Laila Ali: “We Are A Kissing Family”
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Former boxer and Dancing with the Stars contestant, Laila Ali, is teaming up with Everyday Health TV in Around the Clock, a new daily discussion show alongside fellow celebrity moms such as Jillian Michaels, Kendra Wilkinson and Ali Landry to share “personal opinions” and health tips.
The mom-of-two opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about her kids – son C.J. who turns 4 in August, and 13-month-old daughter Sydney - their upcoming summer plans, and growing up with boxing legend father Muhammad Ali.
CBS: Tell us about Everyday Health TV’s Around the Clock YouTube show. What is it all about, and how are you involved?
LA: “Around the Clock is a new show on YouTube’s Emmy-nominated Everyday Health channel that focuses on certain health topics and how we feel about them. Sometimes the topics are funny and sometimes they are more serious. It is a quick daily topic talk show for moms.
The viewers can also leave comments and request questions that they would like us to tackle. That’s what will happen as the show grows; we will look at the topics that are the most popular and talk about them on the show.”
CBS: How are your kids Sydney and C.J.? Do they get along well? What are they into these days?
LA: “Sydney is 13 months and C.J. is 3, getting ready to turn 4-years-old in August. They are growing so quickly! C.J. is in Pre-K and loves his sister. Of course there are struggles, like when C.J. is playing with his toys and Sydney comes over and knocks down something he built [laughs]. He will want to knock her over and I’ll be like, ‘Don’t do that! Be careful with your sister!’
A lot of times he wants to hug her and pick her up, but he can’t [laughs]. For the most part they get along really well, and it is funny how they have this little relationship of their own. Even though she can’t talk, she gets so excited when he comes home from school, and she also gets mad when he leaves and she can’t go. They also give each other hugs, which makes me as happy as I can be!
In regard to what they are into now, Sydney loves music. Whenever she hears music, she starts dancing. Her favorite thing to do is try to open up my kitchen cabinets and take everything out [laughs]. She also loves to open up my kitchen drawers and cabinets and take out my kitchen towels, put them on her head, and try to walk into things. So I really have to watch her when she tries to ‘help’ me in the kitchen [laughs].
C.J. is really into trains and cars, and every night he has three things that he has to take to bed with him. Every night it is something different, and he won’t go to bed unless he has them. He will ask, ‘Where’s my car?’ ‘Where’s my dog?’ He wants to take any little random thing to bed with him [laughs].
CBS: What aspects of motherhood do you love the most?
LA: “Watching my kids grow, form their personalities, and come into their own independence are aspects that I love. They are little people, and I get to help shape the way they look at the world and the way they think of themselves, and I get to guide them along. They are going to be who they are, but my job is to help them with their foundations and make them strong, which makes me feel confident as a mom that they will make the right decisions in life.”
CBS: Do you have any special motherhood moments to share?
LA: “With my son, the moments that I love with him, now that he can actually talk and have a conversation, are when he says, ‘I love you mommy every night and gives me kisses. I say, ‘Give me my kisses and hugs!’ It makes me so happy and I always think to myself, ‘O god, there is going to be a time when he doesn’t want kisses or hugs anymore!’ [laughs] I have to cherish these moments now.
My daughter is the same; she will actually grab me by the back of my neck with both of her arms and pull my face to hers for a kiss. I love that, because I grew up with my father and my father loved kids and kisses. Not all people love that…oh, and I am not talking about on the mouth! [laughs] I would be like, ‘Daddy! Daddy! Muah, Muah, Muah!’ and kiss all over his face. My kids are the same way. It is funny how it runs in our bloodline—we are a kissing family [laughs].”
CBS: What are your favorite childhood memories of summer vacation? What do you plan to do with your family this summer?
LA: “As a child, we didn’t go on summer vacations. I just remember that my stepsisters would come over and everyone would be there. It was great to have everyone come to the house to go swimming together and pile up in the car together. It was a lot of fun…summers were always family time.
In regard to my plans for this summer, I plan to do a lot of swimming and I want to enroll my son in official swimming lessons and get Sydney in the water. I want to do a lot of outdoor activities, like take them to the beach. We haven’t really done that, because I wanted to wait until my son was old enough. You have to be careful with the kids and sand; I don’t want that situation where my daughter gets sand in her eyes. I want to take my son to the beach and do a lot of swimming, and maybe get him on the back of a bike. A lot of outdoor activities.”
CBS: How do you balance work and family life?
LA: “Family comes first and is my priority. I know how to say ‘no’ to things, like I don’t do a lot of traveling. It is a matter of looking at what’s on the schedule and making sure I always have enough time to be home with my kids. It is very important to me that I am available to cook them dinner and be there before they go to sleep. I want to make sure I am there. I had a lot of nannies around, because my parents were traveling a lot and couldn’t always be there, and I just don’t want that for my kids.”
CBS: What other projects are you working on right now?
LA: “Right now I am really focusing on my licensing and branding. I have my Laila Ali Professional Hair Care and Laila Ali Derm Essentials Skin Care products in stores. I also just did a deal with Hot Tools, and I am doing my own line of products like curling irons, blow dryers, and flat irons. I also have my Laila Ali line of salad dressings, seasonings, and marinades that will be in stores for the holidays.
I am also getting ready to shoot a commercial for Kohl’s for the back to school season, because they are doing a campaign centered on female athletes that are moms.
Likewise, I also still endorse Subway, I have the Everyday Health show that comes on on Saturdays, and I will also be a major voice for women’s boxing in the Olympics. There is also a new show that I will be shooting next month that will be airing in D.C. after the Olympics.
If people want to get a hold of me, they can follow me on Twitter! My handle is@TheRealLailaAli, and I also have a public Facebook fan page. I really do the interacting myself, so follow me and become a fan!”
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