Irina Shayk: ‘I love my body. I love to eat. I appreciate food, I appreciate life’

Queen Elizabeth II awards Captain Sir Thomas Moore with the insignia of Knight Bachelor at Windsor Castle

Several years ago, I became an Irina Shayk stan. Back then, she was doing a series of interviews to promote her various beauty and fashion contracts, and I just got into her Russian rhythm and I’ve loved her ever since. She’s really funny and she has that “Russian stoicism” thing going on too, but it often comes across as just very blunt and matter-of-fact. I enjoy her and her energy. Irina lives full-time in New York now, and she co-parents with her ex, Bradley Cooper. She posed for the latest issue of Elle and chatted about her life and how she’s spent the pandemic year and a lot more. Some highlights:

She’s been working at a food bank in NYC: “I remember having no food at home… Sometimes there was no salary, or my mom and dad’s salary was delayed.” Shayk hasn’t forgotten that feeling, and early in the pandemic, as food insecurity mounted in this country, she began working regular shifts at a Manhattan food bank. When she first saw the line wrapping around the block, she was shocked, she says, estimating that it was 1,000 people strong. She’s since brought fellow model Joan Smalls along. Appropriately enough, “they put us in the fashion section to give clothing away. We made a great day out of it.”

Growing up in Russia, being raised by a grandmother: She “learned how to survive, without a man,” she says. Her tough upbringing also prepared her for the rejection buffet that is modeling, complete with agents who told her, “‘You have to lose weight.’ I always said no, because I know who I am.”

They said she was too sexy to be a high-fashion model: “They put a label on you: ‘She’s Sports Illustrated, she’s too sexy.’ I heard so many times in my life, ‘She’s never going to work with Steven Meisel. She’s not a Burberry girl,’” recalls Shayk, who went on to shoot with Meisel and appear in campaigns for Burberry. “I won’t lie—it was hard to climb the hill and show people that you can be both.” Now, at 35, she is “doing some jobs that I never did when I was 20. Maybe it’s because of who I’ve become. I feel more comfortable in my own skin: I love my body. I love to eat. I appreciate food; I appreciate life. I really think that’s what fashion is looking for now.”

She’s normal when she’s not working: “I’m not a fashion person. I’m a regular girl who is home watching Netflix.”

She obsessively organized during quarantine: “I think because we cannot control things that are going on in the world, I’m trying to control what’s going on in my house!”

Her got-to beauty tip: Apply ice cubes to your skin. “Russian girls love cold,” she says.

Coparenting: She is mom to Lea, with her ex Bradley Cooper, whom she calls “the most amazing dad….I never understood the term co-parenting. When I’m with my daughter, I’m 100 percent a mother, and when she’s with her dad, he’s 100 percent her dad. Co-parenting is parenting.”

She’s not going to talk much about her exes though: “My past relationship, it’s something that belongs to me, and it’s private. It’s just a piece of my inner self that I don’t want to give away.” In the meantime, she’s tuning out of her own news cycle. “I don’t read what is out there. Honestly, I’m too busy raising a child. If they want to write articles [about me], they’re doing their job. I’m concentrating on my life and my friends. The rest is just noise.”

[From Elle]

“If they want to write articles [about me], they’re doing their job.” What a healthy attitude, honestly. I mean, it doesn’t hurt that people are not obsessively gossiping about her right now, but she’s been in some weird gossip cycles in the past, and she deals with it the same way – a shrug and silence. I’ve never tried ice cubes on my face but… I guess? I mean, maybe you have to be Russian. As for the other stuff… maybe it’s just because I know her so well (lol) but I honestly believe that she sits at home, watching Netflix and eating steak.

Queen Elizabeth II awards Captain Sir Thomas Moore with the insignia of Knight Bachelor at Windsor Castle

Covers courtesy of Elle.

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28 Responses to “Irina Shayk: ‘I love my body. I love to eat. I appreciate food, I appreciate life’”

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  1. Cecilia says:

    “You have to loose weight” what are these model scouts smoking? Im so happy she was confident enough to say no to that.

  2. Who ARE these people? says:

    She seems strong and healthy. How distorted are fashion norms given we can see her ribs and sternum? (This may be fine for her body, but how could anyone consider that heavy?.)

    • Tom says:

      I once went to a Dior show in Paris. The girls walking that runway were rail thin. They showed the clothes flawlessly as clothes on a coat hanger. You looked at the clothes, not the girl. IS is not that model.

      • Cecilia says:

        Except the whole point of having models modeling your clothes is to show people how it looks on a body instead of a clothes hanger.

      • detritus says:

        Please become as small as possible at great risk to your health so that I may show my clothing.

        We need to go a bit deeper than accepting that at face value.

    • detritus says:

      The fashion industry is hugely broken.

      Most labels are owned by men. Who then require women to be unhealthily thin and almost vanish because ‘the fashion’. It normalizes extreme thinness as desirable and healthy when it isn’t.

      There was a movement a few years back to ban models on runways that were below bmi of 17.5 . Which is well under the lowest limit of healthy weight. It eliminated something like 80% of models when applied.

