She’s a current headline fixture, red carpet darling and oh, not to mention, a modern-day supermodel.
However, life wasn’t always glitz and glamour for Irina Shayk – hailing from a small rural village in Russia, Shayk has spent almost fifteen in the modelling industry, working her way up to fronting campaigns for Givenchy, Burberry, and, most recently, for Jean Paul Gaultier’s Scandal à Paris fragrance.
We spoke to Irina to talk about why this fragrance is so uniquely special to her, on juggling that near-impossible work/life balance, and what it means to her to be a woman today, proving along the way that there’s much more to the 33-year old than what (gloriously) meets the eye.
Gritty Pretty: Hi Irina! To start, you’ve been modelling for over a decade now. How have you grown as a person since your modelling beginnings?
Irina Shayk: “The beginning of my career in modelling was pretty tough. I started at 19-years-old, which by industry standards is considered quite late, so that was a bit of an obstacle for me.
Then, my first modelling trip was to Paris, which was a very intense, difficult time – I had to learn how to work as a model, learn English, learn how to pose, and everything else that comes with the job, which is quite daunting as a young girl. However, I learned very quickly that nothing in life comes easy, and if you really want something, you have to work hard to achieve it, and never give up, even when you’re knocked back.”
GP: What was the most important life lesson that you learned during that period?
IS: “That resilience that I had to build in my early modelling days to overcome barriers and obstacles was a key life lesson for me, and has go on to help me in numerous difficult life situations, to gather the strength to pull myself together and move on.”
GP: For your most recent project, you are starring as the new face of Jean Paul Gautier’s Scandal à Paris fragrance. What is it about fragrance that is special to you?
“One of my earliest memories is the scent of pear — it makes me think of a pear tree we had in our garden when I lived in a small village. One of the reasons that I instantly connected to Scandal à Paris was its combination of the pear note with honey and jasmine. The other early memory of scent I have is of pancakes — my grandma always made pancakes for me and my sister. These two scents are pure happiness for me, because they are so strongly connected to some of my fondest childhood memories.”
GP: Why did this particular fragrance resonate with you, and why?
IS: “Perfume is central to my everyday routine — I have a very simple beauty regimen, and I think that the fragrance is the final touch that completes your look, and should complement rather than overtake your personality.
That’s why Scandal à Paris is very special to me — it makes me feel confident and stays with me the whole day. It is everything that I love in a perfume — sexy, modern and elegant, yet light and flirty at the same time — I’ve definitely found my signature fragrance!
GP: What was it like to work an industry icon like Jean Paul Gaultier?
IS: “I have always been a big fan of Jean Paul Gaultier and his legacy — he is never afraid to be bold, fearless, and create strong, provocative styles and forms. So, naturally, when I was asked to become apart of the Scandal à Paris story, I was ecstatic!
It was such a please and honour to meet Jean Paul, he is an extraordinary artist and is extremely talented, yet he is also very down-to-earth, very attentive and such a caring person. Ten years ago, I could never have even dreamed about meeting him, shooting pictures with him, and becoming a face of one of his fragrances.”
GP: You embody much of what modern femininity is today: sophisticated, dynamic, stylish, and confident. When do you feel most confident, and how important is being confident, rather than just a ‘pretty face’ per se, to you?
IS: “For me, beauty is much more than having a pretty face and a nice-looking body. I fully believe that true beauty comes from inside. I am so happy to see that now in fashion world, there are so many truly beautiful women, with strong personality, charisma, and different body types.”
GP: At this moment in time, what do you think is so special and unique about being a woman today?
“The modern woman has unlimited possibilities to develop herself on any direction. Everyday, I meet strong women with incredible stories of their lives and success. At this particular time in history, I believe that a woman can achieve anything she wants in her life.”
GP: What is your daily beauty regimen, and has this changed at all after becoming a mother?
IS: “Being a mother did not change anything in my beauty routine, I’ve always made sure I take ‘me-time’ to complete my regimen, and still do so now.
At night, I first thoroughly remove all of my makeup before I go to bed, which is the most important part of my beauty regimen as I tend to wear makeup on a daily basis for work. I then follow with a hydrating moisturiser in the evening.
As for my morning routine, I love to use a cube of ice to massage my face in order to wake up and refresh my skin, which I learned from my mother. I then apply an SPF, then follow with a light moisturiser —I love Dr. Barbara Sturm— and then follow with a tiny bit of Marc Jacobs Concealer for my under-eye area, and then lip balm. Another big part of my daily routine is to ensure that I drink plenty of water everyday.”
GP: If you could only reach for one beauty product before you leave the house, what would it be and why?
IS: SPF, definitely. I try to always protect my skin and never leave the house without putting on my sunblock!
GP: When it comes to self-care, women, especially mothers, tend to put themselves last. How important do you think it is to take some time out for yourself for some self-care, and for you, what does this look like?
IS: I think it’s so important to always find time for yourself, even if you have a crazy work schedule or other important obligations. What that ‘me-time’ looks like for me is going to gym, taking a long relaxing bath, or indulging in a face or hair mask. Having that time to myself allows me to relax and restore, so I have the energy to keep going.
GP: What pieces of life wisdom or beauty advice would you like to pass on to your daughter?
IS: I will always tell her to never give up, and to always believe in herself. That’s how I got to where I am today, and want to pass on that inner confidence, and resilience.