The SVA Theater in New York City merged the world of sports and style Monday night to celebrate a woman who excels at both at the premiere of “Serena.” EPIX and Serena Williams teamed up to produce the original documentary that details the highs and lows of her incredible year — from pursuing four Grand Slam titles to launching a clothing line, and being named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year.
Williams told Variety that she initially had her doubts about the intimate coverage. “Everyone’s going to have their reservations,” she admitted. “How is it going to turn out? How is it going to look, and how’s it going to be received and perceived?” Regardless, she braved the nearly 24/7 camera crew in hopes of motivating others.
“She was very brave in allowing a filmmaker to be that close to her in the highs and lows,” said director Ryan White. “She trusted me. I showed her the film a couple of months ago for the first time and she asked for nothing to be changed, and I have to give her credit for that.”
EPIX president Mark Greenberg said the network decided to focus on Williams because she is an iconic figure. “She is a remarkable role model for all women and we were thrilled to shine a light on her amazing career.”
Greenberg was not the only person singing her praises. Tommy Hilfiger and wife Dee said they came out because they “love her, simple.” Karlie Kloss shared how much she looks up to the four-time Olympic Gold medalist. “She’s a role model, friend, and I really admire her in every way.”
After the screening, Gayle King lead a Q&A session with Williams and White before guests, including Vera Wang, Anna Wintour and Spike Lee, enjoyed a tray of seafood, and Moet champagne while listening to old school and modern hip-hop tracks at the Top of the Standard.
“Serena” premieres June 22.