Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Boxing Champ and TV Personality Laila Ali Serving Up Healthy Foods at the 13th Annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair
By Mel Assagai, Special to the Sentinel
Published August 22, 2019

Laila Ali (Courtesy photo)

If it’s not immediately apparent from the focused expression in her eyes, Laila Ali’s energy, passion and joy of living will wash over you after just a few seconds of conversation. Ali is a driven, determined, enlightened force of nature whose charm comes as naturally to her as those of her world-renowned father and boxing champ Muhammad Ali. Audiences will get a chance to see her charisma and cooking skills up close and personal at the 13th annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair (LPVBF)on Saturday, August 24, 2019.  She will be signing her new cookbook,  “Food For Life,” plus, cooking up some of her favorite recipes on the culinary stage and introducing her new line of spices at the literary event. She also serves as this year’s book fair ambassador.

The 13hAnnual Leimert Park Village Book Fair (LPVBF) fair will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza (BHCP), located at 3650 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. This year’s theme is: “We Do This for the Culture: Celebrating Our Collective Culture.”

Ali’s story is not derivative of the spectacular life of her father, but it reflects the uniqueness of those among us who are determined to squeeze out every bit of opportunity, progress and prosperity that life has to offer.

“I am excited to be the book fair’s ambassador because it gives me another chance to give back to the community that has given so much to me,” she says. “I want to be able to inspire young women to want to be everything they can be in life; children who look to us for examples of confidence in testing new waters; and everyone who wonders if they can succeed.”

Ali especially wants young girls to see a path to success and fulfilment that does not involve a sometimes unhealthy focus on outer beauty – that is, expensive cosmetics, fashion and near nudity —  but instead, a fulfilment of their dreams by a pursuit business, professional growth and self-respect. “I want my story to be about how healthy, strong successful entrepreneurs who can be whatever they want in life,” she adds.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have Laila Ali serve as our 2019 Leimert Park Village Book Fair Ambassador,” said Cynthia Exum, executive producer and founder of LPVBF. “In and out of the ring, Laila is a champion and wonderful role model for young women around the world, and a true testament to her father’s legacy of empowerment and humanitarianism. Sports fans and home cooks alike will have a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to meet and greet this great American athlete. Laila Ali is a true winner. ”

Ali is the author of two books – that is, “Reach! Finding Strength, Spirit and Personal Power” and her latest cookbook, “Food for Life: Delicious & Healthy Comfort Food from My Table to Yours!” In her new cookbook, the four-time undefeated boxing world champion, home chef, and passionate health advocate, features over 100 sassy recipes that will help you “swap it out” unhealthy ingredients for healthier, but still tasty alternatives. In Laila’s kitchen, “Nutrition is King, but flavor is Queen!” she says.


Attendees of the book fair will be treated to some of Ali’s  healthy cooking, and she certainly knows how to cook in front of a crowd. Currently, she is the host of Emmy Award-winning show, “Home Made Simple,” which airs every Saturday on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). Plus, she’s created her own line of organic seasonings, called “Laila Ali Spice Blends” as well as  a high-quality line of nutrition supplements called YouPlenish. All her products work together to promote a healthy lifestyle.

From all of her success, it would seem to have been easy for the daughter of one of the world’s most famous and beloved sports figures to simply take advantage of her privileged progeny. But that’s not been her life. It is actually been about grit, determination and a passion to succeed.

“People think I grew up as the daughter of Muhammad Ali, so everything was easy for me,” she says “but they don’t know me.”

“I left home at 18 years old and struck out on my own. I started my first business – Laila’s Beauty Salon – that same year and built it into a successful business on my own.”

As a woman entrepreneur and business woman, she conceived her business; got the state and local licensing she needed; found and acquired a location; employed staff and managed its finances along with promotion and marketing of the business.

“I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur, to be in business on my own,” she says. “It’s fun to be able to get up and check on all the businesses I own.”

“How are the book sales going? How well are my healthy supplements doing? Are people enjoying the healthy spices we sell? That’s how my day goes.” Indeed, the habitsof a successful boss lady.

And she is an energetic entrepreneur who blends her concern for healthy living with her passion as a role model. That is what drives her.

“I want people to be successful in life, but that success should be based on people living healthy lifestyles and paying attention to avoid unhealthy lifestyles and poor nutrition habits that can rob them of their health and goals,” she says.

“Poor health practices, poor nutrition choices and unhealthy behaviors are why so many suffer from diabetes, obesity and heart failure,” she says, noting the latter is the number one killer of women.

“I started my healthy nutrition businesses because I wanted to share my knowledge of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle with others,” she added.

Her website – — opens the door to her world and the products she has developed to promote healthy living and literally add spice to our lives.  Her supplements, spices and both of her books, including “Reach!” which chronicles her early life and the boxing career and “Food for Life” can be found there.

Ali is a remarkable woman. She’s a world-class athlete, fitness and wellness expert, TV host, cooking enthusiast, entrepreneur, business woman – as the founder of the Laila Ali Lifestyle Brand – AND the mother of two. An despite being out of the ring, this cooking enthusiast – since the age of nine – hasn’t lost her competitive edge. She has appeared twice on Food Network’s celebrity edition of “Chopped” and won; and hosted the FYI Network’s food truck competition series, called “Late Night Chef Fight.”

She has a lifestyle blog,, where she regularly shares her personal workout regimens, recipes, family tips and more.

She says she has always wanted to be part of the Leimert Park Village Book Fair and is delighted this year to be its book fair ambassador. “I am excited to share at the Leimert Park Village Book Fair this year, I can’t wait,” she adds.

Categories: Crenshaw & Around | Family | Local | News | News (Entertainment) | News (Family)
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