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Venus, Oracene & Serena Williams

"She taught us how to be real mean," says Serena, 20. Just kidding--but in hardscrabble Compton, Calif., Oracene, 50, did raise tennis's dynamic duo to be resilient. "I'd say, 'Give it 100 percent and learn from every mistake you make,'" says the ex-teacher and nurse. "Not all people are reliable but I can count on her," says Venus, 21."We like her. We'll keep her."