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VOGUE DEBUT: Simone Biles Opens Up About Breakup With Boyfriend, Racism, Battling Depression & How She’s Handling The Postponed Olympics

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The greatest gymnast of all time makes her VOGUE debut for the August 2020 issue! Get into Simone Biles’ amazing covers, spread, a video filled with all her beauty secrets and more! Get it all inside…

 
 
 
 
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@simonebiles stars on the cover of our August issue! With the 2020 Olympics postponed and a shadow hung over American gymnastics, Biles–who is widely regarded as the greatest gymnast of all time—has had to be resilient as never before. When Biles was first photographed in February and interviewed in March for this cover story, America was also a different place. Since then, the coronavirus pandemic has upended regular patterns of life and #BlackLivesMatter protests have occurred from coast to coast. “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,” Biles said. “Racism and injustice have existed for years with the Black community.” At the link in our bio, Vogue reports on a champion looking ahead. Photographed in Feb. 2020 by @annieleibovitz, styled by @phyllis_posnick, written by @abbyaguirre, Vogue, August 2020

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Olympic Gold Medalist. NY Times Best Seller. Gymnastics Game Changer. Dog Mom.

Simone Biles wears many hats, but she’s arguably the greatest gymnast of all time, toting 30 Olympic and World Championship medals. Sis is AMAZING and VOGUE is just now jumping on the bandwagon.

Shot by Annie Leibovitz, the 23-year-old flosses her incredible physique in a red Bottega Veneta bodysuit for the August 2020 issue of VOGUE magazine. It’s her very first time covering the magazine and - of course - she slayed it like she does her gymnastics routines. It’s rare to see a black female athlete on the cover of VOGUE, so this is a big deal. We’re gagging!

Perfection.

In the interview (that was conducted in early March before the COVID-19 pandemic crippled the U.S.), the Olympic gold medalist really let her fans into her life, speaking of sensitive topics and making sure she was crystal clear on where she stands on certain issues.

The BOMB gymnast shares she and her gymnast boyfriend of nearly three-years, Stacey Ervin Jr., have called it quits during quarantine. Aww! After sharing with the world they were a couple, they often posted cutesy coupledom flicks on their social media accounts. However, it just didn't work out.

“It’s hard being young and having that long of a relationship and then ending it,” Simone tells the publication about her breakup. “But it was for the best.”

The Ohio native is making big moves. Literally. A breakup isn't stopping her glow up. She has a new home she's settling into and she recently gave her fans a sneak peek on social media:

A new environment is good for the young athlete, especially with everything that's going on right now.

“I think for athletes, it’s hard for us to be out of our element for such a long period of time,” Simone tells the magazine. “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 sh*t. 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.”

2020 has been SO insane and we're only half through the year. First, the COVID-19 pandemic literally shut the nation down and then the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd reignited the Black Lives Matter movement like never before. Simone shares her thoughts about racism, the BLM movement, and her disappointment after learning how black EMT, Breonna Taylor, was killed by police while sleeping in her home.

I last spoke to Biles in early June. The world was now exploding with outrage over the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and so many others, the disproportionate impact the pandemic was having on Black and brown people, and a horror show of police violence on display at protests from coast to coast. “We need change,” Biles said in response. “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?”

It was the morning of what would have been Breonna Taylor’s 27th birthday, and tributes to the emergency medical technician—killed in March by Louisville, Kentucky, police officers who barged into her home without warning just after midnight and shot her eight times—were flooding the internet. “With everyone speaking up and the traction that Ahmaud and George are getting,” Biles said, “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.” Media debates over protest tactics also struck Biles as odd. “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,” she said. “It’s working. You just have to be the first and people will follow.”

The author talks about her important role in holding the governing body of gymnastics accountable, especially when it comes to sexual abuse.

Another asked, “Do you think you’re obligated to stand up when something bad is going on in society?” The question summoned the specter of Larry Nassar, the longtime USA Gymnastics doctor who is now serving a sentence of up to 175 years for the sexual abuse of athletes, including Biles. For two years and counting, she has been trying to hold officials in her sport accountable. “Personally, for me, I don’t think of it as an obligation,” Biles said. “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.”

After the Nassar trial, Simone battled with depression.

That summer, Biles moved out of Ron and Nellie’s house and into a condo of her own—the beginning of an “adulting” process, she told me. For a while she could do little more than sleep. “I was very depressed,” Biles said. “At one point I slept so much because, for me, it was the closest thing to death without harming myself. It was an escape from all of my thoughts, from the world, from what I was dealing with. It was a really dark time.”

So glad that's behind her now.

The World Champions Centre, where the YBF gymnast trains six days a week, was shut down indefinitely due to COVID-19 and Simone was distraught she couldn't train/workout. Then, the 2020 Summer Olympics were postponed until next year, July 202! As you can imagine, this CRUSHED Simone.

“I felt kind of torn and broken,” she said. “Obviously it was the right decision, but to have it finalized—in a way, you feel defeated because you’ve worked so hard.” There is a science to “peaking,” timing your training to reach optimal shape at precisely the moment you are scheduled to, say, compete in the Olympics. Not only would Biles have to redraw the plan, she would also have to interact with USAG another year. “We were gripping at the bars, and I just started crying. Another year of dealing with USAG. That, I don’t know if I can take.”

At first, Biles wasn’t sure how she would stay in shape. Adria asked if she had any dumbbells at home. (“First of all, in the gym, I don’t even use dumbbells,” Biles told me. “Why would I have a dumbbell set at home?”) Eventually she started improvising. She did a “twerk-out” class she found on YouTube. She went to a local track and did 100-meter sprints (a first). She even participated in an internet meme—the handstand challenge, in which celebrities like Tom Holland and Jake Gyllenhaal did handstands against a wall and, while inverted, slowly put on T-shirts. Biles did a free handstand (no wall) and held it for nearly a minute, removing her sweatpants with her toes.

Biles settled into something of a routine. She had Zoom sessions with her coaches, Cecile and Laurent Landi, three days a week. She walked her French bulldog, Lilo. (Five weeks in, she adopted a second one, a puppy she named Rambo.) And she did more adulting, fully inhabiting a new house she bought last year and expanding her repertoire of slow-cooker recipes (burrito bowls, pork chops).

So, Simone Biles is learning to adjust to her new life as she prepares to snatch up all the gold medals at the Olympics near year. And we can't wait to watch and cheer her on. You can read more from her interview here.

Watch Simone Biles reveal her beauty secrets, from Epsom salt baths to show-stealing eyeshadow, training diet and more below:

We already know she's going to kill it at the Olympics next year!

Bonus:

 

 

Some folks were not happy a black woman wasn't chosen to photograph Simone for VOGUE. And most we're impressed with the photos that made it to the magazine. Peep the thread above. Thoughts?

Photo: SaltyView/Shutterstock.com/Simone's IG

 

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