Mother. Partner. Businesswoman. Entrepreneur. Inspiration.
All words that can be used to describe the beautiful and talented Telli Swift. Aside from being fiancé to Deontay Wilder, Telli is a mother to her two children, a reality television star on the show WAGS Atlanta, and founder of the Boxing Wag’s Association. A woman of balance, Telli has proven that you can stand by your man, while simultaneously standing on your own as a woman. We had the opportunity to catch up with Telli to discuss entrepreneurship, her Boxing Wag’s Association, and Deontay Wilder. She shares with us everything from how Wilder inspires her to be better through his love for his daughter to her rise in her career. Check out the interview and what she had to say here:
Growing up, was entrepreneurship preached in your household or was it something you had to learn on your own?
No, I was taught to go to college and pursue a career in the medical field and that’s what I did. But after being on television I realized how influential I was to women and I started to create a brand around my name and women’s empowerment. I then trademarked ‘fem-powerist’ to show that women can have the same power as a man. Within a year I attended a Wag’s academy that was held by associations of the women in the NFL and NBA and there I realized there was no space for the women of boxing to come together and support each other. I created the Boxing Wag’s Association, so we can support each other as women and help our surrounding communities. And the rest is history.
As a woman of many businesses what was the most challenging obstacle you had to overcome in creating them?
Believing in myself when no one believed in the things that I was trying to accomplish to develop my brand. It was the most challenging obstacle for me. It is a scary feeling not to know whether your brand is going to fail or succeed. Once I got over the fear of whether my business was going to fail, I was able to persevere in all that I was trying to create and here we are now.
You have a non-profit organization called Boxing Wags association. Tell us what inspired you to create this amazing platform?
My inspiration stemmed from me attending a Wag’s academy where the women of the NBA and NFL had a support system for their spouses. The purpose of the BWA is to have an alliance of women within the boxing network who are fully committed to collectively affect change within themselves as well as their surrounding communities.
If people wanted to donate to Boxing Wags how would they go about doing that?
To learn more about the Boxing Wags Association and the things that we do for our surrounding communities please visit boxingwagsassociation.org and click the donate tab. You’ll also be able to make purchases on authenticated gloves and apparel from your favorite boxer. And since fight week is just weeks away right now, we are selling packages for the Deontay vs Fury fight. These packages include tickets to the fight, rooms at the MGM, access to post-fight conferences and weigh-in, post-fight press conferences, and more. Be sure to check it out!
You’re a woman of many talents, you speak 3 different languages, and have lived around the world; can you explain how those experiences have shaped your life?
Growing up my father was in the military and it taught me to adapt to many cultures which helped me later on to be successful in the things I aspired to. Being able to relate to different cultures, religions, and races are strong factors when it comes to business ventures.
We could not leave this out but you’re the wife of boxing champion Deontay Wilder. Tell us how his journey inspired you? And how have you inspired him?
His love for his daughter that was born with Spina Bifida is the reason he fights and what pushes not just him, but me and my business ventures. We both do things for the sake of our family and that is what pushes us to strive for more.
Besides being a business owner, I see you’re a speaker and actress. Is there a dream role you would like to star in for a movie?
To be honest with you I haven’t had any lead roles and so to star in any movie would be an honor. Some of my favorite actresses include Angela Bassett, Angelina Jolie, Viola Davis, and Melissa Rodriguez. My dream role would be something that empowers women, like Charlize Theron plays in the movie ‘Monster.’
When you have speaking engagements what is your overall message to the people?
To make women feel that they can be submissive to their man but also still be strong and have a voice of their own.
Who is someone that motivates you?
Strong black leaders like Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama.
How can people get in contact with you to continue to follow your journey?