Naomi Osaka is known globally as one of the best tennis athletes of all time, but she’s also forging her own path as an entrepreneur, activist, and advocate. Unapologetic about everything from protecting her well-being to promoting the brands she aligns with and invests in, Naomi is firmly rooted in the belief that life is bigger than tennis. Now, in the cover story for the September issue of Women’s Health––written by editor in chief Liz Plosser––Naomi proves that strength and softness are an unbeatable combo, opening up with refreshing transparency about prioritizing her mental health, inspiring young athletes, and redefining what strength looks like––all on her own terms.
On making some people in the sports community uncomfortable with her bold decision to step away from traditional press obligations: “We live in a world where people are so quick to speak and to comment. Silence is almost uncomfortable.”
On viewing her introspective nature as a superpower: “Growing up being [labeled] ‘the quiet one’ puts you in a box and, even worse, makes you stand out when all you want is to blend in. But now I try to embrace and own it.”
On her journey with anxiety and depression: “I hope I was able to help some people and for them to see that even athletes are still humans like the rest of us. And we all are dealing with something in our lives.”
On founding the skin-care company Kinlò, and the illuminating process of creating sun care “specifically for skin like [her] own”: “I never imagined how eye-opening the statistics on skin cancer in Brown and Black skin would be. It wasn’t enough to make products that didn’t turn our dark skin white and didn’t have harsh chemicals. I also wanted to dispel the myth that just because you have dark skin and don’t burn means you don’t need to take care of and protect that skin.”
On how her business and philanthropic projects power up her mental health: “The thought that a gesture, an activation, a program can impact and change a life, that’s really powerful to me. Of all the things I do, I find that when I am doing my best to help others, it’s most fulfilling.”
On being firmly rooted in the belief that life is bigger than tennis: “Now more than ever I see that you can be more than just one thing. More than just someone who plays tennis.”
The September issue of ‘Women’s Health’ hits newsstands nationwide on August 31.
[Photo Credit: Djeneba Aduayom for Women’s Health Magazine]