Allyson Felix is one of the most decorated athletes of all time. She’s one of the greatest sprinters ever. She’s the woman who took a risk and stood up for herself—and women and girls around the world—when she opened up about her Nike pregnancy story for The New York Times.
But Felix’s legacy extends beyond being able to run 400 meters in 49.26 seconds and having 12 gold world championships medals to her name. “It’s about speaking up and using my voice and also passing this down to my daughter,” Felix says about her latest campaign with Pantene. “For them to celebrate legacy not only through my running and what I’ve done on the track, but through the things I’ve done away from the track, that’s something that’s really cool.”
We bond over the fact that at one point, the Pantene Gold Series was one of the only collections created with Black hair in mind. “I remember every morning going to my mom’s room, her doing my hair, and then now I’m doing that for my daughter. I’m just really embracing those moments and using them as teaching moments and bonding moments with her,” she says.
It’s also an opportunity to instill confidence in her daughter, Camryn, by telling and showing her to embrace her curls and wear her hair in any style that makes her feel good. “I always want my daughter to feel that and to never have a second thought about it.”
As Camryn gets older and begins to realize the impact her mother has had in sport and in life, “I really hope that she looks at me and sees that I always stood up for what I believe was right, and when things weren’t, that I called things out,” says Felix. “I hope that’s something that I can give to her as well: That she knows her value, that she knows her worth, and that she never stands for less than that.” She also hopes Camryn will see the confidence she’s had throughout various experiences and lessons learned on and off the track.
It’s also important for her to share the challenges she’s faced throughout her journey. “Sometimes you do have to be that person who has to take the consequences, but it’s always about doing something for someone else and advocating for someone else if you’re in the position to do so,” she says.
When asked how she would define beauty to Camryn, Felix says, “I would want her to know that it is about being comfortable in who you are in your own skin. I think that there is beauty in so many different things, and it is not just this one singular way.” She admits that society makes it hard to embrace this as one look is often celebrated, but “I hope to really surround her with women who look all different ways and show her that beauty comes in all different sizes and really help her to embrace that because I want her to have confidence and to know that there’s not just one standard of beauty.”
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