Even somebody with only a mild interest in sports, more specifically boxing, would be familiar with the name.
As of recently, there’s another Holyfield in town, one 23 years his junior, and less than half his physical stature—the “him” in question being, of course, former undisputed World Champion boxer Evander Holyfield. The chatter around Evette Holyfield, the second to oldest of the sports hero’s 11 children, and her countless business ventures—including an upcoming book and workout DVD—is getting louder by the minute. In addition to her entrepreneurial sprit, Evette serves as a motivational speaker to at-risk teenage girls, and has even announced a decision to remain a virgin until marriage.
Now, the 27-year-old is stepping further into the ring of life (and the spotlight) with clear vision and a mission. Steadfast in her faith and secure in her purpose, she’s committed to a journey of empowering women; she gave EBONY a sneak peek into her life and work.
EBONY: You’ve got a lot going on right now! Let’s start with the book. How’s it coming along?
Evette Holyfield: I’m really excited about it! It’s going to help empower women [in regards to] what they want to do and the keys to get there. I’ll also be giving them tips on things that I’ve done in my life with relationships, my career and how I’ve gotten to the point that I’ve gotten to now. I’m super truthful. I don’t sugarcoat anything and I wouldn’t want someone to sugarcoat something with me. I’m, like, brutally honest.
EBONY: With all of your ventures, your primary goal is to empower women. When did you realize that it was a passion of yours?
EH: It really started at a young age, just having my dad to encourage me to do the things that I want to do. I’ve always just been an encouraging person. Even when I would meet young women, I would just start talking to them about my life, and how I had taken this stance on being a virgin and all of these things. It just kind of happened.
EBONY: I see how motivational speaking was a natural role for you to take on. Your decision to remain a virgin until marriage has certainly gotten some attention. How does that make you feel?
EH: It’s not even about not having sex; it’s really about knowing who you are and owning who you are. [It’s about] living that out and being a healthier person, and realizing why you’re doing the things that you’re doing. It’s not [about] trying to be like me because this is my reality. This is who I am. I just encourage women to know who they are as a person—to know what they want, what their value is and what their strengths and weaknesses are.
EBONY: Your strong sense of self has helped you on your path to becoming a businesswoman and remaining true to what you’ve identified as your calling by God. What are some key lessons you’ve learned regarding business and relationships thus far?
EH: You have to separate people that are just talking a lot in your ear and people that are actually doing stuff. My dad always says, “Put it down on paper.” You also have to listen and be open-minded to what people are saying to you [because] you don’t know everything. I’m still working on a lot of things that I thought that I knew, and I don’t.
EBONY: As a former track athlete, one thing you do know about is healthy living—especially as it pertains to fitness. Tell us about the DVD you have in the works.
EH: I’ve been working [on the video] with Cliff Hollywood [who] trains a lot of the stars, such as Usher and Nicki Minaj, here in Atlanta. I want women to feel empowered not just by learning about what they want to do with their career; I also want them to feel good about themselves physically.
EBONY: You seem dedicated to taking a more holistic approach to women’s empowerment.
EH: It all comes back to wanting women to be empowered [when it comes to] what they want to do with their careers, as well as physically, spiritually and everything else.
Follow Evette on Twitter @evetteholyfield!