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Ali Landry Longs For a Southern Style Upbringing For Estela

09/25/2009 at 11:00 AM ET
Courtesy New Moms Handbook for use on CBB

Born and raised in Louisiana, Ali Landry is bringing the traditional southern style to Los Angeles — especially when it comes to Estela Ines, her daughter with Alejandro Monteverde.

Despite her efforts, however, the actress often longs for her hometown qualities among her now metropolitan lifestyle.

“I grew up in Louisiana where I have 18 sets of aunts and uncles all living within 30 miles of each other,” she tells the fall issue of New Mom’s Handbook.

“In the South you visit a lot. I mean you don’t call and say, ‘I’m coming over,’ you just stop by and visit all afternoon. It makes me so sad not to have that for Estela [in Los Angeles]. That absolutely is the toughest thing in the world.”

Fortunately, experiencing life in both Louisiana and the west coast got Ali’s creative juices flowing; She recently launched her children’s clothing line, Belle Parish.

“It started because my mom saved these beautiful day gowns from when I was a baby,” she shares. “When I had Estela she flew here and brought me this beautiful box with all of these delicate little cotton dresses that women in our town made by hand.” A quick glance around, and Ali realized the old-fashioned style was hard to come by in Hollywood!

“And then it occurred to me, in California I see a lot of children dressed like adults. I have so much appreciation now for where I’m from and that traditional style. I just really wanted to celebrate each phase of her life and I wanted to dress her like a baby with bonnets, dresses and the little crocheted shoes.”

Calling every day in motherhood “a new experience,” Ali reveals that, as of lately, her time has been spent battling the terrible twos. “She’s just started that age where she hits me sometimes,” she says. “I’m very consistent and I do put her sitting in the corner.” Keeping the lines of communication open with Estela, Ali — who will “try to talk to her and explain why we don’t hit people” — is also a stickler for good manners. “I also like to make sure she says, ‘Please,’ and ‘Thank you.’ And, ‘Yes, Ma’am.’”

Click below to read about how Ali and Alejandro’s morning parenting routine differs and what Ali’s mother said that made her cry.

While Ali and Alejandro may agree when it comes to manners, the same can’t be said for Estela’s morning routine. “Every single morning — we actually fight all the way, pushing — to see who’s going to get in Estela’s door first,” Ali laughs. “We can’t stand to be awake without her with us.”

As the mother-daughter pair enjoy waking up in a “serene” setting — “I pick her up and give her a hug, and I’m just very gentle and quiet,” she says — Alejandro likes nothing more than to celebrate each sunrise!

“Alejandro bursts open the door singing the ‘Mexican Morning Song’ and it’s loud and he’s loud. And she says, ‘Papa, apaga la luz [turn off the light].’ So, I want her to have that calm in the morning and he is just all-out with her.”

Motherhood for Ali has left her appreciating her own mother that much more. “I have the best mom in the world,” she boasts. The importance of her mother’s approval was evident when both Ali and Alejandro’s families gathered to celebrate Estela’s second birthday, the 36-year-old says.

“One day she pulled me aside and said, ‘I’ve been watching you and I want you to know that I really admire you as a mother,” Ali recalls. “You are so amazing with Estela. I never see you raise your voice. You always talk to her and she really listens. I’m just in awe of how you are with your child.” Kind words from mom was all it took for Ali to break down! “I started crying. There’s nothing in the world that would mean more to me than what she said.”

Source: New Mom’s Handbook

– Anya

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Showing 34 comments

Sofie on

What a little cutie, a total mini-me! Just as beautiful as her mother.

mp on

I know a lot of people like the way Ali dresses Estela, but it seems awfully stiff and formal to me — and like Ali, I was raised in the South by traditional parents. Dressing up is fine for special occasions, but what does Estela wear when she wants to get down and dirty on the playground? I’d love to see her in something casual.

Jessica on

The dresses are cute. I get what she’s saying there isn’t really children’s clothes anymore, not like there used to be.

