King instructed her: “For the first time on television, we will be seen as we should be seen every day, as intelligent, quality, beautiful people who can sing, dance, and can go to space.” She stayed. And the world noticed.

Royal Standard 

This yr, we stated farewell to 2 queens: Loretta Lynn, the queen of nation music, and Elizabeth II, the queen of a rustic, kingdom, and commonwealth. One was born Loretta Webb “in a cabin on a hill in Butcher Holler,” Kentucky. The different was born Elizabeth of York in a grand home on Bruton Street in Mayfair, London. In 1960, Lynn launched her first hit, “Honkey Tonk Girl.” That identical yr, a portrait of Elizabeth II appeared for the primary time on the one pound financial institution notice. Throughout her life, Lynn expressed herself freely and ascended to the best ranges of fame. Her best-selling memoir, Coal Miner’s Daughter, grew to become an Oscar-winning movie starring Sissy Spacek. Elizabeth II had fame she by no means wished thrust upon her, and, as head of state, was barred from talking her personal thoughts. Her private diaries could by no means see the sunshine of day. But each queens had been admired for his or her work ethic and endurance, their symbolism and dignity. Neither of their reigns will quickly be forgotten.

The One That We Wanted 

Australian British singer Olivia Newton-John managed to embody among the largest American popular culture stereotypes: bobby soxer (Grease), neon, ’80s fitness center bunny (“Physical”), roller-disco ingenue (Xanadu). If being inoffensive had been an artwork kind (which it most actually shouldn’t be), Newton-John can be its Leonardo da Vinci. Her perpetual perkiness and Top 40 singing made her an enormous star of the ’70s and ’80s. But it was her position as a breast most cancers survivor, thriver, fundraiser, and advocate for analysis that was probably the most significant. She based the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre at Austin Hospital in Melbourne and left a legacy of hope and therapeutic for hundreds. She as soon as sang “You have to believe we are magic.” In the tip, she was.

The Last Straw 

Iranian lady chopping her hair in protest on the Iranian consulate in Istanbul.

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