Actress Ali Landry believes in constant evolution.
The onetime Miss Louisiana and Miss USA wasn’t health-conscious growing up. She was active and had access to fresh local produce, but she stuck mostly to the delicious, but caloric, Cajun foods of her native South. It wasn’t until she landed in Los Angeles as an adult that she began to learn about wellness.
At that same time, her career grew: She drew notice as a Superbowl ad bombshell, then earned roles in narrative TV shows from Felicity to UPN’s Eve and as host on programs like Full Frontal Fashion and Spy TV.
Never one to shy away from new endeavors, when she became a mother, she was inspired to launch an app called, Favored.by, where parents can swap opinions on the best baby products. Having a child also moved her to launch her annual Red CARpet Safety Event in LA (happening this September 19th) to promote child car seat safety.
Here, Landry explains why using her public voice to help even one person makes all the effort worth it:
Live The Process: During your formative years, were there indicators of where you’d end up professionally or that you’d have an interest in wellness?
Ali Landry: I was the first born of three children and definitely an overachiever. I wanted to be involved in everything: I played volleyball and softball, ran track, was head cheerleader, president of my class and the student body. I also took dance classes for sixteen years and performed, so, yes, I guess you could say there were some indicators that I would end up in the public eye.
I am from a small town in Louisiana called Breaux Bridge. It is in the heart of Cajun country. People there pride themselves on their unique cuisine. I grew up eating gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish etouffee, shrimp stew, rice and gravy, and lots of homemade desserts. My father (and most people in our area) farms and has a personal garden, so there were always fresh fruits and veggies around. But I wasn’t interested in anything from the garden. All I wanted was grilled cheese sandwiches, cereal and fried shrimp. I got exercise from the activities I was involved in, so weight wasn’t an issue. I honestly didn’t understand the concept of a healthy lifestyle until I was an adult, living in California. The world of wellness was foreign to me and learning about this way of life was like learning a foreign language.
LTP: Your career has had many facets. What inspired you to found Favored.by?
AL: Yes, my work has included commercials, hosting, television, film and developing and producing my own projects. I think this is also a reflection of my personality: I am interested and passionate about many things, and I don’t believe that we have to pick one thing and stick to it. Like the quote from Fabienne Fredickson says: “The things you are passionate about are not random, they are your calling.” I am constantly evolving as a woman and a human being, and this journey takes my interests many ways.
This evolution led me to creating Favored.by, a mobile app that makes discovering and sharing baby products fun and easy. Just think of it as the CliffsNotes guide to the best baby products out there.
The reason behind creating Favored.by was because I was a new mom at the time, and I found myself spending hours online researching what products I needed for my new baby. I knew the standard items that were essential, but I had no idea what the best products were. Some of these were big-ticket items and I wanted to make a smart purchase, but I was having such a hard time figuring out what likeminded moms chose. Indecision and frustration made me never want to experience that again. I know that thousands of moms out there are facing the same issue, wanting to find the best products for their families, trying to find honest opinions from other moms, so they can make the best purchasing decisions. Voila! Favored.by was born! My goal is simple: to harness the power of the collective voice to make moms’ lives a little easier.
LTP: Can you describe the upcoming Red CARpet Safety Event?
AL: The first Red CARpet Safety Event was in 2011, and I am so proud to say that, on September 19th, we will be having our 4th annual event. The goal is to help spread awareness about car seat safety (sadly, four out of five car seats are installed improperly) and other related areas like, on the go safety, activity safety, home safety, and body care and baby-wearing safety. The event is set up to be educational for families, but also a fun-filled day with face painting, games and crafts and activities.
The reason I wanted to do this event is because, five years ago, I heard a devastating story about a family whose child was the same age as Estela at the time and his car seat was improperly installed. They were in a car accident and the child was ejected from the car, and he passed away. This heartbreaking story rocked my world because I just thought to myself, “This could have been me!” I started to do more research and found out that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 12 and three out of four kids’ car seats are installed incorrectly. I was shocked by these statistics and felt compelled to do something, anything, to start a conversation about car seat safety. I approached Safe Kids California, an organization that has been our partner for our events since the beginning, and became a certified car seat technician. By the way, when I was going through the course we discovered that my seat was installed improperly!
Later that year, the wonderful team that I work with and I put on the First Red CARpet Safety Awareness Event. We didn’t know what we were doing; we weren’t event planners or PR people, but we had to do our part. I very strongly believe in the saying, “Once you know better, you do better!”
I am in the public eye. I have a platform and I want to use my voice to help others, if I can. If we can continue this conversation about car seat safety, spread awareness and save one child’s life, wow, I couldn’t ask for anything more.
LTP: How do you incorporate wellness into your own life?
AL: When I look at this question, I find myself analyzing what wellness means to me right now, and what comes to mind is balance. I am a busy working mother of three children. I am a wife, I am a friend, I am daughter, a sister, I am a woman! I am so many things to so many people and no matter how hard I try to keep all of the balls in the air, a few seem to fall. I am currently trying my best to really understand the concept of balance in my own life and what that looks like, but also understanding that sometimes maybe a little imbalance is a good thing.
One of my wellness hacks is looking at my life like a snapshot every three months or so and doing what I like to call a “life balance check.” I try to figure out where the imbalance is and if there is something I might need to adjust in terms of work, health, family, lifestyle and relationships.
I’ll give you an example of something my husband and I are doing now that has worked really well for us: First, we did a life check and found that we needed to focus a little more on our relationship, our individual personal wellness and doing more daily for others. We decided to make a daily challenge jar with slips of paper with challenges written on them, like:
1. Write a love letter to your spouse.
2. Be nice and kind and positive; no negative words out of your mouth for one day.
3. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while and reconnect.
4. Make three people smile and tell their reactions to your spouse.
5. Write a gratitude list and read it daily.
6. Pick a bouquet of flowers from nature for your spouse.
I write some, he writes some, we write some together. It’s easy, but you feel like you have accomplished something. It puts you in the moment and makes you present in your own life. It really fills in those gaps, those areas of imbalance. For everyone, it is different, and that’s the work we have to do.
The personal wellness ritual that I can’t live without is connecting to my faith daily. And my current health obsession is The Super Elixir by Welle Co. It is a highly specialized alkalizing greens supplement with vitamins, minerals and trace elements that assist in wellness and vitality. For my family, 3pm to 6:30pm is game time. The children are back from school, up from naps, wanting to do an activity before dinner; meanwhile, I’m hitting my afternoon slump, wishing I could just lie down and take a nap. These greens have given me the extra boost of energy that I need without all of calories that I used to consume to get the same effect from a pressed juice.
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
AL: This quote by Denis Waitley really speaks to me: “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.”
I would like to add that, for me, it is next to impossible to live every minute in that state, but what I can do is try my best to walk through my life without blinders on, fully aware and owning my decisions and actions. To stop waiting until we go on vacation, until we get a new house or until I lose those five pounds. I feel happiest when I stop waiting for all of these things, allowing myself to make the most of the moment I am in right now!
LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that every day?
AL: Doing things that make my soul happy: Surround myself with people that are positive, who do not judge others and support one another. People who dream big and do things. Be faithful in God’s plan for my life. Live a life without fear, but with great depth. Eat as many whole foods as possible and help my children understand and appreciate the good these foods are doing for our bodies. Cover myself in sweat daily because it is magical and, according to Shape magazine, can grant my wishes. (I am still working on this one.) Create quality moments with my children because this is childhood; they will remember. Remind my husband how much I adore, respect and admire him. Look outside of myself to the needs of others. Love, above all.