One of the most in-demand models, actress, TV hostess, and… rumored to be Kanye West’s new lover. What else don’t we know about this Russian beauty?
1. Her late grandmother was a World War II heroine
Galina Shaikhlislamova had been at war since she was 19 years old: she served in the reconnaissance at the 3rd Ukrainian Front. She met the victory over fascists in Austria. In honor of her paternal grandmother, Irina got a tattoo “Galina” on her ankle.
“My father’s mother was one of the strongest women I met. And I loved growing up in a woman’s family because I learned a lot. It came in handy for me in life,” Irina confessed to American magazine Harper’s Bazaar.
2. She was surrounded by strong women
Little Irina grew up in a dignified family until she was 14, but in 2000 her father died of lung disease (he worked in the mine). The girl was left with her mother and older sister. The realities of the Soviet Union were far from the world of red carpets and fashionable catwalks, but her innate independence and desire to help her early widowed mother became an incentive to achieve success and recognition. She worked hard until she was seven months pregnant with her daughter Leah. And now she successfully combines her career and raising a child. As Irina herself assures me, having the example of her mother and grandmother in her childhood, she herself grew up as strong-willed and determined.
3. She was a beauty queen
Back in 2004 Irina received her first title – Miss Chelyabinsk. After that, the girl moved to Paris and seriously engaged in modeling. Now she regularly appears at Givenchy, Miu Miu and Moschino shows. And she considers chief creative director of Burberry Riccardo Tisci and Donatella Versace her friends.
4. She is a commercial model and a catwalk model at the same time
Some models shoot commercial images and catalogs, while others walk the runway. This division implies different appearance parameters, but Irina managed to become indispensable in both areas. While working at a Parisian modeling agency, she asked to be sent “somewhere else to make money” and ended up on a shoot in Spain. Her stunning figure was appreciated and Irina became the first Russian star on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine, after which she began to be invited to work in the United States. Irina is grateful to Ricardo Tisci for introducing her to the world of high fashion and was the first major designer to invite a model to participate in the show.
5. She’s a sports fanatic
Not only a supermodel, but a sports fanatic who regularly attends the Wimbledon stands. It was she who brought 250 athletes from Russia to the Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Games, and two years later she posted on Instagram congratulations to the Russian gold medalists in Rio. Shayk is just as patriotic when it comes to soccer: in 2018, she and Natasha Poly and Natalia Vodianova came to cheer on the Russian team at the World Cup in Moscow.