We sat down with Laila Ali, who continued Muhammad Ali, her father’s legacy in the sport, as well as trailblazing outside of it. As a professional boxer who went undefeated in her career, she held the WBC, WIBA, IWBF and IBA female super middleweight titles and the IWBF light heavyweight title. She is a TV personality and host of OWN’s Home Made Simple, participating in Dancing with the Stars, Food Network’s Chopped as well as Celebrity Apprentice. In our interview, we took time to talk with her about the importance of fitness, nutrition and how we can focus on spring cleaning this time of year.
ATHLEISURE MAG: Can you tell us the moment when you realized that you wanted to be a boxer and eventually parlaying that into TV hosting, nutrition and wellness?
LAILA ALI: So I first saw women’s boxing on television when I was about 17 years old and that was when I first had the idea and desire to become a professional boxer myself. So it wasn’t right away that I took the leap because I was at school full time and I had a business at the time and it took me about a year to start training and once I did, that was it – end of story. Of course I ended with 24-0, 21 KOs and 4 world titles.
So boxing was my first love and I focused so much time and energy on it for about 9 years and then I decided I wanted to retire and to start a family, then I started to think about what I wanted to do next. Right around that time, Dancing With the Stars called and I decided to do the show as it was a great platform for me to show other sides of myself. From there, I just went onto TV hosting and different opportunities. During that 5 year period I began to think about what I was passionate about, what I wanted to do next, and that was really when I came to the conclusion that I really wanted to be able to help other people live their best life. I wanted to help them make healthy lifestyle choices and then I started doing shows such as Home Made Simple which I host, now which comes on OWN every Saturday. I’m able to work with families, make their living spaces amazing, also cook healthy recipes with them out of my cookbook Food For Life and now we’re launching our own product line which is simple plantbased cleaning products. They are available at select Walmart stores and Walmart.com.
So, things have really come full circle, but it was all about really encouraging people to make healthy lifestyle choices and live their best life.
AM: Can you tell us a little more about Home Made Simple’s product extension of cleaning products and why you enjoy using them?
LA: So we have hand soap, we have dish soap, we’ve got laundry detergent, fabric softener, multipurpose spray. It comes in lemon, lavender and rosemary. All of these products are not only safe and affordable, but they are effective and that is the most important thing. I’m all about using products that are good for my family, the environment and Home Made Simple’s products are amazing in that they actually work as well.
AM: We know that you have a number of tips about cleaning your home – especially in a way that keeps it simple, can you share 3 with us?
LA: Now is the time that everyone is thinking about spring cleaning right? We are in my household as well! Some of the things that I like to do is to get my kids involved and what I do is give them a series of chores on a chart. When they have done everything that they need to do, then I reward them. Whatever they are asking me for, I tell them that they can get it once they have gotten all of their stars on their chart. One of the other things that works out really well for me is not to wait for things to pile up. I like to take 10-15 minutes out of everyday to put things in their place. Another tip I have is that whenever you have things that you want to give away or get rid of, clothes that don’t fit anymore – put them in a big bin. I leave mine in the garage and remove them quarterly as it keeps clutter down. Every time you buy things – when you bring something into the household, you take something else out. We all have things in our kitchens and other rooms of the house that can be placed in a bin. I think that when you do that, you’re encouraged to donate items and I think that it’s really good to be able to help those in need or to be able to repurpose those items. That’s how it keeps everything nice and organized. Of course, it's all about using products that you love and that work and Home Made Simple really makes that easy to do with their new plant-based cleaning products.
AM: With it being the Spring and people needing ways to spruce up food options when it comes to supporting their workout, what smoothies and power foods should we think about incorporating into our day to day?
LA: I think it’s very important to be consistent first of all and make sure that you are getting enough rest so that you can do your best workout. Staying hydrated is key! A lot of people don’t realize how important it is to drink water as it enhances your performance, effects the way that you think and it’s really important to do. I like to have a protein shake after I workout. I don’t want to eat and put my body through having to digest food which is more work. I like to have a protein shake and just kind of get everything in and then eat a couple of hours after which is what my routine is.
AM: As someone who I’m sure travels a lot, what are 3 skincare products that you swear by that you enjoy using in your routine?
