Laila Ali in New York

I flew to NYC to photograph Laila Ali, the stunning boxer and daughter of legend Mohammed Ali.
Laila arrived with her entourage, swept into the dressing room. She gave my assistants and me just a fleeting glance. She was accompanied by some really tough looking boxer friends, who stopped and looked at me up and down, then one of them said “who are you then”?
“ I’m Clive Arrowsmith. I’m the photographer from London, here to photograph Laila, for this Nike promotion.

We waited until Laila finally appeared again, dressed in a full length boxing robe. I was immediately struck her beautiful golden dark bronze skin. She was absolutely stunning, with formidable presence in front of the camera.

“Hi”, I said, “so great to meet you. How do you want do this? Personally I would like you to be in the outfits you feel really comfortable in. They should be like training clothes if that’s ok with you”. She agreed and went to get her make up and change.

Some time later she came back dressed and ready in a white vest and black training shorts. In her left hand hung some bright red boxing gloves. I remembered thinking, “Wow, she looks like a Warrior Queen. “

“That’s great”, I said. We chatted as the scene was prepped and I showed her a picture I’d taken of His Holiness Dalai Lama and gave it to her as a gift.

“This is for you,” I said “I know your father met His Holiness and they got on really well”. She smiled a warm smile and we shot this picture.

  • Clive Arrowsmith is still  shooting stunning images, staging exhibitions and is as passionate about photography as he was when he first pressed the shutter at The Paris Collections. He is available for global media opportunities related to his work and photography generally. Bespoke prints from Clive’s archive are also available by special request, for any enquiries  (email Eugenie here). Clive’s book Arrowsmith: Fashion, Beauty & Portraits is available here and Lowry at Home: Salford 1966 is available here

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