On Mad Men Sally wears really cute traditional casual clothes. A lot of embroidery, ruffles, and peter pan collars.

Crystal on

I ♥ Ali and family. I wonder if she and Alejandro will have any more children. They seem like wonderful family!

Lily on

Estela looks like her father, spittin’ image. All this talk of the south and how big her family is…honestly, if she wants that so much, she should go live in Lousiana or move to Mexico with her husbands large hispanic family. She doesn’t have to live in Los Angeles. I’m sort of tired of her whining in all these interviews of what she ‘wants’ and what she ‘longs for’. Life is what it is, we can’t have it all. We can’t have it perfect, so make the best of it. Honestly, if I were Ali, I’d be thrilled that I found a good husband, that I had a healthy daughter and that I had a decent career. All the other stuff is irrelevant…the bows, the frilly dresses, the image, the ‘don’t turn on the lights so my poor baby’s eyes don’t get hurt in the morning’ attitude, etc…Come on! It’s superficial crap that doesn’t really matter. If not being able to visit your family every day at a moments notice is ‘the toughest thing in the world’ (to HER), I’d get Ali prepared for what’s to come. Ali Landry is beautiful, has a gorgeious child and I appreciate her sharing photos of her child with us, but sorry, Ali sometimes strikes me as big-time high-maintenance.

XOXO on

I love Estela style, my daughter dressed similar to that as a baby and toddler, we are mexican and that is how my family dresses little girls, with beautiful dresses and bows.

My daughter went to the park and got down and dirty with dreeses or pants, I just washed the clothes its ok, I admit some of the dresses got ruin but some are perfectly fine. My daughter did not miss a thing only because I chose for her to wear dresses and bows, after all it was my choice! Now my daughter is 7 and still wears bows and dresses and skits, yet now she also wears jeans and tennis for school and activities, she does still LOVE to wear the dresses, skirts and bows but I admit she is growing up and the baby dresses are not too appropiate for her all the time anymore. She does still wear little girl clothes, but not like when she was a baby and a toddler. I do love Gymboree for her, their clothes is girly just like we (yes she likes it too) likes it, with matching bows and socks!

We as parents have the choice to dress our children how we want to dress them when they are little. She was a baby and toddler for such little time I wanted to take advatage of it. Once she grows up she will dress how she want.

Daisy on

That little precious girl hitting her mother…!? Lol…she seems so girly and dainty…

ashley on

Lily I dont see Ali’s statements as whiny. I am sure if she wasn’t an actress she would move back to the south but due to her career she can’t. If her “whining” interviews bother you so much then don’t read her interviews.

cali on

She is a beautiful little girl (and momma)
My girls wear lots of dresses. They prefer them, and I find them easier for changing their bottoms. They are nice cool on hot days too. Yes, they wear them to the park, and playing in puddles. I just wash them. I sometimes hear people on here comment what do they wear to the park? or make reference to the extent that they must not allow her to go the the park because she is in dresses all girly. What gives people the idea that they can’t get their dresses dirty? My daughter owns some nice pants that I would be more concerned about ruining at the park than some of her dresses.

freebreeze on

I agree with the fact that we dress children as mini adults…new borns in denim mini skirts? Please! BUT having said that personally I don’t like the bows and smocking myself. Also my children have very strong ideas about what they want to wear even from that age so its not like I have ever had a living doll to dress up…

Mrs. R. on

I agree with Ali, but I too think it’s a bit contrictive to have her wearing party clothes every day instead of play clothes.
Brands like Hanna Andersson and Janie & Jack make age appropriate clothes that are beautiful, but still are easy to wear and easy to play in (and wash).
I can’t imagine having to spend a fortune on dry cleaning for my toddler.