LA: I don’t think that it’s so much products or about a routine. I make sure that I clean my skin really well every night. I wash my face and I use a good moisturizer before I go to bed. In the morning I like to clean my face in the shower after my pores have opened up with the hot steam and then I will clean my face. I like to use my Clarisonic because it really gets into those pores really well. So those are tips that I have. Water and sweating are actually amazing for your skin. Sweating out toxins and that comes from working out and drinking water. Beauty comes from within.
AM: We’re all about #Tribegoals and the power of tribes which are the source of inspiration. Who are 3 people that you are inspired by?
LA: Well I definitely have a tribe of people that are around me. I think that every successful person does. It takes a team and nobody is doing it by themselves. My husband is part of my tribe and is my best friend, my confidant. One of my best girlfriends is like my person my go to who will keep it real with me and be honest. I don’t want to have yes people around me. Of course I would also include my business associates as well.
You can hear Laila Ali's interview now on our show, #TRIBEGOALS which is a part of Athleisure Studio, our multimedia podcast network! Make sure to subscribe to find out when the episode drops. You can hear it on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and wherever you enjoy listening to your favorite podcast.
If you don't know Brandi Rhodes, you're missing out on this stunner who embodies #GirlPower and #CoupleGoals. While you get to know more about her through her social, you can catch her wrestling with Women of Honor alongside her hubby Cody Rhodes (as she is apart of wrestling royalty)! You can also catch her this month in the debut season of E! WAGS Atlanta, where she is one of the breakout stars.
In addition to shooting her fabulous editorial for our anniversary issue, we talked with her about how she got into the industry from modeling, her start in the WWE, being in ROH/WOH, her busy schedule and how she maintains her site, Not a Basic B for her fans to get to know her more!
ATHLEISURE MAG: Tell us how you got into wrestling and what your journey was into the sport?
BRANDI RHODES: I was scouted by WWE as I was modeling in Miami, FL. They contacted my modeling agency and expressed interest. From there I had meetings and then a try out to assess my athleticism. Then I was offered a contract to come to Florida Championship Wrestling and begin training. The rest is history!
AM: We know you were with the WWE and are currently with WOH - can you tell us about your experiences with both and what you're looking forward to within this league?
BR: With WWE I was an announcer, and unable to wrestle (which is what I wanted to do all along, but once it was discovered that I was good on the mic, I was placed in that position and
unable to transition away from it). In WOH I am of course a wrestler and am able to spread my wings and grow and learn so much! I also am able to work with my husband in ROH which is so
much fun. ROH/WOH allow me to do everything in the realm of wrestling, which is very challenging and fun.
AM: What's it like being married to Cody, who is also a wrestler and is in ROH?
BR: I’m the luckiest woman in the world to be married to Cody. He is incredibly smart, ambitious, handsome and has such a big heart. It’s inspirational to get to work with him in ROH. I learn a lot from him, and I have a front row seat to this time, being the most successful of his career. In Wrestling, many times wives have to stay home and watch their spouses compete from afar. I’m grateful to be on the road with him and able to see some of his most important
AM: How do you balance your schedules as we interviewed WWE Superstar Natalya Neidhart last year and Danielle Moinet/Summer Rae last year and know that as an athlete, you guys travel a lot to global matches? When your husband is also doing these, how do you connect
and find balance?
BR: We are big on having our fun. We plan our downtime just like anyone else. This month we are looking forward to a long awaited ski trip after heading to Japan for WrestleKingdom, one of the biggest wrestling events of the entire year! But sometimes it’s a trip to Disney or Universal Studios to recharge and connect, others it’s a trip to our favorite movie theater, and other times, we have to find time to have dates on the road! Last week we had to see The Last Jedi, in New Jersey because we were working, but refused to miss out on seeing the movie right when it came out. No matter how busy our schedules are, we can always find time to do things we love together. We make it if we have to!
AM: When we looked through your blog, Not Another Basic B - we were obsessed with your accessories and style - tell us more about your blog, why you created it, and how important is it to you as a creative outlet?
