Laila Ali grew up in luxury. She was financially privileged because of her father’s success in the ring. But being the daughter of the legendary Muhammad Ali did not prevent her from pursuing her own career path and achieving her own success independent of her father’s.
“We were aware that we were in a great situation,” she said in a recent interview, according to CNBC Make It. “We lived in a private gated neighborhood. I grew up in a mansion. We flew on private jets a lot of the time, and so it was very clear to me that my father was making a lot of money.”
At the age of 12, she started her own gig, a neighborhood cleaning business to make some side money. At 15, she got her first summer job at a local burger spot when she was visiting her father in Michigan.
“Everyone else was enjoying their summer, and I said, ‘You know what? I want to make a check,’” she said. “So I signed myself up for this job.”
Ali used the money she had accumulated from her summer job to buy her first car. According to her, she went through The Recycler magazine and brought a ’77 Toyota Celica. “I can remember it was this brown rusty color, and it only cost me $400,” she said.
Although the car did not last long because of the condition it was in when it was purchased, Ali said she was proud she bought her own car without depending on her father’s money. According to her, pursuing her solo economic path has taught her about “independence, responsibility and pride.”
“Pride for myself because, you know, when you’re getting up, clocking in and doing honest work, something that you can feel good about, that is a good feeling to have,” she said. “And for me, obviously being so young, that was perfect at the time.”
Before she started a career in boxing, Ali was also running a salon business. And since retiring from boxing in 2007, she has been engaged in other businesses. She has launched her own line of organic seasonings called Laila Ali Spice Blends and her own line of nutrition supplements called YouPlenish as well as a cookbook titled “Food For Life.”
Her enterprises over the years have brought in millions in revenue and Ali is proud of herself for continuing the legacy of her father by giving back. Ali supports charitable organizations including Feed America.
Her father Muhammad Ali, born January 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky, had an amazing boxing career, winning the World Heavyweight Title three times. Throughout his boxing career, Muhammad Ali won a total of 56 fights and lost 5, with 37 of those wins being knockouts.
Outside the ring, the self-proclaimed “world’s greatest” was also a staunch civil rights activist as well as a philanthropist. And though he may be gone, he is still remembered and revered for being a man of very strong principles.