To be clear: There is no ambiguity about what Laila Ali wants and the path she is willing to take to get there.
Nearly two decades ago, Ali wrapped up her knuckles, slipped on boxing gloves and stepped into the ring. She made a life-changing decision—going from being a nail-salon owner to a pro boxer—and had a quite successful career (going unbeaten in the eight years that she was active). Perhaps Ali gets it from her daddy.
“Following in the footsteps of one of the greatest men, the greatest fighters of all time, was not an easy decision to make within myself,” Laila Ali says of her legendary father, Muhammad Ali.
“When I was fighting, I had to convince people that I was serious about fighting and that I was 100 percent in,” Laila Ali says. “And when I decided to stop boxing, people were like, ‘You’re a boxer. How are you going to do X, Y and Z?’”
Over the years, Ali has overcome myriad stereotypes. Still, her evolution is fluid: boxer, author, podcast host, mother and entrepreneur; the works. The 39-year-old has even partnered with “The Maxx You Project” to help inspire women across the nation to break down barriers.
Another role Ali has taken on: champion of body positivity. At 190 pounds, Ali is proud of every inch of her skin (size 12 shoe and all). Ali has a “Build it, don’t buy it” attitude: Simply put, if there is something about yourself that you don’t like, do the work to change your circumstances. “You have to love yourself and be the best version of you that you can possibly be,” she says.
Ali’s final words to women: “You’re gonna have your ups and downs, but at the end of the day, you just have to love who you are and just roll with it.”