Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. is Serena Williams’ mini me—and her look at last night’s U.S. Open was the ultimate proof. While the tennis pro took the court in what’s expected to be her last competition ahead of retirement, the little one, 4, sat in the stands. She cheered, she snapped some photos, she even wore a matching Nike tennis outfit. But perhaps the most awe-inducing part of the whole scene was that she had her hair styled in beaded braids that doubled as a sweet tribute to her mom.
Allow us to jog your memory: The tennis pro, along with sister Venus Williams, wore her hair in that exact hairstyle (right down to the color of the beads) during her early career. In fact, she made a statement with the look at her first-ever U.S. Open competition circa 1997 when she was only 17 years old. I mean come on, does it get any cuter than this?!
Williams has previously opened up about the importance of wearing her hair in braids in the public eye. In a My Life in Looks video for Vogue published earlier this month, the mom of one shared that while her mom, Oracene Price, was still doing her hair at the time of her first competition, she had the "freedom" to pick out the beads. “I started going from the straight beads to wearing heart beads. I was like, ‘I don’t want to wear as many beads.’ So, I had more cornrows because I was trying to get away from the beads,” she revealed.
Now, Serena has made a point to pass down the braiding tradition to Olympia. “Braiding started in Africa with the Himba people of Namibia. We have been braiding our hair for centuries. In many African tribes braided hairstyles were a unique way to identify each tribe. Because of the time it would take people would often take the time to socialize,” she captioned a 2019 Instagram photo with her daughter. “It began with the elders braiding their children, then the children would watch and learn from them. The tradition of bonding was carried on for generations, and quickly made its way across the world. I am honored to share this bonding experience with my own daughter and add another generation of historic traditions.”
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Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and keeps up with the latest trends in the beauty space. She has previously written for Us Weekly, Popsugar, Makeup.com, Skincare.com, and Philadelphia Wedding. Follow her on Instagram @samholender.
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