Ali Landry
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Acadiana Profile - May/June 1997

What are Ali Landry & Her Sister, Gena, Up To These Days?
Gena Landry always looked up to her big sister and shared her interests in modeling and pageants. But just how closely will her career be linked to Ali’s?

While attending the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival a few years ago, Ali Landry and her younger sister, Gena, stopped by a fortune-teller’s booth and had their palms read.

The fortune-teller examined Ali’s hands and told her she saw a line of skin care products in her future.

Then she looked at Gena’s hands and said she could see her working with Ali, possibly in the area of marketing or research.

At the time, neither Gena nor Ali thought much of the prediction. It was done in fun, and they surely didn’t take it seriously.

Then, in the summer of ’96, at a time when Ali was becoming really interested in developing and marketing her own line of skin care products, the topic came up in a conversation while Gena was visiting her in Los Angeles.

"Remember when we went to that fortune-teller, remember what she said about the skin care line?" Ali asked Gena.

"Yeah, I remember," Gena responded. "Wow! That’s weird! What if it comes true?"

While neither Ali nor Gena put much stock in the fortune-teller’s prediction, it has come to pass that Ali is seriously considering the skin care business. And if this turns out to be something Ali pursues, Gena says she’d like to be right there with her, helping her sell the products.

"I’d love to work with her. It means I’d get to see her more," Gena says, referring to Ali as "my best friend."

Naturally, the two sisters saw a lot of each other while growing up together near Breaux Bridge. But as they got older, Ali was away more, attending college, participating in beauty pageants, and working seriously in the modeling field. Gena says she missed Ali when she was gone.

Little wonder, then, that she wasn’t all smiles when Ali was crowned Miss USA in February of ’96 at South Padre Island, Texas.

"I was so upset when she won the title. I cried and cried and cried," recalls Gena, now a 19-year-old sophomore majoring in marketing at USL.

"Now, don’t get me wrong, I was happy for her when she won. But I was so sad that my sister was going to leave me," she explains, adding that Ali has been a resident of Los Angeles since winning the title.

When the girls were growing up, Ali was apparently pretty good at getting her little sister to do things for her.

"While growing up, I was into everything imaginable – pageants, baseball, modeling. I was always running around doing these things. I made Gena do everything for me. She was my little maid!" Ali recalls.

But then things changed. Gena grew up and "wised-up" and quit doing things for Ali unless she asked real nicely, Ali relates. A relationship of mutual respect began to develop, and today Ali says she is "very close" to her sister.

"Today, she comes to me for advice – even before going to mamma with a problem," Ali says.

As for Gena, she says she enjoyed doing things to help her big sister, and that she’d do almost anything she was asked.

"I loved doing stuff for her. I loved to make her happy," Gena says.

Gena adds that she was supportive of Ali for as far back as she can remember.

"I always looked up to her; I wanted to be just like my sister," she says.

Gena recalls that she and Ali began to become "close" when Ali was a senior in high school and she was in the eighth or ninth grade.

"I’d always go to her for advice – and I’d follow her advice. I’d go to her to help me make decisions. I’m still not a very decisive person," Gena points out.

Ali began modeling as a young teenager and Gena followed a similar path. They modeled together for Brother’s Department Store of Lafayette in 1995, modeling clothing, shoes and accessories.

While Gena was modeling for print ads for Brother’s and Abdalla’s and doing a TV commercial for Antoinette’s Formals of Lafayette, Ali was modeling in Miami, New York and Paris.

Gena has also followed in Ali’s footsteps in the area of beauty pageants. The day after Ali won the Miss USA crown in South Padre Island, Gena flew out of there to return to Lafayette to relinquish a crown of her own. She was the reigning Queen of Queens – a position sponsored by the Louisiana Assn. of Fairs & Festivals – and was to turn over the crown that night to the new queen. Two years earlier, Gena was the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival Queen.

Today, Gena is a full-time college student majoring in marketing. She is in the USL Honors Program, is a member of Delta Delta Delta Sorority, and holds down a part-time job with the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Department as a commissary clerk.

She lists her special interests as drawing, composing poetry and essays, reading, shopping, travel and aerobics.

Asked whether she plans to compete for the Miss USA title sooner or later, she says she’s undecided.

"I’ll decide when the time comes. It’ll be a few years before I make that decision. I’d rather be older and more mature before deciding. It’d be hard for a 19-year-old to compete with 25-year-olds."

And what about Ali? What are her plans now that her reign as Miss USA is behind her?

For one thing, she has been looking seriously at getting into the skin care products business. For another, she seems to have a continuing interest in being in broadcasting – particularly in the area of entertainment television.

Having been Miss USA, Ali’s chances for what some might consider a glamorous career in broadcasting have been enhanced, to say the least. In fact, she has engaged the services of the William Morris talent agency in Los Angeles, where she now resides, to help her with this and other career goals. She says she’d like to be an on-air reporter for entertainment television.

Asked whether her career plans have changed completely since being crowned Miss USA, she says, no, that even when she was attending USL in broadcasting her plan was to work her way into entertainment TV, and this is still her plan. Having won the title only accelerated her movement toward that goal.

Regarding the skin care line, Ali has been receiving advice and encouragement in this direction from Vera Brown of Los Angeles, who owns her own line, as well as a facility where movie stars go for facials and massages. If Ali’s line were to be produced it would be launched on a trial basis in select major department stores. It would be quite a challenge, since the new products would be in competition with well-established, widely known names like Estee Lauder.

In an interview in Breaux Bridge in April ’97, Ali confirmed that she was offered a job by billionaire Donald Trump and that she turned it down. Trump reportedly wanted her to work for him helping to run the Miss Universe Pageant on a full-time basis. But she says she viewed this simply as a job – albeit a glamorous one – that would have gotten her off of the career path she plans to take.

"I didn’t want to get bogged down (in a job, working for someone else)," she says, explaining that she felt it wouldn’t have been in her best interest, career-wise, to have taken the job.

One of the things Ali is doing now and plans to do for a while is endorsements some of them to support charitable causes, others as a means of making a living. She’s appeared in ads for Evangeline Downs and Ground Pat’i, as well as on posters for the Louisiana Dairy Promotion Board, encouraging children to drink more milk.

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