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September 16, 2016 07:06 AM

Serena Williams knows how to shake off haters, especially when it comes to her bold beauty choices. And when she spent a year growing out her brows, she remained completely unfazed, much to the chagrin of social media.

“Everyone was making fun of my brows for a long time!” she tells PeopleStyle during an interview about her new fashion collection, Serena Williams Signature Statement, which she debuted on the runway at New York Fashion Week earlier this week.

But it was all part of her bigger plan, she explains, and as we’ve seen on the court, Williams knows how to play the long game. “I let them grow out,” she says. “I went a year without touching them, so everyone was making fun of me, because I wanted them to grow out like crazy. So I literally didn’t touch them for a year, and I was totally okay with it.”

Her secret for helping them grow? She put conditioner on them and tea tree oil, she says. “Sometimes I still do that, and I don’t let anyone touch my brows except for my makeup artist.”

“Thick brows are in!” she continues. Spoken like a true winner.

Tell us: Have you ever had trouble growing out your brows like Serena? Let us know in the comments below!

For more of our exclusive interview with Serena Williams, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.

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