Becky on

Well said Ashley!

m-dot on

I love Ali and her family. Both she and her little girl are beautiful, and she seems so happy to be a mother. I totally get her with the family desires. I’m from NY, but I grew up in a neighborhood with my grandparents a few buildings up, and aunts, uncles, and cousins within the area. My cousins were additional siblings! So much love and support. Now for my kids, My husband and I live in a state where neither of us have ANY relatives. I like where we are, and we wil continue to be here, but it does sadden me that my kids won’t have the bond that i had growing up with my family and extended family.

Anywho-I love that she dresses her like a doll. I think it’s the way all little girls should be dressed. Little ladies. :)

Laura on

Bows and dresses….bows and dresses. Too much.

Mary on

I love to dress my daughter in vintage dresses, she has a closet full of them but I don’t put them on her everyday. I don’t put them on her when we go to the park or ‘get down and dirty’ as someone put it. I put them on her for parties, fairs and photo shoots. If they get dirty, I wash them like anything else. These years when they are so little, you want to look back at them as innocent, not trendy, so I understand where Ali is coming from. I really think my daughter will appreciate the time and thought I took to dress her like a little lady, not like a mini adult.

Electra on

I tend to agree on Ali’s stance on their not being childrens clothing anymore, just adult stuff thats mini. I still don’t like how she dresses Estela tho. I must prefer some of the things Suri Cruise wears, which is still child-like and girly but not as dated.

missloUiSiAna on

I live in the same town Ali & her family is from, Breaux Bridge, LA, anyways, a lot of people do dress their lil girls like that here and have been for as long as I can remember. Mabey Ali is homesick and it’s just in her Cajun blood that when ya have a daughter just to dress her like this and she got the idea to launch her own line since she’s out there in Hollywood now. She and her family are very modest as well, I see her mom a lot at our local Family Dollar, Wal-Mart and Piggly Wiggly and her parents still live in the small house they’ve always lived in since Ali was growing up, nothing fancy at all. I’m happy for her for everything she’s accomplished. I read Estela speaks a little Spanish I wonder if Ali’s teaching her some Cajun French? lol

Molly on

Its kinda ignorant that she says not having her family around is the absolutely toughest thing in the whole world. She obviously doesn’t watch news.

CelebBabyLover on

Molly- Obviously she means it’s the toughest thing in the world for HER! She never said it’s the toughest thing in the world for EVERYONE!

Cali- I agree! I also don’t get why so many people seem to think that all dresses have to be dry cleaned!

Anyway, I think this is the first time I’ve seen Estela with her hair pulled back! She looks so much more grown up that way! :)

SouthernBelle on

Do we have to turn this beautiful interview into a reason to mock her, scorn her, wonder if she’s watching the news, criticize her missing her family and the way she dresses her child…can we think of anything else??? It really saddens me how mean-spirited, judgmental, covetous and hateful people have become…especially women, especially mothers, and especially toward each OTHER! Why not enjoy the interview and live and let live…or just go on to another post if you despise her feelings, choices, talking about her child instead of current events or any of the other things for which she’s been criticized? And the person sick of hearing how she misses things in the South? I can tell you why…because people tend to stick together in good times and bad, get to know their neighbors, visit just because they enjoy each other’s company, bond over babies, family and friends, and really CELEBRATE life and the success of one another. Crazy, huh? Now I’m asking myself yet again…why do I bother coming to this site’s comments section again? My mistake.

Jennifer on

Estela is such a beauty! :) She looks so cute with her hair pulled back. And personally, I am a fan of the vintage dresses and the big bows.

Allison on

Little girls have gotten “down and dirty” in precious dresses for centuries. You don not have to dress like a mini rock star to be able to play in the sandbox. I admire Ali Landry’s sense of tradition and decorum. The clothes Ali likes are comprable in price to trendy baby clothes, yet surpass them in quality. I continue to search out appropriate clothing for my little boys that are traditional. I hope Ali will add a boys’ line to her collection! Bella!

