Champion gymnast Simone Biles wears a Bottega Veneta bodysuit.

Simone Biles Stands Up and Speaks Out in Vogue

Simone Biles is on the list of one of my favorite people. She’s a prolific gymnast that has persevered through a lot to get to where she is today. In her interview with Vogue, she talks about that perseverance from when she started gymnastics to today. Annie Leibovitz shot the photos of Simone that caught a bit of controversy through the dark editing of the photos. Some people saw it as the inability to edit black skin.

Biles is widely regarded as the greatest gymnast of all time. In the individual all-around category, she hasn’t lost a competition since 2013.
Dior Haute Couture dress

On Gymnastics Being a Beauty Contest

“No matter how good you are in your sport, in life, in work, the number one thing people talk about is how you look. You’re still going to thrive. You’re going to become somebody amazing and great. You guys are all beautiful, inside and out.”

Biles (seated, wearing an Alaïa dress), photographed in February 2020 with her family in Spring, Texas.
From left: Simone’s younger sister, Adria, her parents, Nellie and Ron, and their sons, Ron II and Adam.

On Receiving Rude Comments

“They focused on my hair. They focused on how big my legs were. But God made me this way, and I feel like if I didn’t have these legs or these calves, I wouldn’t be able to tumble as high as I can and have all of these moves named after me.”

The Tokyo Olympics have been postponed until (at least) July 2021.  “I’m starting to train toward it,” Biles said.
Alaïa crop top and shorts. Belts by Hermès and Alaïa. Sittings Editor: Phyllis Posnick. Hair, Nai’vasha Johnson; makeup, Fara Homidi.

On Being a Black Gymnast

“Growing up, I didn’t see very many Black gymnasts. So whenever I did, I felt really inspired to go out there and want to be as good as them. I remember watching Gabby Douglas win the 2012 Olympics, and I was like, If she can do it, I can do it.”

“I felt kind of torn and broken,” she said about the Olympics’ being postponed. “Obviously it was the right decision, but to have it finalized—you feel defeated because you’ve worked so hard.”
Marc Jacobs dress

On the Obligation to Speak Up

“Personally, for me, I don’t think of it as an obligation. I think of it as an honor to speak for the less fortunate and for the voiceless. I also feel like it gives them power.”

Biles is widely regarded as the greatest gymnast of all time. In the individual all-around category, she hasn’t lost a competition since 2013.
Dior Haute Couture dress.

On Sexual Abuse in Gynmastics

“But I was reading Maggie’s coverage and it just hit me. I was like, I’ve had the same treatments. I remember googling, like, sexually abused. Because I know some girls had it worse than me. I know that for a fact. So I felt like I wasn’t abused, because it wasn’t to the same extent as the other girls. Some of my friends had it really, really bad. They were his favorite. Since mine wasn’t to that capacity, I felt like it didn’t happen. “I felt like I knew, I just didn’t want to admit it to myself, that it had happened. Because I felt like, not that you’re supposed to be perfect, but I just felt like that’s what America wanted me to be—was perfect. Because every time an American wins the Olympics, you’re like America’s sweetheart. So it’s like, How could this happen to America’s sweetheart? That’s how I felt—like I was letting other people down by this.”

On the Future of Gymnastics

“We can’t feel comfortable promoting our sport if we fear that something might happen like this again because they’re not doing their part. And the hardest part for us is we’ve always done our part. We’ve always represented the U.S. to the best of our ability, and all the time, most of the time, every time I’ve represented, come back with gold medals. It’s like: We’ve done our part. Come on.

On Being Alone with Her Thoughts

“I think for athletes, it’s hard for us to be out of our element for such a long period of time. That kind of throws your whole balance off. Because you go to work out and you release endorphins. You get any anger out. It’s kind of our oasis. Without that, you’re stuck at home with your own thoughts. I’ve kind of let myself live in those thoughts, to read more deeply into them. At the gym, it’s a great distraction, so I never really live with my thoughts. Now it’s like, Okay, what are the depths of it? Sometimes I’ll write down little notes about how I’m feeling. Like, Today, it’s shit. Or Okay, I feel good, I feel content with this, this is the right decision, we need to make a plan. And then other days, I’m like, Are you joking? Another 15 months? I don’t know if I can do that. So it’s been nice to be able to live with them because I avoid them a lot of the time. That’s my way of protecting my mind.”

On Change in the Black Community

“We need change. We need justice for the Black community. With the peaceful protests it’s the start of change, but it’s sad that it took all of this for people to listen,” she said. “Racism and injustice have existed for years with the Black community. How many times has this happened before we had cell phones?”

On the Impact of Breonna Taylor

“With everyone speaking up and the traction that Ahmaud and George are getting. Breonna will be remembered. She’s going to find justice. They’re already reopening her case. I’m happy for that. But I just don’t understand. She was sleeping. How do you feel threatened when you’re a police officer and they’re sleeping? Come on now.”

On Peaceful Protesting and Colin Kaepernick

“We tried peaceful protesting. Then Colin Kaepernick—he lost his job. He lost his career. They took his whole entire career away from that poor man. And look at us now. It’s working. You just have to be the first and people will follow.”