Boxing acclaims to reality TV, Laila Ali has become a familiar face to us all. But her latest venture is more of a focus on her voice and what secrets we can learn from her—wellness, an empowering mentally, parenting guides, finance help, relationship advice, recipes, and much more. Now a podcast host, Ali debuted Laila Ali Lifestyle this week on PodcastOne Network [Thursday, January 5].
“I am so excited to add a podcast to my lifestyle brand,” she said in a statement, “I will be able to connect with my fans like never before, and engage with them every week, as we take the journey to self-improvement together.”
Unlike other endeavors outside sports, Ali dumps scripts for a more personal approach, she says in her first episode. Called “Meet the Real Laila Ali,” she explains her new career decision even further. but first, she gives a deeper look into the Laila Ali we already think we know, the boxer.
She debunks the myth that she wanted the career of her father, the late Muhammad Ali. Her original plan was becoming a manicurist. She even had her own nail business by 18 years old. But then, a moment hanging out with a childhood friend introduced her to a world she surprisingly had never heard of, she recalls. Flipping channels to watch a Mike Tyson fight, the two noticed female boxers on the screen instead. “How is your father Muhammad Ali and you don’t even know women boxed?” she asked herself. Regardless, Ali found a new career goal and headed to the gym, a secret she kept from her family and loved ones. She added boxing to her schedule as a full-time student and a nail salon owner in Los Angeles. “I had my eyes set on becoming a world-champion boxer. I could remember when my father found out…that I was in the gym training.” Though her father did not initially approve of her boxing career goals, he eventually showed his support. She was too resilient. “If anyone knows Laila, you’re don’t gonna tell her not to do something cause I’m gonna show you that I can.” Soon thereafter, Ali took on boxing full-time, giving up school and her nail salon.
Ali found herself being coached by the top in the field and facing other daughters of famous boxers, including the daughter of Muhammad Ali’s rival Joe Frazier, Jacqui Frazier. That rivalry translated to tension between the two daughters. “I really want to kick her a**. I didn’t take her seriously at all.” The gloves were on, the fight was arranged, and Ali came to win—despite having the flu. However, the match was harder than she expected. She said she felt she wanted to die. But she didn’t. And she won. Frazier wasn’t knocked out though. Ali still to this day regrets not having a rematch before her retirement in 2007.
Since then, Ali has used her boxing experience in hosting and competing on reality TV shows and sports segments. She’s back in school studying nutrition and set to help communities make healthier lifestyle choices. Ali wants this information to be more accessible and more approachable. So she started a lifestyle brand, the latest aspect being her podcast. To follow her journey and learn more about what she has to say, tune into Laila Ali Lifestyle every Thursday on PodcastOne Network and subscribe on iTunes.