Naomi Osaka Stars in New Levi's Campaign and Opens Up About Her Future in Fashion Design
Tennis champion Naomi Osaka has been landing fashion campaigns like they're Grand Slam titles. The 23-year-old athlete has collaborated on collections with Nike and Adeam, starred in Louis Vuitton and TAG Heuer ads earlier this month, and now she's serving up another fashionable hit, appearing in Levi's new "Beauty of Becoming" series.
The powerful campaign and video highlights the "journey of becoming" with an inspirational lineup of stars including Willow and Jaden Smith, 13 Reasons Why's Brandon Flynn, actress and model Leyna Bloom, celebrity stylist Karla Welch, activist Dolores Huerta, disability rights advocate Haben Girma, and Osaka, to name a few.
"It was important to share my story in case I can help or inspire anyone," Osaka, a three-time Grand Slam champion, tells PEOPLE about participating in the series. "My goal is really to raise awareness, so this campaign gave me that platform, which I'm very grateful for."
In the video, which was directed by filmmaker Oge Egbuonu, and features a "floral labyrinth" to represent "the many twists and turns of life," Osaka wears a two-tone trucker jacket and jeans as she shares advice she would give her 14-year-old self on trusting the "journey" of becoming who she is today. "I feel like everyone has their experiences that shape them into a person, and no one can take that away from you," she says in the video.
Speaking with PEOPLE, Osaka say she hopes to inspire anyone currently figuring out their path to greatness to remember to stay true to themselves. "Don't compare yourself to anyone because the path that you're on is yours and yours only," she shares. "You decide the outcome of your life."
Osaka says she had "a lot of fun" filming on the "very chill" set and has been a longtime fan of Levi's adding, "I mean isn't everyone? It's so iconic and a heritage brand." Her go-to style is a wide-leg jean, and says she loves pairing feminine tops with light washes when she wants to look "casual but a bit more elevated."
The tennis champion (who is currently ranked third in the world and made history at the 2018 US Open when she defeated Serena Williams, becoming the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam title) has a deep knowledge and love for fashion. In addition to Nike and Adeam, she designed a limited-edition line of handbags for Strathberry, created a custom sneaker for Comme des Garçons and says she has her sights set on designing even more in the future.
"I'd like to start my own brand one day, probably together with my sister, but for now I'm loving collab'ing with some great designers and learning the craft and the business," Osaka says, referring to her older sister Mari Osaka, who is also a professional tennis player.
In addition to starring in Louis Vuitton and TAG Heuer campaigns this month, which she called "such an honor," she's not done yet. "I'm working on a few more collaborations that will come out in 2021. I can't say exactly what yet, but I'm super excited. Watch this space."
Osaka has not only been cultivating her fashion career the past few months, but she's also been gearing up to compete in the Australian Open which starts on Feb. 8. So how does she balance it all, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic?
"I think having interests outside of tennis, like fashion, has definitely helped me have a balance," she shares. "It's been such a difficult time for so many people — I'm grateful to have been kept busy and able to work. Not everyone has been so fortunate."
The Levi's campaign, which also features Angie Beyince, Beyoncé's cousin and Vice President of Operations at Parkwood Entertainment, No Vacancy Inn's Tremaine Emory, activist Xiye Bastida and co-founder of the Brown Berets, Carlos Montes, launches to coincide with Black History Month and features photography by Shaniqwa Jarvis.
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