Catching the eye of i-D Fashion Director Charlotte Stockdale, Shanina Shaik is the 21-year-old model with an Australian accent, a sweet tooth and a perfect face.
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Victoria’s Secret girls don’t usually have that strange, alternative beauty that you have to look for. They aren’t acquired tastes that some can appreciate and others can’t. They are the ones with perfect features and bodies that curve and align in exactly the right proportion. Shanina Shaik was a Victoria’s Secret model, and there’s no denying her beauty; it is obvious. But she queued with the rest for three years before she was picked for the lineup. Shanina stands out because of her perfect prettiness, but also because she’s a different colour. Seeing her on the catwalk this season was a breath of fresh air with her Middle-Eastern/ South Asian looks which – in more ways one one – paled the others in comparison. With a Lithuanian and Australian mother, and a Pakistani and Saudi Arabian father, Shanina is well tanned with dark, dark hair and hazel eyes. We stared at her at Diesel Black Gold this season, then more intently at Vivienne Westwood, and finally went searching where we found a wonderfully alliterative name and a famous boyfriend who likes to talk (Tyson Beckford).
Growing up in Australia, Shanina was always beautiful, modelling from the age of eight in catalogues for Target and K-Mart. At fifteen she revisited the profession entering the ‘Girlfriend Model Competition’ and later ‘Make Me A Supermodel’. But it’s only now, at twenty-one, that the world is looking up. Signed to NEXT Model Management, i-D online couldn’t wait to feature Shanina in our i-Profile series. Yes you should watch this face. It’s hardly a chore.
Define your style in five words… Cool, sexy, sophisticated, edgy, biker.
How has modelling changed your life? In so many ways. I moved from Australia at the age of 17 to New York, I have travelled the world. Met and worked with well renowned designers and photographers. Modelling has made me become independent, confident and strong. I have made most of my dreams come true with my career, which has resulted in more life changes.
What would you be doing if you weren’t modelling? I would be studying Child Psychology. I love kids and would do anything to help them.
What’s in your pocket? A hair band and my Blackberry.
What do you miss most when you’re away from Australia? I desperately miss my family! Also the yummy Vegemite on toast.
What one thing do you never travel without? Never travel without my iPad and of course other necessities like clothes, underwear, toothbrush etc LOL.
i-D’s coming over for dinner, what do you make us to eat? And what party game do we play when we’re finished? A nice big BBQ chicken, fresh salads, spicy rice and lots of desserts cause that’s my favourite part of the meal. Then later maybe beer pong LOL.
When was the last time you cried? I cried a few days ago. I was frustrated with rumours but then I don’t allow that to overcome my thoughts. I think I just needed a good cry.
What’s the first track on your SS12 playlist? 212, Azelia Banks.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? It was from my mum. She said “when you are positive, watch and see positive things begin to happen around you. Always believe in yourself.”
What’s now? Evening in New York and I’m ready to make dinner and then eat some ice cream :D
What’s next? Great photoshoots next week and then SUMMER TIME!!!
Text: Sarah Raphael
Images from left: Victoria’s Secret backstage pass/ A fitting with Jason Wu/ Campaign image for Victoria’s Secret/ Shanina with her mum/ Shanina’s dogs/ Shanina in Australian Vogue.
See our i-Profile series in all its glory right here, right now!