Skylar Diggins-Smith: "Once I had my baby, I felt like I could do anything"

The basketball star tells Rihanna about motherhood, grit and her big dreams for 2020

by i-D Staff
20 January 2020, 6:00am

This story originally appeared in i-D's 'Rihannazine' Special Edition, no. 01, 2020. Order your copy here. For this one-off project, Rihanna put a series of questions to the women shaping culture today, and invited them to share their visions for 2020.

Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Skylar Diggins-Smith. I am a four-time WNBA All-Star, I am a wife, I am a mother, and so many other things.

How would you define success?
Success is relative. I actually think I might have a lot more failures than successes; I’m definitely my own worst critic. But success to me is setting goals for myself, and getting up every day and working out even when I don’t want to. Coming home and putting my son down for a nap, that’s a success. I think it’s about small victories. But yeah, ultimately things like winning games and championships, yadda yadda yadda, are examples of successes, too.

What do you think your biggest personal or professional success has been so far?
Probably the birth of my son. It was definitely was the best part of my life. It’s definitely the proudest I’ve been. Once I had my baby, I felt like I could do anything.

What would you describe as your biggest failure?
I don’t know what my biggest failure is. I definitely know I have failed several times. I don’t think it’s about categorising how big or small each failure was – it’s about picking yourself up and starting again. “Grit” is my favourite word.

As we’re heading into 2020, what are you taking with you into the next year, and what are you leaving behind in 2019?
I think change is the only thing that’s constant, and I’m just starting to be comfortable with going with the flow. That’s definitely what I want to go into 2020 with – being afraid of how big my dreams are and still having the audacity to chase them.

Have you met Rihanna before?
I’ve had a few encounters with Rihanna, and she’s been dope every time. She’s also always had something on that’s fly! She makes you feel special in that moment, and she never comes across as above it.

If you could ask Rihanna one question, what would it be?
How do you balance it all? What does balance look like to you? I know she probably has a great team, and a great support system, but I’m still wondering how she manages it.

skylar diggins-smith
Skylar wears dress Proenza Schouler.


Photography Mario Sorrenti
Styling Carlos Nazario

Hair AKKI at Art Partner using Oribe.
Make-up Kanako Takase at Streeters.
Nail technician Honey at Exposure NY using Tom Ford Beauty.
Set design Jack Flanagan at The Wall Group.
Lighting technician Lars Beaulieu.
Photography assistance Kotaro Kawashima, Javier Villegas and Jared Zegha.
Digital technician Johnny Vicari.
Styling assistance Raymond Gee, Erica Boisaubin and Christine Nicholson.
Tailor Thao Huynh.
Hair assistance Rei Kawauchi, Takao Hayashi and Motome Yamashita.
Make-up assistance Aimi Osada & Megumi Onishi.
Set design assistance Akaylah Reed and Joe Arai.
Production Katie Fash.
Production coordinator Layla Némejanski.
Production assistance Fujio Emura.
Casting director Samuel Ellis Scheinman for DMCASTING.
Casting assistance Cicek Brown for DMCASTING.

Mario Sorrenti