BR: Initially I created Not Another Basic B as a way to express my creativity. I was very bored and just not satisfied in my previous career. I couldn’t control that at the time, but I could challenge myself by creating the blog and the content that I put into it. I loved fashion and often would have people tweeting me trying to find out what brands I was wearing on TV, and this blog made it easier to connect with these folks and get them that information! From there, the blog took off to become more than fashion. I started sharing my travels, things about my
family and my marriage and personal stories as well. Now people look to the blog as a place for everyone. From the fashionista to the wrestling fan, to the traveler! I’m so proud of what it has
AM: How did you become apart of the cast of WAGS Atlanta?
BR: I was living in LA working on another TV project and Casting reached out to my management asking if I would be willing to do a Skype interview to get to know me. I did the interview and a week later was sent over a contract to do the show! It was really fast! I later
found out that I was the last member cast. They were looking for someone who had an existing fan base and presence, and thankfully I have the most loyal fan base and following from the
wrestling world and they are really excited to see me on the show!
AM: We know that the season just started, but would you come back for another season, and/or be open to future reality shows?
BR: There are a lot of factors that come into play when determining what happens next and when. But I am happy to have this opportunity to be a part of the E! family, and for viewers and our existing fans to have the opportunity to get to know us a little better!
AM: How do you stay in great shape?
BR: I train very hard daily! My workouts are 6 days a week and incorporate weight training, interval exercises and plenty of cardio. I’ve found a balance with training, it’s something that challenges me, but also that I enjoy greatly.
AM: What do your workouts look for a match versus just maintaining when you may be in a few days of downtime?
BR: I really don’t deviate from routine when I have a match coming up. I compete pretty frequently, sometimes multiple times in one week, so for me it’s important to stay consistent at all times. In the summer, however, I do tend to add runs into my workouts simply because I love running outside!
AM: What are 3 go-to power foods when you're working out versus 3 splurges when you're treating yourself?
BR: When I’m working out I love a good protein shake, my favorite is from a place called Kale Me Crazy. I’m also very big on tuna packets, because I can take them anywhere and they do the trick! Then I love almond butter. Put it on my toast every morning. Splurge foods: pizza, burgers and any kind of cake. I have a ridiculous sweet tooth!
AM: You travel frequently what are 3 beauty products that you swear by that keep your skin fresh and vibrant?
BR: I always travel with Foreo. It’s a face cleansing device (similar to Clarisonic) but they come in Travel sizes and are so easy to use and keep clean! I also need my Dermologica face lotion
which is lightweight and SPF50! Lastly, I always have a good mask with me, I tend to go back and forth between charcoal and mud masks.
AM: How do you take time for yourself?
AM: What do you wear when you go out for brunch, versus when you're running errands?
BR: I definitely dress up for brunch! A sundress with jewelry and heels in always up my alley. For errands, however, most of the time I am dressed “gym fab” because I’ve either just
come from the gym, or I’m on the way to the gym! Often time that’s head to toe Lululemon or Lorna Jane!
AM: What are your goals this year in wrestling, business, the site, family etc?
BR: This year I’m hoping to chase the dream of becoming WOH Champion! I’m looking forward to taking the blog to new heights this year with some upcoming partnerships! There are a few exciting things underway so just keep your eyes and ears open for me!
AM: What charities/philanthropies do you give your time to?
BR: I’ve always had an interest anything that helps with cancer research. Over the past few years my family has known too many families that have lost kids to childhood cancer. I’m always passionate in that research and spreading the word about ways to help.
BR: The best ways to connect and interact with me! Those are my social pages: @TheBrandiRhodes - Twitter and IG and of course NotAnotherBasicB.com! Aside from that I’d like to wish everyone an amazing 2018! It’s going to be as great as we make it!
It's all about creating a great system. Your day begins with a simple device that has heads you can remove to cleanse your face and then placing your foundation. Continue to pamper your skin with a spray to dissolve your makeup and then you can truly provide the ultimate for your skin with this nourishing mask.
| SUSAN CIMINELLI Hydrating Gel Mask | BASQ Cooling Body Bliss | QUIP Subscription Based Toothbrush Kit | CLARISONIC Pedi |
Our vanity has become a miniature spa of sorts with devices that make our zen space. The must haves in our beauty rituals list include Clairsonic's Mia Fit to ensure that your face is smooth and cleansed, me Clear for zapping pesky acne and the BrushPearl which automated a necessary part of your routine by cleaning your favorite brushes.
See more from the July Issue