Brianne on

Hmm…I want to like this line of clothing, as I really enjoy girly dresses, but I just don’t. It’s ill fitting. I know she has gone for the vintage frilly look, but I just really dislike the fit of all of her dresses – too big around the middle, too short at the hem and the sleeves just look off. I wore dresses that fit like that myself in the seventies. She could have made them with the same fabrics and detailing, but with a more current day fit. I would have purchased one for my daughter if she had.

hello on

I love Alis style-estella is gorfous. They would have a super cute boy!!

hello on

gorgous (mispell)

Anna on

Adorable little girl – she seems happy! I don’t understand the criticisms going Ali’s way. She likes to dress her daugher in age appropriate and cute (OK, a bit fancy maybe) clothes. I would much prefer to see a little 2 year old walking down the street in clothes like Estela wears vs. some of the clothes today that tend to mirror adult clothes. And while no, not all of us can afford the dry cleaning bills to dress our daughters like that, if Ali can make it work then good for her. The quality of Ali’s parenting matters more than the quality of clothes she is putting on Estela. And she seems like a pretty doting and loving mom to me.

MiB on

Dresses won’t stop little girls from getting muddy, parents who think little girls in dresses shouldn’t get muddy do. I mean, the majority of dresses, frilly or not can be machine washed, so theyr’e really not more inconvenient than pants and a t-shirt unless they are so ling or wide that theyrestrict the childs movement. I can see that many think a smocked dress needs to be dry cleand, but it usually doesn’t.

Kasee on

I don’t know why but every time I see this poor child dressed like she is supposed to be sitting on a shelf somewhere, I want to rip the ginormous bow out of her hair and give her something more comfortable. That doesn’t have to be something super trendy or inappropriately adult (a cute romper? A pants (doesn’t have to be jeans) and top set?) It would be different if she was just dressed like that for picture or church, but it seems like that’s her daily uniform. I mean seriously how many of you who think that’s cute would be comfortable going about your everyday lives in dresses with big poofy sleeves and enormous bows in your hair? She is a human child, not a doll.

CelebBabyLover on

Kasee- How do you know that Estela is miserable in her dresses? Maybe she’s like Suri Cruise and actually likes wearing dresses! :) Also, if Estela did not want to wear those bows, then she would rip them off herself!

CelebBabyLover on

Oh, and I also want to point out that we have no idea what those dresses are made of. For all we know, they could be made out of cotton and be very comfortable. :)

Kasee on

CelebBabyLover, there is a difference between “a dress” and the types of dresses Estela wears. Does she look cute? Heck yes. Is it practical for all the time? No. And with the way Ali always talks about how SHE wants to dress Estela, something tells me that child doesn’t get a whole lot of say in what she wears.

CelebBabyLover on

Kasee- Estela is 2 years old. Most kids that age are definently going to let you know if they don’t like what they’re wearing. Also, like I said, Estela would more than likely yank those hair bows out if she didn’t like them.

I remember Brad Pitt saying a few years ago when Zahara was Estela’s age that, at the time, she wouldn’t keep anything in her hair. We have also seen evidence that Suri Cruise pulls things out of her hair (there have been pictures of Katie carrying headbands, for example).

Oh, and you still didn’t tell me how you know for a fact that Estela hates the way her mother dresses her!

Also, if Estela didn’t like what she was wearing, do you really think she’d look so happy all the time?

Katie on

Wow, it is just so strange to me that people are bashing Ali for dressing her child the way she wants to and for missing her family. As someone who lives 8 states away from family/friends I can totally relate, it is so difficult to be away from your support system. While in the grand scheme of things there are bigger problems in the world, on a personal level it can be very trying.

I applaud Ali on her new venture and I look forward to purchasing some of the beautiful clothes from her line. I actually hope she starts making boys clothing as well. Good Luck Ali!!

P.S. Does anyone know the pricing for Belle Parish?

lala on

Estela has to be one of the prettiest little girls I have ever seen. I see a mix of both parents in her-she looks alot like Ali to me. Her clothing has taste and style!

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