Serena Williams starred in the latest Gatorade ad in a whole new role: Mom. It might be the most moving performance yet for the acclaimed athlete.
Throughout the commercial, Williams whispers sage advice to her newborn baby girl, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. (well, sort of—Alexis was ill, so another baby filled in). Nevertheless, Williams’ message is compelling, and we have no doubt her own daughter and many other girls will hear it loud and clear.
The video begins with Williams cradling a baby.
“Baby girl, I won’t mind if you play tennis badly. I won’t mind if you choose to never pick up a racket,” she says. “But I beg you, in this game of life, please keep playing no matter what.”
Then, the ad moves on to feature girls playing soccer, basketball, volleyball and lacrosse and racing around the track as Williams waxes poetic about the benefits of playing sports.
“Just like it taught me, sports will teach you to be strong,” Williams says in the ad. “You’ll discover the power and grace of your body. You’ll learn to move and you’ll learn the way to move others. Sports will teach you the strength of your allies, whether your bond is by blood or by ball. Whether she shares the color of your skin or the color of your jersey, you’ll find your sisters in sweat.”
Williams promoted the Gatorade commercial on her Instagram when it debuted Monday.
The ad is part of Gatorade’s “Sisters in Sweat” campaign, which was created to motivate girls to continue playing sports. It counteracts the trend of girls quitting when they don’t see a professional future. In fact, girls drop out of sports at 1.5 times the rate of boys by the age of 14. Yet, Gatorade says girls who do keep playing are more successful later in life.
In the inspiring commercial, Williams promotes teamwork and perseverance on and off the field.
“Sometimes you’ll score a goal. Sometimes you won’t,” she says. “But the goals you set, you’ll reach together. You’ll find the courage to stand tall, work harder and speak louder on whatever playing field you choose in life. So keep playing, my girl. Keep playing.”
It wraps up with a montage of photos of actresses and businesswomen playing sports as young girls. This powerful closing sentiment scrolls across the screen: “The lessons learned in sports will help you win beyond the field. Keep playing.”
Grab a box of tissues before you watch the clip below and see how quickly the poignant words stir up emotion for you.