Angel Reese told Women’s Health that she wants to inspire women with her confidence. (Credit: LSU Athletics)

In an interview with Women’s Health Magazine this month, the women’s basketball forward for the Louisiana State University Tigers acknowledged just how important Black women were in her upbringing, including her mother Angel Webb Reese, who played basketball for the University of Maryland at Baltimore County in the late 80s and early 90s.

“You don’t see a lot of confident women, especially confident Black women, because people overshadow us a lot,” she told Women’s Health. “I’m trying to change that.”

Reese previously made headlines last year for her controversial gestures toward University of Iowa superstar Caitlin Clark during an NCAA championship game, which sparked conversations on social media about racism and class. Some critics labeled Reese as classless while others defended her, calling the criticism hypocritical. Many noted that Clark, who is white, made the same gestures at a previous game without any backlash. In a post-game press conference, Reese called the incident a double standard that many Black women like herself face.

“I don’t fit in a box that y’all want me to be in. I’m too hood. I’m too ghetto. But when other people do it, y’all say nothing,” she said at the press conference. “So this was for the girls that look like me, that’s going to speak up on what they believe in.”

Reese told Women’s Health that she enjoys being able to compete with Clark and “still be cool after, regardless of the outside noise.”

The online backlash wasn’t the only challenge Reese had to face. She initially joined the University of Maryland in 2020 but suffered back-to-back injuries in her foot and shin. Although she helped Maryland win a Big Ten title, the physical setbacks made her feel as if she hit “rock bottom.” 

“I felt like I didn’t even know who I was anymore,” she told Women’s Health.

None of these challenges have seemed to have stopped Reese from achieving great things. Crediting prayer, journaling and the support of teammates, Reese eventually recovered and transferred to LSU in 2022. Reese then led the team to its first NCAA championship last April, garnering the award for 2023 Final Four Most Outstanding Player. 

Amid her accomplishments, Reese continues to set her sights on big dreams for the future, including playing for the WNBA. She also told Women’s Health she wants to sponsor basketball camps and women’s financial literacy programs through the Angel C. Reese Foundation, an organization she started last year for women and underrepresented groups. Reese also donated $12,000 last year to the girl’s basketball team at St. Frances Academy, her former high school in Baltimore.

Yet, probably one of the most important things Reese has become known for outside her basketball career is staying positive and embracing who she is, visible through the tattoo that reads “Unapologetic” on her forearm. And then there’s that confidence she’s trying to display, in the hopes of inspiring others. Her 2023 vision board, according to Women’s Health, includes this telling quote: “In the end they’ll judge you anyway, so do what you want.”