The daughter of boxing great Muhammad Ali wears several hats: model-turned-fashion-entrepreneur, spokesperson for charitable causes, single mom. Raised on the Main Line, she recently moved to Center City from Newtown Square, and opts to commute to NYC three times a week instead of moving there. “I love Philadelphia too much to ever leave,” she says. Here, the statuesque style icon opens up about her most beloved objects.
1. Flying pig statue
Ali found the foot-long piece in Philadelphia’s Chinatown; she keeps it at hand as inspiration to tackle challenges that may seem impossible. “It’s what you believe can happen that’s important, not what others say.”
2. “World’s Best Mom” necklace
For a school art project, Ali’s son designed a lasting fashion statement: a necklace with beads reading “Khaliah” and “World’s Best Mom.” “It reminds me of my greatest accomplishment.”
3. Khaliah Ali sewing patterns
After years as a Ford model, Ali turned her style savvy into a business: Her globally influenced collection of sewing patterns (available at Kmart, Wal-Mart and Jo-Ann Fabric & Crafts) and ready-to-wear apparel line (KAliApparel.com) celebrate women of all sizes and ethnicities.
4. Dad’s world championship belt
Instead of putting his World Boxing Council trophy in a museum, her proud papa gave it to his daughter to use when she does charity work with children. “Kids are in awe of it.”
5. Pink Phillies cap
A Philly sports fanatic, Ali loves the hat she picked up at Modell’s. “I’m 100 percent loyal to my hometown teams, but I’m 110 percent loyal to feeling and looking like a lady.”
6. Louis Vuitton scarf
The chic, colorful accessory is both practical (for tying back her long tresses) and sentimental: “I got it at Saks off City Line Avenue — my mom shopped there when I was a little girl.”
7. Gauguin tote
A busy mom-on-the-go, Ali stashes everything from gym clothes to her son’s toys in a Paul Gauguin-printed carryall from Blendo (1002 Pine Street; 215-351-9260). “Gauguin’s women look like a lot of the women in my family — exotic.” A steal at $14; Ali bought four.
8. Best friend photo
A surprising match: Ali’s best friend is Jacqui Frazier-Lyde, daughter of onetime Muhammad Ali rival Joe Frazier. After hitting it off at an event at the Bellevue, the two have stayed close for 10 years — even after Frazier-Lyde’s loss to Ali’s half-sister, Laila Ali, in a women’s pro boxing fight.
9. Soup’s On! chicken corn chowder
Ali is passionately involved in public service; she’s a spokesperson for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, HELP USA and the Salvation Army. She swears by the chicken corn chowder prepared by the Salvation Army’s culinary job-training program in Philadelphia — and even gives quarts as gifts. Call 215-452-0430 to order your own.