Ali Landry has made an unforgettable impression on the world of entertainment. After being crowned Miss USA in 1996, she transitioned into a lucrative modeling career. Soon after, she began acting, landing roles in several television shows and movies, including the critically acclaimed film, Bella. But, many will never forget her star-making turn in the 1998 Frito Lay Super Bowl commercial, where she became a world-wide sensation and was coined, “The Doritos Girl.”
These days, Landry is a successful entrepreneur, happily married to a respected filmmaker, and together they have three adorable kids that they strive to raise in a vibrant home with unwavering family values.
It was our sincere pleasure to speak with the talented mom, and one of the nicest people in the business.
Ali, you’ve done so much in your career and now you have your brand Favored.by. Tell us about this endeavor. Favored.by is a mobile app that makes discovering and sharing baby products really fun and easy. You just share your ultimate baby products in each category. I always like to refer to it as the cliff notes version of the best baby products that are out there.
What was your vision behind this app? The real purpose of this was to harness the power of a collective voice, and through that make moms’ lives easier. I spent hours and hours online when I was pregnant, researching from site to site, trying to figure out what to buy. A lot of these items are high-priced. So, it helps moms make better educated purchasing decisions for their family. Right now it’s on the iPhone and we’re building out the Android version.
It’s definitely something that will help busy moms. How did you come up with the concept? This is an idea that myself and my business partner came up with. Just being really active in that mom and baby space, and seeing what was missing and what was needed. I had three children, pretty close together, and each year, every time I had a child, everything was different so I would look to other moms. At first we thought we’d launch Favored.by as a product review site, but then we realized by talking to moms and people in the industry that people really want to know what’s your favorite things. I always attend all the big Expos and I’m fascinated with products and manufacturers, and like any mom, wanting to know what’s out there and then making the best purchasing decisions for my family. And these great products are out there, but my mom friends in Louisiana will never hear about half of them because a lot of your big-box stores will never pick them up. So, the idea for the app is to shed the spotlight on these small great products that people are loving so more people can know about them.
You’re married and have a 1, 2 and 7-year-old. What is the key to keeping balanced? That’s the question that we all ask each other, but I don’t think that there’s an answer. I think you just do your best each day. I always go into each day with my best intentions, by giving my all to my children, my husband, my business, to my friends, family, but I always feel like somebody gets the short end of the stick. But, with that said, I need to give myself a break when that does happen, and know that tomorrow’s a new day. I think also it’s important to make sure you’re very clear on your priorities. An executive of one of the top ten companies in the world shared something with me that I felt was so simple. He said the number one thing that he does is when he’s doing his calendar is schedule in his children and family activities first, whether it’s the school play, or soccer games, or dinner. That’s your priority and that way you will always have the time for them.
Do you have any other tips on trying to stay balanced? I have a ton of them. One thing I do is I schedule in my work time, my e-mails, my phone calls, and my workouts. I also schedule my date nights. I don’t just leave that to chance. You really need that time with your husband, especially with these small kids. I also think it’s important to spend uninterrupted quality time with the kids during the week and on the weekend. And, it’s really hard for me to do, but it’s putting the phone down. Not having the phone while I’m reading a book or playing a game. And for us every Sunday, it’s our family day. We go to church; we go to brunch and we always plan a really great adventure, just the family. Create moments for yourself. We need to fill our glasses up and try not to feel guilty because at the end of the day we’re going to be a better mom, and a better wife for it, whether it’s going to lunch with your girlfriend or getting your nails done. Something else is asking for help. I have family members living with me, but I hate to ask for help. You have to ask for help, from other parents or finding a sitter, or your husband or friends. I really couldn’t do it without my family.
I know that you attribute your Christianity with helping you in various areas of your life. Is there anything specific where your faith has helped you? Just being married in this town, and being in this business… I think to pull off a successful marriage in the entertainment business is a really hard thing. I don’t know how people do it without God in their life. Marriage is difficult as it is, just because of the constant temptation. And, sense of reality and lines are very blurred in the business, so to be married to someone who is “equally yoked” I find to be the biggest blessing… that my husband and I are on the same page. I prayed for him and I think he did for me. I’m so grateful to have him in my life. It helps that we have God that we are accountable to, and that really keeps us on track in our relationship, the choices we make in our career, and the projects that we take on.
