Naomi Osaka is at the top of her game. Currently ranked the number one female tennis player in the world, Osaka is a major force on the court, and is already well on her way to becoming an international icon.
Born in Japan to a Japanese mother and a Haitian–American father, Osaka moved to New York when she was three years old. She started her professional career in 2013 and rose quickly, becoming the first woman to win consecutive Grand Slam singles titles since Serena Williams in 2015. Today, the 22-year-old is a bona fide celebrity. With all that attention comes constant speculation about her personal life, from who she’s dating to whether or not she’ll maintain her Japanese citizenship ahead of the upcoming Olympics.
Life in the public eye means that the highs and lows of life are scrutinized as well, and Osaka handles them all graciously. In July, Osaka left her Wimbledon press conference in tears after a first-round loss. Shortly before arriving in Toronto for the Rogers Cup, she shared her struggles in an Instagram post, writing, “I haven’t had fun playing tennis since Australia.” By the end of the August tournament, Osaka had clearly bounced back, and shared a photo of herself smiling during a match to prove it.
So how did she rediscover that joy on the court? “For me, I just had that little break and I was watching matches and thinking, ‘Wow, I really want to play again,’” she explains. “At the same time, I’ve had little kids come up to me and tell me they look up to me. That’s something I definitely don’t take for granted. I want to, if possible, keep inspiring kids to play tennis.”
The pressure of life in the spotlight certainly hasn’t dampened Osaka’s youthful spirit. While in Toronto, she did what any member of Gen Z would do and snapped some pics in the city’s colourful Graffiti Alley. In fact, putting together personal photoshoots in her room is one way that she pumps herself up when she’s feeling down. “I really love fashion and makeup, and I feel like that’s a way that you can embody something other than yourself sometimes,” she says. “The thing about makeup is that you can play with it and you don’t have to do the same thing every time. I do like experimenting with makeup, but I don’t necessarily leave the house with my experiment on.”
In June, Osaka took her relationship with cosmetics to the next level when she became the new Global Power of Good Ambassador for clean beauty brand bareMinerals. It was the cruelty-free aspect of bareMinerals that resonated most with Osaka, who’s a dog-mom to Panda, a miniature Australian shepherd. Her highly active lifestyle makes Osaka the perfect representative for the brand’s bestselling performance foundation, as well as her status as a role model with poise and authenticity in spades. “To me, beauty means originality,” she says. “Everyone in the world looks different. Everyone has their unique look.”