Knocked-up Knockout Laila Ali
It's hard to keep up with Laila Ali. The boxing champ and daughter of the legendary Muhammad Ali is all over the small screen these days: as a co-host for American Gladiators, a correspondent for The Early Show, and host of The N's Student Body, a new show about changing teens' lives. We took advantage of a rare slow moment (she was trapped in a makeup chair and surrounded by curling irons) to dish about her latest role: mom-to-be.
Congrats on your baby boy -- due in September! Is it true you used positive thinking and prayer to make sure you got a boy?
[Laughs] Yeah. I want girls, too, but I want a boy first so he can take care of his little sisters. Plus, I know that my husband will appreciate having a son, and my father will love having a grandson.
Have you been getting tons of unsolicited parenting advice?
I only listen to certain people, like the women who've been pregnant and look good -- like no stretch marks good -- I want advice from them, so those people I listen to!
How has your pregnancy been?
I went into it thinking I was going to be miserable with morning sickness and nausea, and that I'd get huge. But actually, the whole thing has been great. Perfect, even.
Seriously? No swollen ankles or weird cravings?
None whatsoever. I think a lot of it has to do with being positive -- when you expect something to be bad, that's usually what ends up happening. So early in the pregnancy, I changed my mindset to, 'This is going to be wonderful, and I'll look even better pregnant.' And my skin really has been better with Palmer's Cocoa Butter.
I've heard it smells like chocolate. Doesn't that make you hungry all the time?
No, I'm not a chocolate person; that's a good thing! I'm a baked-goods person: pies, muffins, cake, like all that stuff they have out there on the buffet -- I'm gonna be hitting that up later.
So you're a fan of eating?
Yes, I love eating. And when I say love, I mean love. It's not that I eat a lot at one time, but I just appreciate food. Although sometimes I have to coach myself out of eating certain things and say, 'Laila. No, no, no, you're going to be good today.'
As a professional athlete, fitness is a major part of your life. Any advice for women who don't have time to work out?
Honestly? People who say they don't have time just aren't making exercise a priority. If working out is important to you, then it's a necessity; you don't feel good without it. Even for me, there are times when I go too long without exercise and start feeling like, 'Oh my God, I have to work out,' and then it feels so good to get back into it. But to say you never have time, ever? I'm not buying it.
How do you feel about your new mom-body?
[Laughing] Like I told my hairdresser, [she points to the petite woman styling her hair] 'I am not going to get fat.' And she said, all wide-eyed, 'I believe you.' So every time she sees me now she says, 'You look good!'
But there are changes, and I try to embrace them. Because I love to eat and I'm already a big girl -- I'm 5'10"" and 175 lbs when I'm not pregnant -- I had to accept that I'd be a big pregnant woman. But I'm not perfect; I don't love the way I look. I look at myself naked and think, 'Oh my God, look at my butt.' But then I get over it. That's a part of life, that's what women go through.
Have people tried to rub your belly?
[Laughing] Do I look like someone who wants her belly rubbed? There have been some little people who just won't take a hint and manage to get by me -- they come at me with their hands already out!
What's the most annoying thing about being pregnant?
How much you have to use the bathroom! I have to go right now -- I've been holding it! I literally wake up six or seven times a night to pee. So I already know what it's like to wake up tired!
What kind of mom do you think you'll be?
I'll be the disciplinarian and probably a little over-protective, so that's something I have to watch out for. But my husband's already an exceptional father with his three kids -- he's probably going to take better care of the baby than me! We're going to be fighting over who gets to hold our son more.
How has your husband been during the pregnancy?
Awesome. He gives me the most relaxing foot and belly massages -- he can rub my belly. I'm hoping those massages will keep coming.
No doubt you'll remind him?
[Laughs] Oh, for sure. That's a definite.