Ali Landry has evolved from sexy model and actress (known for her sultry turn in a Doritos commercial) to entrepreneur. Inspired by the birth of her first child, daughter Estela, now 9, she created the children’s clothing line, Belle Parish. Next she launched the app Favored.by, which helps moms choose the best baby products for their families, based on the reviews of other parents. (Landry and her husband, Alejandro Gomez Monteverde, also have two sons, Marcelo, 4, and Valentin, 3.) Then, five years ago, she started the annual Red CARpet Safety Awareness Event, in which she and other influential moms work tirelessly to promote car seat safety. “These projects might not be the things that brought me the most fame or the most recognition, but they’re absolutely the things that I’m most proud of because they’re authentically me,” she tells Momtastic. In addition to her parent-focused initiatives, Landry is currently shopping around a docu-series about young female fashion entrepreneurs. Recently, Landry took time from her busy schedule to chat with us about the advice she’ll give her daughter on following in her footsteps, breastfeeding while pumping gas, and more.
MT: How did you come up with the idea for Favored.by?
AL: When I was pregnant with my first child, I wanted to make the right purchasing decisions, but I knew nothing about baby products. I spent my pregnancy researching products and looking at reviews. I remember thinking, ‘Who is this person who’s giving me this review? Is it a trusted review?’ I even went into some of the big box stores and small boutiques and stood by products and asked moms for their opinions. One time I asked seven or eight moms which bottle to get and each mom gave me a different answer. Inspired to give moms an app I wish I had, my business partners and I launched Favored.by.
MT: What’s the craziest parenting experience you’ve ever had in public?
AL: I was pumping gas at a gas station and my daughter started crying in her car seat. I climbed into the back seat and leaned over, pulled my bra down, and nursed her while she was still strapped in. I had left the hose in the tank. When my husband, who had been filling the tires with air, got back in the car he thought I was finished pumping gas. We pulled away and yanked the whole hose away with us. There were sparks. It cost us a couple of thousand dollars to repair!
MT: Do you parent your daughter and sons differently?
AL: I’m harder on my daughter than I am on my sons. I’m a little obsessed with my boys, and I let them get away with things a little bit quicker. They’re very loving with me.
MT: Why do you think you’re harder on your daughter?
AL: She’s very mature for her age and she wants to be just like me. I’m very protective. She’s at a very conservative school, which I love, but she knows what’s out there, she sees billboards. I can already tell that she’s the one I’m going to have to be really on top of.
MT: Does she want to follow in your show biz footsteps?
AL: Yes. My daughter is an incredible singer. She loves the spotlight, and she asks me often if she can go on auditions. I think she’s too young. There’s a lot of temptation in show business. You see these young child actors and performers that become very successful and then end up in some sort of trouble. On set, the adult is no longer in charge, it’s the child star—and children aren’t developed enough to be in charge.
MT: When you decide she’s old enough to audition, what advice will you give her about going into the industry?
AL: I will have to have a conversation with her about my experience in the business. I feel like I was exploited sexually. I broke into the scene with the Doritos commercial and then I posed for super sexy spreads in Maxim and FHM. It was so not who I was on the inside, but I didn’t realize until I was older that I could have – and should have — stood up for myself and expressed how I wished to be portrayed.
MT: How did those experiences affect your career later on?
AL: I feel like I’ve had to do so much backpedaling from those days. There was one point in my career where men related to me way more than women did. Yet, I am a huge supporter of women — the most girl’s-girl there is. So, that was a little tricky at first when I entered the mom space.
MT: What else do you want to teach your children, based on the lessons you’ve learned so far in life?
AL: I try to talk to my daughter about mistakes I made when I was little. Like, there was one time when my girlfriends and I didn’t let this one girl play with us and we were mean to her and that’s one of my regrets. As an adult I look back and think, ‘That was very mean. I hate that I did that.’ I explain to her what it would be like to be that one person who’s left out. And she really listens and she’s very receptive.
MT: Last Q before we let you go: What’s something about you that most people don’t know?
AL: I am passionate about architecture and design. When I was younger I took shop with all the boys, instead of taking home economics. I made all the furniture for my bedroom!