Serena Williams on why her daughter's 'Qai Qai' doll is so important: 'beginning of a new kind of toy story'

Serena Williams' daughter Olympia's doll is popular online.
Serena Williams' daughter Olympia's doll is popular online. Photo: Instagram

Just like her tennis skills, Serena Williams' social media game is strong.

Not only does the tennis superstar have a huge following on Instagram, so does her three-year-old daughter Olympia Ohanian and now, her 'granddaughter' – Olympia's favourite (and well-travelled) doll, Qai Qai! - has a fan base of her own too.

Qai Qai's Instagram account amassed more than 152,000 followers since September 2018, charming followers with the posts about race, feminism and mental health.

The family wasn't sure how people would react to 'Qai Qai's story' on social media - but they were encouraged to continue her story via Instagram and Twitter when they had a positive response.

Now, the doll is so popular that you can purchase your own for your kids - and they're selling fast!

"It became obvious very quickly that a lot of parents could relate with how much Qai Qai means to our daughter," Williams told TODAY Parents, saying they wanted the share that joy with others.

"I love to connect with my fans on social media and it only made sense to give Qai Qai that same platform."

"When we first opened @RealQaiQai's account on Instagram two years ago, it was just supposed to be an inside joke," Williams wrote in an Instagram post. 

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"But we've come to realise that Qai Qai could be the beginning of a new kind of toy story, and one that we're excited to help bring to life so our daughter and millions of other children can see and play with more toys that look like them."

Although it's unclear who runs Qai Qai's official account, there's speculation that William's husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian is the mastermind behind the clever posts.

Although some have called the creation of Qai Qai as a way to facilitating teaching certain life lessons a 'parenting hack', Williams says there's no such thing.

"I actually think we shouldn't have 'parenting secrets' — there isn't one right way to be a mum and no one secretly has it figured out," she said.

"Mums set such high expectations for themselves to have it all figured out and to make it look effortless while doing it, but that just isn't possible."

The Qai Qai doll is now available on Amazon.