Ali Landry
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Fit - October, 1999

The Doritos Girl Keeps it Real

Since Ali Landry first caught the country’s attention with her sexy Doritos commercial that aired during the 1997 Superbowl, the former Miss USA has starred in several small-screen projects, as well as more Doritos commercials, and she co-hosts America’s Greatest Pets. So has success gone to her head? Not one bit! When we caught up with Ali in L.A., she came across as a genuinely sweet, humble and healthy person. Nacho ordinary girl!

MICHELLE LEE: Hey Ali! I talked to your trainer, Cyrece, yesterday and it sounds like you guys have a lot of fun working out.
ALI LANDRY: Oh yeah, I’ve been with Cyrece for about four months. I was doing Pilates and other stuff, but not at the intensity I needed. My manager had just had a baby and she was working out with Cyrece. Then I looked at her stomach and it was all ripped up. I was like, give me her number! Cyrece and I have such a good time. We go to the park. We kickbox, using the bags and mitts. Because I’ve been dancing since I was two, I’m already pretty coordinated, so I can pick things up easy – my punches are pretty cool.

ML: Do you full-contact? Do you spar?
AL: Oh, no! My boyfriend and I were working out and I was punching his mitts, and he tapped on my head a little as a joke. And it’s one of those things where it doesn’t hurt, but your feelings get hurt. I couldn’t take getting punched. It’d be like a bee sting – it doesn’t really hurt, but I’d cry.

ML: What else do you do?
AL: I started running. I was so not a runner – I’d get these pains, and then I’d stop. I would run down the block and then walk the rest.

ML: I totally relate! My shins hurt – I’m like an old lady. I try, but I can’t get into it.
AL: Oh, you have to – just breathe through the pain. Last night, I ran 45 minutes! My endurance is much better. I like doing anything outside. Cyrece and I work out five days a week, about two hours. We jump rope, use free weights and bands, do plyometrics.

ML: Your publicist mentioned that you were at some kind of rehearsal earlier. What’s the scoop?
AL: I’m doing a pilot for a TV show called Revolting. It’s set in 1773, so we get to wear cool costumes. It’s a comedy. We just had our first rehearsal today.>p? ML: You were Miss USA in 1996. What’s it like preparing for a beauty pageant?
AL: You have to prepare mentally and physically. I was already working out so much at the time. I was always into everything. I tried softball, volleyball, I was head cheerleader. Then in college, when you’re so active as a child, and you stop doing those things that you didn’t see as exercise…I gained the freshman 10 or whatever. I was like, “Whoa! So that’s what all that stuff did for me!” I wasn’t in the greatest shape. So, I started doing aerobics five days a week, and once a week I would walk five miles.

ML: You grew up in Louisiana, which isn’t known for its low-fat cuisine. Was it hard getting away from Cajun cooking?
AL: In Louisiana, I don’t know how anyone stays remotely slim! Everything is filled with rice! I stay away from breads, anything with white flour, sugar, carbs. I eat high-protein, fruits and vegetables. Growing up, I didn’t like vegetables, and I ate all carbs! I do eat Cajun food occasionally – I don’t believe in depriving myself – or what’s the use of living?

ML: What do you normally eat?
AL: For breakfast, I’ll have my favorite: Low-fat cottage cheese, frozen fruit, like strawberries, with a tablespoon of almonds and some Equal – I’m an Equal freak. Lunch will be either a Zone bar or a salad. Then for dinner, I’ll have some sort of protein like chicken or fish, with vegetables.

ML: I watched America’s Greatest Pets the other day. How’s that going?
AL: Great! I was offered to host the show after Doritos. It’s been great for me. We’ve had baby tigers on the show, an albino python snake, which I held on my neck – that was an experience in itself! We had a monkey that went bananas on the stage. I was, like, on the other side of the stage – I refused to go over there. Another time, we were on location and I had this red nail polish on my toes and I guess it looked like strawberries or something. We were at this petting zoo and I looked down and there was this rooster pecking my toes!

ML: I heard you danced around to cheesy James-Bondish music for the Doritos audition.
AL: There were a ton of beautiful girls there. I don’t like going to auditions for commercials. They were casting in New York and L.A., and this was their second search, and they still hadn’t found anyone. I asked myself, “Do I really feel like doing this?” They said, “Pretend to catch something in your mouth and dance.” I had no idea what I was supposed to be catching. I could do flips – I did it all. And I guess they liked it! I had never watched the Superbowl and this was my first national commercial, so I didn’t know what a good commercial was. I thought it would be a basic commercial – no big deal. I didn’t even know it was going to air during the Superbowl. It was a little overwhelming, because I had no expectations whatsoever. No idea.

ML: Are you at all sick of being called the Doritos Girl – which, oops, I think we call you in our headline here…
AL: Not really. I’m so grateful that this has helped me so much. And I do so many other shows, so it’s not who I am.

ML: And you made People’s 50 Most Beautiful list…
AL: I know! All because of Doritos! That list is usually just whoever’s the hot thing, and it’s usually people who are established in the business – singers, actors, sports figures. I thought, “What in the world?”

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