As the current No. 3-ranked tennis player on the planet and a 6’2 knockout, Maria Sharapova would have good reason to let her whole life revolve around her chosen sport and the endorsements that have followed. But the 25-year-old, who recently made our Most Stylish Athletes list, is always in search of a new challenge—whether on- or off-court. She’s got ongoing design contracts with both Cole Haan and Nike. And yesterday, she launched her latest project, a candy collection adorably titled Sugarpova. The line’s comprised of 12 different varieties of colorful sweets—some shaped like tennis balls, others like tiny stilettos and handbags. And while a candy brand might seem an odd endeavor for an athlete, it turns out that sugar and sports have long been linked for this particular superstar. I met up with Maria at Sugarpova’s NYC launch to get the scoop.
Lucky: What’s your earliest candy-related memory, and why’d you decide to create Sugarpova in the first place?
Maria Sharapova: When I was little, I’d ask my parents for a lollipop after tennis practice—Chupa Chups were my favorite! And they were rare in Russia, so you’d have to go to a certain place to get them—you couldn’t find them everywhere. So after a great practice, I’d always ask my mom for a lollipop. I’ve always viewed it like that—if I work out, have a good practice, or achieve something I wanted to achieve, I treat myself, whether it’s with candy or food, or…I mean, for me it’s usually food or candy! [laughs]
I’m obsessed with the lips logo you chose. How’d you come up with that?
Well, I’ve always loved lips—this ring, which I’ve had for forever, has little lips on it! I have so much jewelry that has lip images—and not that I’d wear it all at once, of course, but I’ve always thought there was something interesting about that image. It’s playful and fun. I wanted the shapes and the forms of the candy itself to be really playful, too—there are worms, and spiders, and these little licorice bits that don’t even taste like actual licorice…
And those little tennis ball gumballs are adorable.
I know, I love how those came out. I mean, when you mass-produce something like candy, when there are thousands and thousands of each item going into bags, it’s easy to lose quality. And quality was something that was really important to me—I blind-tested gummy bears, went to the factory in Spain for production, everything!
Let’s talk fashion for a bit. What’s your personal style like when you’re off-court?
My style’s literally about living out of a suitcase. Everything in my suitcase has to work together. I love layering, since I am always on a plane—and whenever I shop, I look for materials that won’t wrinkle. Like I love silk, but I usually only travel with one or two silk blouses. Because with every city I go to, I have to pack and unpack them, and iron them. I love Isabel Marant and the fabrics she uses. Her sweaters are great. Phillip Lim’s pants are great. And I love Rick Owens’ long skirts and pants, too.
You’ve got ongoing design contracts with both Nike and Cole Haan. What’s your process like in terms of dreaming up new tennis dresses and accessories?
I’m so inspired by traveling. I love street style, and it’s something I really appreciate it during my travels. I like to really visualize how girls carry their accessories and carry themselves. I’ve played sports since I was a young girl, so I feel like when I come into a fit meeting, I am knowledgeable about that kind of thing. Over the years—in gyms and classes, and on tennis courts—I’ve seen so many people, and not just professionals, play. I always study that—are most of them wearing skirts? Do they like tank tops or long sleeves? I do my research, because that’s important to me—what people actually need and want, and what feels good. We’re not making couture here!
You’re a tall girl, to say the least. When it comes to dressing yourself, how do you overcome the fit issues that go along with having a 6’2 frame?
Tailoring is the most important thing—for everyone, but especially for tall girls. I think if you can spend your money on good tailoring, it can take you really far. But don’t get an item knowing it needs to be altered—just don’t buy it! I love high-waisted pants because they slim and elongate you. Tops are a problem for me—finding t-shirts that are long enough. So many times, you wash them and then they shrink! So I usually buy them on the bigger side. I actually like them to be a little looser—you can tuck them in in the front, and leave them out in the back, which looks really good.
And I know you’re a big fan of the ballet flat, shoe-wise. You designed a really good pair for your Cole Haan collection…
Oh, I love them! That was a no-brainer for me. When I started working with Cole Haan, I brought in so many images of ballerinas and ballet. And I was like, "I know what they’re doing looks extremely uncomfortable, but I want to have a ballerina flat that’s comfortable." Since I’m always on the go, those can take me from an important meeting to a more casual dinner. They’ve been doing so well!
Would you ever consider launching your own ready-to-wear collection? One that’s not necessarily geared toward sports?
You know, maybe when I have time! I love seeing things start from an idea and come to life. That’s been my favorite thing about all the collections I’ve done so far. I’m fascinated by that process. So yes, I’d love to.
When it comes to your beauty regimen, you have to choose products that’ll work during your workouts, which I’m sure can be challenging. What do you usually use?
Sunscreen‘s so important, obviously—I use a Kiehl’s suncreen on my face, and a Kanebo one—it’s this Japanese brand—for my body. As far as makeup, it’s a lot of Kanebo—I love their concealer pen. I use Lancôme mascara, and then this moisturizer from a brand called Glimpse, which not many people have heard of.
Give us a taste of your late-summer playlist.
It totally depends on how I’m feeling. I’ve been listening to a lot of Florence + The Machine—so good—and I went through an Adele phase recently too. U2 always gets me going. I’m a little all over the map!
Thanks so much, Maria. Will we be seeing you at Fashion Week? I know you’ve got a busy month ahead, what with the US Open…
It depends on my schedule—I always do things so last-minute! I’m always like, "Oh, you have a seat for me? OK, great!"
More on Luckymag.com:
- The Lucky List: 100 Most Stylish Athletes
- Jen Brill and Opening Ceremony’s Olivia Kim Design for Cole Haan
- True Blood‘s Kristin Bauer van Straten on the Comfiest Corset She’s Ever Worn
- Tia Mowry’s Favorite Things From Lucky‘s September Issue
- Solange Knowles’ Full Campaign for Madewell, Right This Way
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