Words to live by
Ana Ivanovic, tennis pro, inspirational speaker and now Intimissimi brand ambassador. At the age of just 18, she was competing professionally, was named a ‘Legend of Women’s Tennis’ by Time magazine in 2011, before retiring last year after a one hell of a professional tennis career. Time for a rest, you’d think?
No, this is Ana Ivanovic we’re talking about, one of the most self-motivated women we’ve met, who even had time to meet us behind the scenes at the fourth edition of Intimissimi On Ice to talk all things social media, role models and of course, tennis…
If you had one bit of advice for women to take with them everywhere, what would it be?
I think it’s very important that they trust and are confident in their own abilities, because we are all unique and special and strive towards something. We need to make sure those are the right values and strengths and aren’t unrealistic, because so many women and young girls try to be something they’re not. We can’t all be, I don’t know, tall, we can’t all be skinny, we can’t all have muscle-y legs, or whatever it is that women want to have. So it’s important to find what suits you and to believe in that and sort of follow that dream or passion.
Is there one female role model in particular that you look to for inspiration?
For my tennis career I always looked up to Monica Seles. At the moment I really like Jessica Alba and Meryl Streep. I like the message that they send; I’ve never had the honour to meet them so I can’t say what kind of people they are! But from what I’ve seen and how they present themselves in the public eye, I really admire them.
How did you get into tennis?
No-one in my family had ever played tennis before but I watched it on TV, and watched Monica Seles, and really liked it. So I told my mum I wanted to play and for my fifth birthday I got a tennis racket, and that’s when I started. I’m 30 now, so I’ve been playing for 25 years.
If you could choose anyone living or dead to play a doubles match with, who would that be?
‘Roger Federer. I think he’s just amazing; I’ve been part of exhibition teams he’s played and performed a few times. He’s just amazing, the talent he possesses.’
You have a massive Instagram following, do you ever feel any social pressure or do you find it fun, and how do you think that impacted the campaign?
‘I have a different connection to social media now compared with when I started playing tennis. When I was playing I always felt a little bit more judged and a bit more, ‘Oh my god are you in a city and walking around when you should be resting or playing or practising?’ It was always a little bit more judgmental.
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Now it’s different because obviously I have other focuses and other things I want to achieve and do. I try to stay in touch with my friends because I think it’s very important. So now I have a little bit more fun with Instagram, I would say. When I was playing tennis I worked a lot, now I really try to take time for myself and spend time with friends and family whenever I can because it’s important. Those times are precious.
What’s the one item of clothing you wear over and over again?
‘I love dresses. I have thousands of summer dresses! They’re just so easy and effortless, and look so nice and summery.’
How did you get involved with the Intimissimi campaign?
I got invited to their event last year and I really enjoyed it. I had a great time talking to everyone involved in the brand and the campaign and for me it had a real family feel. So when they approached me I was really excited and happy to do it, because I really feel it represents who I am and that I can relate to the brand and their philosophy. For me that’s very important.
What is it about the brand that you really relate to?
I think it’s that family feel and the fact that we all want similar things; the approach and the way the campaign is structured is exactly the message I’m trying to send. It’s about strong women and being comfortable in who we are; we all come in different shapes and sizes, we’re all special in our own way and it’s very important to remember and embrace that. As a woman, you want to encourage other women to stand up for their rights, that’s why I really could relate to the campaign.
It was shot by Mario Testino, how was that?
That was amazing, I was so excited – I think it was the first time I’ve ever been nervous for a shoot! I was like: ‘Oh my god…’ [But] he was super nice and really quick, and it was a really, really amazing experience. I actually became friends with some people from the shoot. I enjoyed that because I think, at the end of the day, who you are as a person is important and being nice stays with you throughout your life. He was really brilliant.