5 Things You Didn’t Know About Irina Shayk

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Her late grandmother was a WWII hero

The supermodel’s paternal grandmother, Galina Shaykhlislamova, helped to defeat the Nazis as an intelligence agent in Stalin’s Red Army. Irina’s daughter Lea De Seine Shayk Cooper’s first name is a nod to her great-grandmother, and Shayk has Galina’s name tattooed on her ankle as a tribute.

Her matriarchal upbringing shaped her outlook on life

Shayk found herself in an all-female household when her father died suddenly from pneumonia. The model, who has one older sister, was 14. Her family’s straitened circumstances in the Soviet Union could not have been further removed from the world of international travel, red carpets and couture that Shayk occupies now, but she still recalls how her widowed mother, a pianist, stood in line for hours for a bottle of milk. The model, who worked until she was seven-and-a-half months pregnant and juggles co-parenting Lea with her demanding career, told Vogue’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful in the March 2020 issue of British Vogue that growing up with strong female role models has made her determined to raise a powerful woman.

On the runway for Versace at Milan Fashion Week spring/summer 2020

Vittorio Zunino Celotto

Before she was a Burberry muse, she was a beauty queen

These days, Shayk is a regular on the runways at Givenchy, Miu Miu, and Moschino. She counts Burberry’s chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci and Donatella Versace as friends. But the seeds for her career in front of the camera were sown far from the fashion capitals – in Chelyabinsk, to be precise, a remote city in the shadow of Russia’s Ural Mountains. Shayk was crowned Miss Chelyabinsk in 2004, a win that played a role in her subsequent move to Paris to pursue modelling in earnest.

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