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Irina Shayk
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Irina ShaykIrina ShaykIrina ShaykIrina ShaykIrina Shayk
Irina ShaykIrina ShaykIrina ShaykIrina Shayk

Irina Shayk (Russian: Ирина Шейк) was born Irina Shaykhlislamova (Russian: Ирина Шайхлисламова) on January 6th, 1986 in Yemanzhelinsk, Russia. She is a Russian model known for her 2007 through 2012 appearances in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue and was the cover model for the 2011 issue. Shayk was born to an ethnic Tatar father and a Russian mother. Irina says she inherited her unusual looks from her father and she has said that people often think she is South American.

“My father was dark skinned, because he was Tatar, sometimes Tatars can look Brazilian - I get my light eyes from my mother” she says.

Shayk’s mother Olga was a pianist who was the music teacher in a kindergarten and her father was a coal miner. She has one sibling, an older sister named Tatiana. Shayk started playing piano at age of six. At age nine she enrolled in a music school and studied there for seven years, both playing the piano and singing in the choir since her mother wanted her to study music. Her father died of complications of pneumonia when she was 14, leaving her family with little money and forcing her mother to work two jobs to provide for the family. After high school, Shayk studied marketing but was bored by it and entered a local beauty school with her older sister. While there, she was noticed by a person from a local modeling agency who was struck by her unusual beauty. She was urged to participate in the Miss Chelyabinsk 2004 beauty contest. She won and the rest is history.

Irina started her career rather late for a model, when she was 19 and had begun modeling in Paris. In 2007 she replaced Ana Beatriz Barros as the face of Intimissimi and in the same year debuted in the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. Since that time, she has appeared in every annual edition, attending photoshoots in such places as St. Petersburg, Naples, Grenada and Chile. After being the image of Intimissimi for three years, Shayk was made the official ambassador for the brand in 2010. Her other modeling contracts include Beach Bunny and Guess. Other work includes the Victoria Secret catalog, Lacoste and Cesare Paciotti. Her magazine covers include Annabelle, Bolero, Woman, Jalouse, and Paris Capital. She signed with modeling agency IMG on May 2009.

Shayk modeled the Armani Exchange spring/summer 2010 campaign and she also starred in Kanye West's “Power”, directed by artist Marco Brambilla. She was on the cover of Ocean Drive and GQ South Africa for the August issue. She ranked first in the "50 Hottest Russian Women" list by Complex Magazine. She made a change from swimwear to high fashion with a spread in Spain's Harper’s Bazaar and landed the cover of Elle Spain for their November 2010 issue. Glamour Spain awarded her "Best International Model of 2010". At the end of the year she was pictured nude in the GQ Spain December issue; however, she claimed that she had not stripped for the photoshoot, and that the magazine had digitally altered the images to remove her lingerie.

On the February 14, 2011 episode of the Late Show with David Letterman, it was revealed via billboard that Shayk was the covermodel for the 2011 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. This is the fifth time she has been featured in the magazine, but the first time she has been on the cover and is the first Russian model to appear on the cover. Shayk became the face of swim label Luli Fama’s 2011 advertising campaign and look book and appears in the John John Denim ad campaign. In 2011 she covered magazines such as Tatler Russia, Cosmopolitan Spain, GQ Mexico Glamour Spain, Amica Italy and appeared on the cover of Elle Spain in the special edition for Christmas. She also worked for many brands like Rampage, replacing Bar Refaeli, Replay and XTI. She currently ranks 13th in the "Top 20 Sexiest Models" list on Models.com.

In 2011 she was voted "Sexiest Woman In The World" in the Hungarian magazine Periodika. In 2012 she appeared on the covers of Esquire UK, Harper's Bazaar Arabia and Ukraine, Marie Claire Ukraine, Spain and Russia, GQ Germany, Glamour Russia and appeared on 14 Cosmopolitan spring covers worldwide. She also appeared on the covers of S Moda Spain and The Sunday Times Style UK. She also did an editorial for Vanity Fair Italy. That same year she appeared in campaigns for Morellato, Agua Bendita and Blanco. Irina is also the new face of the brand La Clover and of Avon Super Drama Mascara. In September 2012 she appeared on the cover of L'express Styles magazine and worked wih Mariano Vivanco.

In September of 2012, Irina will become the new host of Russia's newest Top Model television franchise Top Model po-russki, replacing former host Ksenia Sobchak due to the project being fully restarted. Aside from modelling Shayk is helping a maternity hospital in her hometown of Yemanzhelinsk. She and her sister helped rebuild the children’s ward of the local hospital, and now Shayk raises money on behalf of a Russian charity Pomogi (Russian: Помоги) meaning "Help me" in Russian, which provides care to sick children. Shayk is the official ambassador for the Pomogi Charity in Russia. Irina has a pet dog named Caesare named after Julius Caesar. It is a Lab which she claims was fathered by one of the dogs who played the title role in the film Marley & Me. Since May/Spring of 2010, she has been dating footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. Shayk and Ronaldo allegedly met through their Armani Exchange campaigns.

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