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Venus Williams to body-shamers: 'My body looks the way it is because I'm strong'

by Venus Williams / / Source: TODAY Contributor

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Venus Williams is best known for being a champion professional tennis player, but she's also a talented and creative entrepreneur. She's the chief executive officer of interior design firm V Starr Interiors, and in 2007 she launched a fashion line with Steve & Barry's. Here, she tells TODAY why she loves producing inclusive clothing for women of all sizes.

For me, personal style was a journey. I was born in the '80s, so there have certainly been some bad fashion choices on my part. But over time, I've found my style.

Now, my goal is helping other women find theirs.

The message I hope to send to my fans through EleVen, my clothing line, is that you should always be aiming for your personal best. That means you should go past reaching for a "10" and instead reach for that "11." Still, whatever your own "11" is, accept that.

What it's not aboutis comparing yourself to anyone besides that best version of yourself.

RELATED: Melissa Joan Hart talks body acceptance: 'Not everyone can be Barbie'

If you're larger, you're larger. If you're smaller, you're smaller. Just make sure that you know the best person you can be, realistically, and always strive to be her. What you don't want to do is see the best person someone else can be and strive to be them.

Stay true to yourself.

Welcome to our first annual TODAY Style Heroes list, honoring 40 actors, designers, athletes and revolutionaries changing the style world.

The truth is, there have been so many people who have body-shamed Serena and me. They've said things like, "Oh, they're too muscular," and, "Oh, they look too much like men." If I look like a guy, great, whatever. I don't really care.

My body looks the way it is because I'm strong, I work hard and I train hard. It's an achievement of mine, and I'm in control of it.

I want others to feel this.

Venus Williams
Venus Williams celebrates after defeating Julia Goerges of Germany during their 2016 US Open Women's Singles match.AFP - Getty Images

When your self-talk gets to a place where you know who you are and what's in your heart, nobody can touch you. And that's an incredible moment.

I design for women of all body shapes and sizes because I want everyone to feel secure about themselves. There's just no feeling like it.

And at the end of the day, we have to stop judging ourselves. If we stop that and instead let go and focus on the things we're achieving and the incredible people we are, that's a thousand times more important than anything else in between.

As told to TODAY's Rebekah Lowin.

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