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An interview with Laila Ali reveals her zest for life, family and as ‘Activiast’

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Laila Ali is well known as the daughter of retired heavyweight boxing legend Muhammad Ali and as a retired professional boxing star as well, but she is so much more than what one sees when gazing at her beautiful photo on her website, or in magazines or viewing her on TV. Behind her gorgeous and vivacious exterior is an amazing intelligent woman who speaks her mind about staying true to one’s self and continuously striving to conquer new goals. The importance of family and staying healthy are ideals that Laila proudly articulates. After speaking with Laila Ali, one walks away feeling as if they can win at anything as long as they strive for honesty and stay in control of one’s own destiny as she has.

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Activia welcomes Laila Ali as an “Activiast” in the brand's mission to deliver happy tummies to all Americans.

Laila Ali speaks up about people needing to begin the road to feeling good from the inside out, making her the perfect person to partner with Activia to pass on its message, “When your body is working as it should on the inside, you feel as if there isn’t anything you can’t accomplish”.

Happily married to former NFL player Curtis Conway, Laila is mom to her two young children, a son Curtis Muhammad Conway Jr. and a daughter, Sydney Jurldine Conway as well as three teenaged step children. Her most important focus is on family. Laila has now made a career working to spread her knowledge to stay healthy and beautiful. She successfully and continuously morphs her know-how to help others through her website and other endeavors like partnering with Activia as an “Activiast” spreading the word “Activia tummies. Happy people”.

Laila answered my questions regarding her family and passions for life in her well versed and thoughtful honesty.

Laila was an entrepreneur at a very young age, owning a nail salon and working as a manicurist. I asked Laila if it was a difficult choice to trade in beautiful nails for a boxing career.

Without a minute to think she simply said “No, because of the many similarities of having the opportunity of being in control”. Laila goes on to explain how she has always been an ambitious person stating “I like to play by my own rules”. Her ambitions always included that she wanted to work for herself and stay in control of her success, whether it was running a salon, working as a boxer, or now running a successful business. Boxing, Laila tells me, was the perfect sport for her since it is a one person sport that she could be in control of.

With successful skills as a business owner I wanted Laila to tell me if they helped her move into boxing and now her other endeavors since retiring from the boxing ring?

Laila spoke of always having high expectations for herself, she has always strived to be the best at everything she does, “It’s in my DNA”. She further stated “Authenticity is very important – be true to one’s self”.

With a degree in Business Management, as well as owning a business, I wanted Laila to tell me if it has helped her succeed in balancing a successful family along with a flourishing career?

One would imagine Laila saying yes, but in her true honest fashion Laila quickly answered simply by stating “They are two separate things”. For Laila she told me that her family comes first. She then went on to explain what she considers most important, “Focus on being balanced – success is balance”

Other than of course boxing I wished to know from Laila what else she inherited from her father.

Laila was proud to tell me that her father taught her how to be confident and to be fearless in life.

Being a mother herself I wanted to hear what she has learned from her own mom.

Delighted to speak about her mother, Laila told me that her mother is a “super” person that she has a lot of respect for. Lovingly Laila said what a very graceful woman her mother is, who always had faith in her children believing that she should not set limits on what they can accomplish by giving unconditional love.

Entering into the sport of boxing I asked Laila if her parents worried when she decided to follow dad into the arena.

“Of course” was Laila’s quick response. She went on to tell me that although they were nervous, her parents never told her not to do it. Her mother had much faith in her and knew that Laila could make it as a boxer but is now relieved that she is finished with being in the ring.

An important question that I had for Laila was regarding Nelson Mandela. I questioned “As a family friend, what effect did Nelson Mandela have on your life and what would you personally like to pay forward so that people may never forget such a wonderful human being?”

She first met him when she was around 20 years of age. Laila said that people need to remember his story, she feels “Knowing his story teaches how strong we can be as humans.” Laila spoke of the need to “Continue to share his story so it is never forgotten and its spirit is carried on.”

What might be on every mother’s mind, I asked Laila “Was it tough trading boxing for raising children and which is more challenging to win at?”

“Boxing was a piece of cake” smiling as she said it. Laila stated “Being a mother is the most challenging and rewarding thing she has ever done.”

Laila is absolutely beautiful with a sparkling complexion and a very fit appearance so fittingly I queried, “Now that you have stepped out of the professional ring how do you stay in shape juggling being a mom with everything else that you do?”

One would think that Laila still spends hours in the gym but instead she has an easy favorite go-to workout routine that keeps her looking great. As a busy mom always on the go Laila revealed her workout routine to me, she simply does a circuit workout using a treadmill and hand weights. Her working out on the treadmill consists of sprinting, then heading up hill and finishing with speed walking.

Of course staying in shape means eating healthy which is an important factor in Laila’s life. I wanted to know from Laila what healthy snacks and foods does she eat as well as recommend, and what healthy snacks do her children most enjoy.

Laila knows that it is easy to go for what is available, so instead of making chips and cookies the go to choices in her home she makes sure that there are always fruits and vegetables available for herself as well as her family. She also told me that she enjoys making vegetable soup that is a healthy dish to eat. Of course Activia with its protein is the perfect healthy choice for a snack or quick bite. Laila suggests adding fruit or nuts to Activia to create your own delicious snack. Laila also added that it is important to stay away from processed foods. Her children enjoy the fruit and vegetables as well plus her son now likes protein shakes that he says taste like chocolate milk.

As a voice of the “Activia Tummies. Happy People” campaign I asked Laila “What is the one piece of advice that you have to give to help someone to achieve wellbeing and be at their best in all facets of their lives?”

Interviewing Laila one can see how she is a perfect partner for Activia since she strongly believes that good health begins from within, urging people to begin their road to a healthy lifestyle by first looking at their digestive heath. Laila instructs “Feeling good from the inside should be the first step”. Once one learns how to eat right and healthy they can then continue on their road to a healthier and more-fit self by exercising and continuing to eat properly.

Activia is excited to partner with not only Laila Ali, but also with Travis Stork and Reba McEntire in 2014.

The three new "Activiaists" will join Activia on the brand's mission to deliver happy tummies to all Americans. “’The new “Activia Tummies. Happy People’ campaign seeks to inspire people to make choices every day that will help them to achieve wellbeing and be at their best in all facets of their lives. As part of the campaign, Laila Ali, Travis Stork and Reba McEntire will be featured in a new TV commercial and print advertisements.”

Laila Ali is a unique person that many can learn from. Her drive to be the best at what she strives for in life, while also having an honest and gentle soul that shows true caring and understanding of others’ needs, makes her an amazing role model for people and children of all ages. I am thankful that I had the chance to sit down and speak with Laila and am grateful that she welcomed me to share my experience of meeting her with my own daughter. Laila Ali is truly a beautiful person inside and out and strives to pass on her aura to everyone. All should follow this strong woman’s lead to a healthy and accomplished life and to remember to never be afraid to dance!

Subscribe and enjoy reading all of my articles under the titles of Interior Decorating, Long Island Interior Design, Decorating, Arts & Exhibits, Lifestyle, as well as General Pets, Fashion Trends, and Long Island Prepper written for Examiner.com.

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