|Acadiana Profile - May/June 1997
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 Alis?
While attending the Breaux Bridge
Crawfish Festival a few years ago, Ali
Landry and her younger sister, Gena,
stopped by a fortune-tellers booth
and had their palms read.
The fortune-teller examined Alis
hands and told her she saw a line of skin
care products in her future.
Then she looked at Genas hands
and said she could see her working with
Ali, possibly in the area of marketing or
At the time, neither Gena nor Ali
thought much of the prediction. It was
done in fun, and they surely didnt
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
"Yeah, I remember," Gena
responded. "Wow! Thats weird!
What if it comes true?"
While neither Ali nor Gena put much
stock in the fortune-tellers
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 shed
like to be right there with her, helping
her sell the products.
"Id love to work with her.
It means Id get to see her more,"
Gena says, referring to Ali as "my
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 wasnt
all smiles when Ali was crowned Miss USA
in February of 96 at South Padre
"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, dont 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!"
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 shed do almost anything she
"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,"
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.
"Id always go to her for
advice and Id follow her
advice. Id go to her to help me
make decisions. Im 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 Brothers
Department Store of Lafayette in 1995,
modeling clothing, shoes and accessories.
While Gena was modeling for print ads
for Brothers and Abdallas and
doing a TV commercial for Antoinettes
Formals of Lafayette, Ali was modeling in
Miami, New York and Paris.
Gena has also followed in Alis
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 Sheriffs Department as a
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 shes undecided.
"Ill decide when the time
comes. Itll be a few years before I
make that decision. Id rather be
older and more mature before deciding. Itd
be hard for a 19-year-old to compete with
And what about Ali? What are her plans
now that her reign as Miss USA is behind
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, Alis
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 shed 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 Alis 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 didnt want to get bogged
down (in a job, working for someone else),"
she says, explaining that she felt it
wouldnt have been in her best
interest, career-wise, to have taken the
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. Shes appeared in ads for
Evangeline Downs and Ground Pati,
as well as on posters for the Louisiana
Dairy Promotion Board, encouraging
children to drink more milk.