      This article shows some of the top models from the last few years and all have BMIs of 18 or less. https://luxuryactivist.com/fashion/top-models-body-mass-index-health-red-alert/

      • Midge says:

        Even “sexy” models are extremely thin and the curves are edited in. When I first moved to NY 20 years ago, I was in a group of friends that included 3 Brazilian models who went on to become huge Victoria’s secret models. These women had no curves. none. I’m talking same height as me (5’10″) but about 20 lbs less than me at like 110 lbs. I don’t think people really understand what these models look like in real life. I could never reconcile the photos with the girls in real life.

      • Who ARE these people? says:

        I was sick when a young woman and lost a lot of weight. An older friend who hadn’t seen me in a while said, “You could be a model.” Out of tactful concern. The association between models and emaciated bodies is strong.

  3. Div says:

    She’s a beautiful woman, but my god does she (clearly) call the paps a lot. Thirsty as hell. And yes, she’s a major model but there are bigger models (Adriana, Gisele, Karlie, Chanel, etc.) who don’t get photographed anywhere close to the amount that she does. I browse the Daily Fail website a lot (pretty much every other day) to see how they cover the royals (I know, I know I shouldn’t give them clicks but I’m curious to their spin and I’ve been stuck at home because of the pandemic…luckily, I get my shot later this week) and they always have new photographs of her in their little sidebar of new stories with clearly staged pap shots.

    At the same time, I sort of respect the hustle? Like she grew up dirt poor and modeling is an incredibly ageist, misogynistic industry where most are over by the time they hit 30 and she knows what she has to do to keep her career fire. But I still cringe when I see celebs do those sort of obvious arranged pap shots with young kids.

    • Mi says:

      She has a steady routine, doing the school run everyday and lots of celebs left NY during the pandemic. So yes she will get photographed a lot because she is atractive and Lea is cute as a button, who wouldnt want to photograph that?

      • Midge says:

        Nah, she calls the paps. NY’er of 20 years here. I have friends who are very famous models, who walk their kids to school and don’t get papped. I am talking about a school where David Bowie and Iman would drop off their kid. If you want to be low key in NY, it is quite easy.

      • Mi says:

        Her pics are always from different photographers and different agencies even in different times of the day, I doubt she has them all on speed dial. But of course it’s a good way for her to show some clothes, meaning money. I’m just saying she doesnt need to call them at this point, it’s a win win situation for her and them.

    • Lemons says:

      I think these are the equivalent of runway walks for her. She is getting paid to get papped in certain outfits. She never looks boring going out. She always has a statement piece on. Hey, if I could get paid by walking to the grocery story in an outrageous fur coat during the pandemic, I would. I need some excitement in my life.

  4. Gina says:

    I like her. I have no problem with pap photos. She has to remind about herself, has to hustle. It’s not that she is famous for oversharing her intimate life details, lovers or nude photos.
    She is rather decent I think.

  5. Genevieve says:

    I LOVE that comment about parenting. That issue has been an irritating pet peeve of mine for years.

  6. Cait says:

    I remember when she was with Cristiano Ronaldo apparently she took issue with his child. It was a big reason for their break up.

    • detritus says:

      The one he cut off from the mother and basically paid her to gtfo and never be seen again?

      I’d have a problem w that too

      • Mi says:

        False rumour spread by his team so it didnt look odd (if you know what I mean) at the eyes of football fans . The kid is from a surrogate, as are the twins.

  7. Katherine says:

    She’s very skinny, to think people told her to lose weight, insane. My basketball coach told me to loose weight once and I was like wow, I don’t know how (I’m naturally skinny and always stayed in pretty much the same size, so I never tried to lose weight neither before nor after that, and at the time, but also now, am not quite sure how to do it… The one thing I do know is when I notice something is giving me a little weight, I stop eating it, like I got hooked on croissants once, five or six a day, thought I could eat them instead of bread, but after about two weeks could see slight increase so I dropped those.)

  8. Case says:

    I really like her. She actually seems pretty down to earth in her interviews. I love her comment about organization during the pandemic because same. Finding some peace in my home when the world has been out of control has been helpful to me.

  9. observing says:

    I thought that was Dua Lipa. Oops.

  10. Gah says:

    My fave IS story is the one Dan from downtown abbey told about meeting her out one night in NYC.

    Google it it’s so funny. “West village best place.”

    I never say west village now without thinking of Irina and smiling.

  11. JillyBean says:

    She just so cool.

  12. A says:

    I dunno how Irina Shayk identifies in terms of ethnicity, but I do want to point out that while her mother is Russian, her father is Tatar. Russia is a diverse country, and she’s a part of that fabric, which I think is pretty neat.

    I’ve never tried ice cubes for my skin, but they do bring down the puffiness around my eyes when I’m sleep deprived and they’re hurting. I also really appreciate that she reached out and volunteered at a food bank during the pandemic. I only recently started doing that, and it feels good to give back, but also to see the sheer amount of needs that are going unmet in the people around you….that’s hard.

  13. JC says:

    Holy smokes she is hot…