Irina Shayk On The Cover Of Esquire

Most Popular

Esquire cover girl Irina Shayk made a name for herself as a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, and has been the face of Intimissimi, Lacoste and Victoria’s Secret.

She even met current partner Christiano Ronaldo after they worked on an Armani Exchange campaign. Now, Esquire is proud to present nineteen things you (probably) didn’t know about Irina Shayk.

01 She’s from Russia, but you won’t find her village on any map
“Yemanzhelinsk is a very small coal-mining village. There’s nothing there, only coal mining. It’s not on any maps.
We didn’t even have a movie theatre. We had one street. There was a garden that was 30 minutes away, by walk. I was taking care of the potatoes and the tomatoes and the cucumbers.”

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

02 Her upbringing was tough
“My mum taught piano in kindergarten. My father was a coal miner. They met when my mum saw him on the street and said, ‘Who is this guy?’ He was a sportsman who did hockey and boxing and was very tall, very handsome. When I was 14 my father passed away. My mum was alone. She had to get three jobs. But there is
a worse situation in life than having no money. Now I have success in my career and it is a nice warm memory: when getting something is very hard you start to appreciate things more than if you just wake up and you have success for nothing. It’s easier, sure, but what’s the point?”

Most Popular

03 She wore high heels to school
“I love high heels from the age of 10! Short skirts and then high heels. My classmates used to make fun of me. Like, ‘Ooh, she’s so skinny and she’s wearing high heels.’ But I just wore what I like and I didn’t care about people’s opinions, the same as I don’t care now. Boys never liked me at school. They made fun of me ’cos I had dark skin.”

04 She can hold a tune
“I started playing piano age six. I was also singing in the choir, so my mum put me into music school. I went to study there for seven years, but it was not my passion. I quit because
I wanted to study marketing. But I can still play piano. I like Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. You need a lot of practice to play that.”

05 You’re looking at Miss Chelyabinsk, 2004
“We moved away from my coal-miner village to a bigger city, Chelyabinsk. My elder sister, Tatiana, loved to do hair and make-up. One day my mum saw an ad at this bus stop for a beauty school, where they tell you how to dress and stuff like that. She said, ‘Why don’t you go and do this, just for fun?’ There was a model school next door, and my manager went there scouting and saw me. He asked me to do the competition for Miss Chelyabinsk. And I end up winning it! Then I flew to Paris and to Spain, and then to New York where I live now. It was not awkward with my sister, no. She didn’t even go in for the competition ’cos she was busy doing the make-up and hair.”

06 More recently she ranked top in a poll of the 50 hottest Russian women
“Why are there so many hot Russian women? Because Russia is a big country with a lot of population. Back in the Nineties, when it was Soviet Union, we had a lot of Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, so it’s a mix of blood. [Model talent] scouts go there a lot, you have to search not only the big cities like Moscow and St Petersburg, but go deep inside Russia where village girls are. This is where the market is to look for the beautiful girls! Some people do say no to modelling, though. When I won the [Miss Chelyabinsk] competition they told me, ‘You go to Paris.’ I say no, I would not. Because first of all I want to finish my education. But after a couple of months I decided to try it. It was a big decision to go from a tiny village to Paris. You don’t even speak English and you have no friends, to start some job you don’t think you can do. It’s a big shock for the brains.”

07 Luckily, Irina is a tough cookie
“You can’t break Russian people, you know? ’Cos we’re made in cold snow. We’re very resistant.”

08 You won’t find Irina’s real name on any of her credit cards (it won’t fit)
“First of all, people were thinking my last name was a joke: Shaykhlislamova — 15 letters. And I’m like, no, it is my last name, not a joke. I had to shorten it to Shayk basically ’cos I was in big trouble — to book tickets, to go anywhere. No credit card fits my name. But, you know, this name I kind of like.”

09 Her pet labrador is Hollywood royalty
“He’s called Caesare, after Julius Caesar. He was the son of the dog who played Marley in the movie Marley & Me. It’s disputed on the internet, I know, but that was because it was five dogs playing in the movie — they took similar dogs to make it look like one dog! I have the documents. But I only watched the movie one time. It’s very sad.”

