• irina1

Irina Shayk: From ‘rags to riches’ (childhood photos+video)

She worked in potato fields

At 14, a girl who would go on to become one of the world’s most successful fashion models desperately wanted to own a pair of fashionable high heels. Since her family couldn’t afford them — her family was, in her words, “very poor” — the enterprising teenager painted walls at a local hospital for 20 days to earn enough for the shoes.

A year after high school

irina18-a year after high school

Aspiring models

irina19-aspiring models

This is the rags-to-riches story of Irina Shayk, 30, who spent years living in a poverty-stricken Russian mining village until she got her big break at 14 to become a model, eventually becoming a bona fide lingerie and swimsuit model superstar. Growing up, Shayk, whose real last name is Shaykhislamova, lived a bleak existence in a grim mining town in the Urals region near Siberia.

14 years old: Early modelling

irina3-14 years early modelling

irina4-14 years early modelling

Class photo

irina14 class photo

She was raised on the ground floor of a very small flat, and her family grew potatoes, cucumbers and tomatoes to eat and survive. She was very close to her father, a coal miner, and was left bereft when he died of lung cancer while only in his 40s.

With friends, 13 years old

irina13-13 years

Family photo

irina10-family photo

High school prom


The family lived in extreme poverty after his passing, and her mother was forced to hold down two jobs just to make ends meet. As she told the Daily Mail:
“My father was dark skinned, because he was Tatar. Sometimes Tatars can look Brazilian. I get my light eyes from my mother.”

Parents Olga and Valery on wedding day

irina6-parents olga and valery

Father died of lung cancer

However, Shayk was teased by boys for her gawky figure and “stick legs.” Depending on whom you were talking to, she was either too skinny or too beautiful. Shayk ended up becoming a model by chance.

With mother Olga and sister Tatyana

irina8-mother olga and sister tatyana

irina9-irina and tayana

Her mother had taken her sister Tatyana to a beauty school when reps at a modeling agency next door spotted Shayk. Svetlana Klimenko, the founder and owner of the Exclusive agency, took her on. In 2007, Shayk was chosen to appear in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and since then was seen in every annual edition until 2013, even gracing the cover for the 2011 issue.



Also in 2007, Shayk was chosen as the face of Intimissimi, the Italian lingerie brand sold in Victoria’s Secret, and in 2010 she was made the official ambassador of the brand. Shayk is also famous for her personal life. She had a high-profile five-year affair with star footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. After they broke up in January of this year, Shayk was then romantically linked to “American Sniper” actor Bradley Cooper, and the paparazzi are now watching their every move. She later broke up with Cooper.


irina23-with mom olga

Shayk had to overcome many obstacles to get to where she is at today, including failed attempts to acquire a work visa to model in the U.S. While she’s made some mistakes along the way, no one can deny the overwhelming success she has achieved.

Source: Daily Mail