Serena Williams is entering the high-stakes, high-reward diverse beauty market

Beauty like a champ.
Beauty like a champ.
Image: REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
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Tennis champion Serena Williams is launching her own beauty line—and it’s going to be an empire (of course). The company, called Aneres (“Serena” spelled backwards), will be nothing if not comprehensive—with 18 beauty categories spanning lipstick, lip gloss, eyeshadow, powder, foundation, eyeliner, cosmetic cases, makeup brushes, mascara, makeup remover, skin care, perfume, body lotion, shampoo, dry shampoo, hair rinses, and hair spray and gel.

If Aneres sounds familiar, that’s because the name was trademarked for a defunct clothing line Williams launched back in 2003 (it’s now sold as Serena Williams Signature Statement on HSN). This time—for the first time—Williams is venturing into the cosmetics and personal care arenas. The all-encompassing beauty line isn’t tennis champ Williams’ only ambition for the near future. “I absolutely want more Grand Slams,” she told Vogue in 2017. “I’m well aware of the record books, unfortunately. It’s not a secret that I have my sights on 25.”

We don’t know what Williams’ beauty line will actually look like yet, but we can believe that the “rule-bound’ perfectionist (according to Vogue) will make excellent products that work for everyone—particularly women of color who’ve long been neglected by the cosmetics industry.

The good news for Aneres is that the minority-focused beauty brands that do exist are often blockbusters. Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty line, for instance, launched last September and was named one of Time magazine’s 25 best inventions of 2017. Fenty’s darker shades of Pro Filt’r Foundation (which has 40 shades total) sold out almost immediately after hitting shelves—proving not only that there was a deep neglect of dark skin in the cosmetics market, but also that darker skin makeup sells.

“I never could have anticipated the emotional connection that women are having with the products and the brand as a whole,” Rihanna told Time in 2017. “Some are finding their shade of foundation for the first time, getting emotional at the counter. That’s something I will never get over.”

In 2015, legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath, who received an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for her service to the UK’s fashion and beauty industries, launched her own beauty line, Pat McGrath Labs. The artist—who had previously helped brands like Dior, Gucci, and CoverGirl develop bestselling beauty products—initially launched her line with a unique gold face paint, Gold 001, that liquified upon mixing with solution. It sold out in six minutes in October 2015. Now, McGrath’s expanded collection, which includes lipstick and eyeshadow palettes for a range of skin tones, are sold at Sephora.

But beauty pioneers like Rihanna and McGrath aren’t Williams’ competitors—no matter how competitive Williams might be. They’re peers in a market that desperately needs more brands that are both innovative and women of color-inclusive. “It’s about giving women, especially women of color, choices,” Monika Deol, an Indian Canadian television personality who founded Stellar, a beauty line sold at Sephora, explained. “They’ve been waiting too long for options.”