First of all: Serena is un-retouched in all of these photos and SPOILER: Serena Williams looks great, and needs no Photoshopping at all. This newsstand cover is great, and I cannot even imagine what they would have Photoshopped out. Her face looks great! Her body is amazing! Her skin is PERFECT. (My guess, from watching many episodes of ANTM, is probably a few armpit wrinkles; one day, remind me to tell you about the time I worked on a reality show where our star asked us to “cut around” her armpits because she thought they were ugly. This was after several weeks of filming wherein she literally wore tank tops 24/7. But this isn’t about me.)

Second: Serena was not interviewed for this issue, but wrote an essay that covers a lot of ground — it’s ostensibly about the controversy surrounding last year’s US Open, but it’s really about so much more than that. I recommend taking the time to read it in its entirety.

Here is just a taste of it:

This incident—though excruciating for us to endure—exemplified how thousands of women in every area of the workforce are treated every day. We are not allowed to have emotions, we are not allowed to be passionate. We are told to sit down and be quiet, which frankly is just not something I’m okay with. It’s shameful that our society penalizes women just for being themselves. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve felt a need to voice my opinion and be heard. Some may not like it, and to be honest, that’s their prerogative. I respect it. Growing up as the youngest of five girls, I learned that I had to fight for everything I wanted. And I won’t ever stop raising my voice against injustice.

It’s good stuff.

Third: This is the subscriber’s cover and when it popped up for me on Instagram (on Serena’s own account), I literally squeaked the word, “cheeky!!” to my phone:

Serena-Williams-Harpers-Bazaar-August-Cover-2019-1562717591

might wish her facial expression was a little zippier here, but I suspect this shot had the best combo of cape and derrière (if you can’t re-touch a photo, and you’re dealing with a wind machine, and a cape, and a bum, that’s a lot of moving pieces to juggle), and it’s still very eye-catching, to the point where I actually assumed this was British Harper’s Bazaar — it seemed too gutsy for the American version. Well! What do I know?

Finally: Serena is very busy this Wimbledon. She’s playing in singles, of course, but she’s also been playing mixed doubles with Andy Murray, and those matches are SO FUN TO WATCH. Doubles is entertaining anyway, but the two of them together are clearly just having a blast (or, were — they lost today). I don’t understand why I’m not at Wimbledon right now!

[Photos:  Alexi Lubomirski]