10 She has featured in every Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue since 2007. (Last year she made the cover — a big deal)
“But I’m not a professional swimmer. With Sports Illustrated you go to the city, you go to the desert, to different places. It’s always a swimsuit. But there is not always water.”

11 Sports Illustrated, yes. Playboy, no
“I get so many requests: ‘Do this magazine. Do this campaign.’ But you have to be smart. I would never do Playboy. Yes, I am a lingerie model, but I have class. Playboy offered me so much money last year. I was like: ‘No. Way.’ Alright, Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer did it. But they did it at
the end of their career and it was classy.  I think of myself as a cover girl. But I would never do some kind of cheesy magazine.”

12 She used to have the world’s least popular neighbour
“I was renting in Manhattan, living there temporarily for a couple of months. I was, like, ‘OK, it’s a big deal to put curtains up.’ You had to call the guy out and everything. So I just don’t put up any curtains. I went out one night and the guy downstairs was like, ‘Oh, your neighbour opposite, he was saying, “Could you please put some curtains up?”’ And I’m like, really? I was a bit shocked. Who would ask that, right?”

13 She thinks Naomi Campbell’s hot
“Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell, the models from the Nineties, are definitely sexy for me. I love to see beautiful woman, you know? I’m not a hater! I don’t have any crush on the girl, for sure.”

14 Seriously, that is where her passion for women ends
“Of course I have never snogged another woman! Oh my God. What a question!”

15 She likes men, OK?
“Different things about men appeal to me.  When I see a man on the street, I look at the shoes and the hands. I love  it when a man wears some good shoes! Or when they’re very cute and smart. I love a sense of humour.”

16 Irina is a pro
“Of course, there’s a lot of jealous people around who are trying to say bad things about you and your work; that you get paid for nothing. But I don’t go to the office and have a job and get money every month. With my job you never know when you’re going to get work. So you have to be smart. You can’t turn up to a shoot with a bad face and not speak to anyone. No one wants to work with some stupid girl. You have to be beautiful on the inside, then people will want to continue to work with you.”

17 Although we’re not allowed to ask Irina about her boyfriend, Cristiano Ronaldo
“Um, no. I’m not saying anything on that.”

18 Even though he now has the highest goal-scoring average in the history of Real Madrid?
“Seriously, I am not saying anything on that.”

19 All she is saying, is give peace a chance
“I have so many wishes. I’d like Santa Claus to live under my house, so I could open the door and say, ‘Do that!’ I always want to be better and I always want people around me to be happy, ’cos that makes me feel good. I wish good things for everyone — and for peace in the world.”

What do you think?

Penelope Cruz
Women
Share
Here's Your First Look At The 2017 Pirelli Calendar
Penelope Cruz, Rooney Mara, Alicia Vikander, Uma Thurman, Nicole Kidman, and more step in front of the lens​
Taylor Hill
Women
Share
Women We Love This Week: Taylor Hill, Taylor Swift And Gigi Hadid
Plus a British national treasure​
Michelle Jenneke
Women
Share
Women We Love This Week: Olympics Special
Our favourite athletes from the tracks, courts and arenas of Rio​​
Simone Biles
Women
Share
Women We Love This Week: Rihanna, Jessica Alba And The Stars Of Rio
​Plus ​the leading lady of your next Netflix addiction​
Margot Robbie
Women
Share
Women We Love This Week: Cara, Margot And Gigi Hadid
​​Plus your new favourite Brazilian Model​
Women
Share
Women We Love This Week: Ri Ri, Hillary And Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
​​Plus the fastest woman in the country
Alicia Vikander
Women
Share
Women We Love This Week: Alicia Vikander, FKA Twigs And America's First Lady
​​Plus Winona Ryder ...Winona Ryder!​
Women
Share
Women We Love This Week: Taylor Hill, Alexa Chung And The Wimbledon Champ
​Plus the most-liked woman on Instagram​
Selena Gomez
Women
Share
Selena Gomez Now Has The Most Liked Photo On Instagram
​Extremely important information​
Bikini moments
Women
Share
18 Unforgettable Bikini Moments
​From Marilyn Monroe to Gwyneth Paltrow in The Talented Mr. Ripley, there's plenty to love here.​