Before you met your husband, Alejandro, you were married briefly to Mario Lopez then annulled the marriage 2 weeks later after you discovered infidelity. How did you get through that period in your life? You always say, you want to make God laugh tell Him your plans. I had this one plan for my life and thought my life was going to end up this certain kind of way, now I see that His plan was way better than anything that I could have come up with myself, so I’m so grateful for that. That was a really tough time for me, but I’m so grateful it happened because it brought me so close to God and allowed me to depend on Him fully.
How soon after that did you meet Alejandro? We met 4-6 months after that happened. I started going to a Bible study and I was friends with his business partner, and that’s where we met. When something like that happens you don’t just pop back up. It was definitely a healing process for me. You’re hurt and you have to figure it out and go through that mourning period. He was there through a lot of it and so supportive as well. It wasn’t anything rushed with our relationship. We definitely took our time and really got to know each other, who we are, morals, values, what we really wanted in life before there was any kind of commitment. I felt like I was given a chance to do it again. And, I did not want to mess up.
You waited to have sex until marriage. Was that a decision on both parts? It was. Instead of resorting to that at the end of the night we probably closed down every restaurant in Los Angeles, just talking.
Do you two collaborate on films? Yes, we have two projects in development. His next film, Little Boy, is coming out on February 27th which is a beautiful film that we’re excited about. He is definitely the creator; he is the artist. He bounces ideas off of me. I don’t think he could do what he does without me, and I don’t think I could do what I do without him. In that aspect with our careers we are completely supportive of each other.
Are there any other projects you’re working on? I just sold a show to Mode Media, which is going to be online. It’s called, Mi Casa, Su Casa. It’s myself going into homes of people in the know, bloggers, lifestyle moms and very influential moms and basically seeing how they eat, play and sleep, and what’s working for them in each area. Just taking a sneak peek into their homes.
You always look beautiful. Do you have any beauty tips for other moms? Like most women my age I’m just trying to keep it all together, and it’s not easy these days. I eat well. I exercise. For me what works really well is drinking a ton of water. You want to drink half your body weight in water. So, I probably drink 70-80 ounces of water a day. It’s great for your digestion, your hair, your skin; it helps you feel full, everything. I did get melasma, the dark spots. I use a product called cosmelan that’s really lightened up those spots, or any lightening cream will work. I was going to a dermatologist for that and doing facials. For my skin I’ve never really done anything, no surgeries or peels or anything like that. I also have a great trainer and do a lot of strength training and things on the Bosu ball that really works your core, which in turn works everything else. I used to be in the gym five days per week, before I had kids, but now, I don’t have time. Even though I’m only working out two times a week I feel like I’m getting better results than when I was working out five days per week because I’m working smarter.
What are some moments you create just for yourself? I do workout. I try to do something fun with the kids when I have a free hour or two. I feel like I’m better able to relax when I go out of town. I did something really great that I’ve been wanting to do for ten years. I took 10 of my girlfriends from kindergarten to college, all from Louisiana, and we went to Playa del Carmen a few weeks ago, celebrating our 40th birthday, which was supposed to be last year, but I got pregnant so it was a re-do of the 40th on the 41st. It was incredible. I didn’t even know that this part of me was still there. We didn’t just sit by the pool and lounge around drinking cocktails or sit by the beach. We went zip-lining through the jungle, we went swimming in the cenotes; we went to the pyramids, we did cheerleading pyramids on the beach; we did cannonballs in the air, in the pool. I felt like me again. I didn’t feel like a woman with a ton of things on my plate trying to juggle it all. It was a life-changing trip for a lot of us. I felt so blessed to have had that experience.
Although it’s the role that launched her career, Ali Landry is so much more than “The Doritos Girl.” She’s a talented actress, a savvy businesswoman, an adoring wife, and a devoted mother. And, with the help of her family and her faith this Tinseltown mom will continue to leave an impression that’s all her own.
You can download the app, Favored.by at the iPhone App store.