A WONDER OF A WOMAN: Shanina Shaik
Text by Kee | Photos by Charlie Gray
Silk monogram shirt (Gucci); yellow gold B.zero1 Rock rings with diamonds, yellow gold B.zero1 ring; pink gold and black ceramic B.zero1 Rock ring; pink gold and black ceramic B.zero1 Rock ring; and rose gold B.zero1 earrings (Bvlgari)
Denim shirt and jeans (Bottega Veneta), rose gold B.zero1 Design Legend ring, and rose gold B.zero1 earrings (Bvlgari)
Wool suit, cotton shirt, and calfskin leather sandals (Gucci); pink gold and black ceramic B.zero1 Rock four-band ring; and rose gold B.zero1 earrings (Bvlgari)
Cotton gabardine trenchcoat and technical material Knife thigh-high boots (Balenciaga), yellow gold B.zero1 Rock ring with diamonds; yellow gold B.zero1 Rock ring with diamonds; yellow gold, pink gold and black ceramic B.zero1 ring; and B.zero1 Rock ring (Bvlgari )
Grain de poudre suit and silk crepe shirt (Celine by Hedi Slimane), calfskin leather loafers (Prada), pink gold and black ceramic B.zero1 Rock pendant necklace, and rose gold B.zero1 rose gold pendant necklace with diamonds (Bvlgari )
Wool top (Gucci); pink gold and black ceramic B.zero1 Rock ring; yellow gold B.zero1 ring; rose gold B.zero1 pendant necklace with diamonds; yellow gold B.zero1 Rock pendant necklace; and rose gold B.zero1 earrings (Bvlgari)
Silk crepe dress and suede ankle boots (Gucci); rose gold B.zero1 pendant necklace with diamonds; pink gold and black ceramic B.zero1 Rock ring; pink gold and black ceramic B.zero1 Rock ring; yellow gold B.zero1 Rock ring with diamonds, and yellow gold B.zero1 bangle (Bvlgari)

There’s no shame in admitting that your first visuals of Shanina Shaik was one in her skivvies sashaying down the runway of Victoria’s Secret. But plenty has happened since those heydays when Angels ruled the runway in lingerie: cancel culture took Victoria’s Secret in 2019 and Shaik went through marriage and separation in that same year. But the Melbourne-born model, who is marking her 20th year in the industry, isn’t letting those setbacks pin her down. She is confronting her fears in life and love and making plans to be her best self in 2020. We recently spoke with Shaik about all the things we never knew about her.


MANIFESTO: What was your first job?

SHANINA SHAIK: My first job when I was young was actually modelling. There was one summer when I was 15 that I worked with my dad as a waitress at his job. My dad was the manager of a beautiful fine dining restaurant in Melbourne.

M: If you weren’t a model, what would you be doing?

SS: I would have been a child psychologist. I love children and had a passion to study psychology.

M: What did you buy with your first pay cheque?

SS: I chose not to buy anything with my first pay cheque. It went straight into my bank account. My parents made it very clear at a young age the importance of saving your money.

M: Who is your first celebrity crush? And have you met this person?

SS: As a teen, my first celebrity crush was Usher. I had the pleasure of meeting him a few times. I first met him while I was out with friends in New York City and I recently bumped into him again at the Vanity Fair party.

M: Describe what love means to you in three words.

SS: Kind. Respectful. Honest.

M: What would you say is your worst vice?

SS: My worst vice is being very stubborn at times. This side only comes out when I have a disagreement with someone I love. In my defence, I will always try my best to be understanding.

M: Do you have a secret talent?

SS: I can bend my thumb backwards to the front of my hand. It’s quite gruesome!

M: What was the first concert you attended and what was the most recent?

SS: The first concert I attended was Destiny’s Child! I’m a huge fan of Beyoncé and have been since I was a little girl. I tried to dress up like her for the concert. My mum was shocked as I was a shy child growing up. The most recent concert I attended would be Coachella last year, if you can consider that as a concert.

M: What’s something you consider to be overrated?

SS: Algebra. Although I actually enjoy doing algebra equations. I haven’t had a time where I needed to use algebra in my life. I wish my high school teachers taught me about taxes. (Laughs)

M: Favourite cartoon character?

SS: Tweety bird! It was my favourite cartoon growing up. I had to have everything Tweety Bird.

M: If you can change one thing in the world today, what would it be?

SS: At this moment in time, I would like to change global warming. It’s scary to know that so many people don’t take this issue seriously. It’s affecting our future and our children’s future.

M: What is your go-to drink at the bar?

SS: My favourite cocktail to start the night is an Espresso Martini.

M: What’s the worst pick-up line used on you?

SS: I don’t particularly remember a bad pick-up line. I feel uncomfortable and really dislike it when a guy continues to make moves on you, when you have politely declined their offer to take you on a date. I understand that it takes a lot of courage to ask a woman out but it can be quite uncomfortable when you push the offer of a date continuously after she said, “No thank you.”

M: Your current favourite reality TV show is?

SS: On Netflix, I’m really enjoying the show Love is Blind. You have to watch it!

M: Which song describes your mood right now and why?

SS: Right Here, Right Now by Fatboy Slim. I’m slowly feeling more and more excited about the festival season that is approaching. Fatboy Slim will be performing at Coachella.

M: What is your favourite love song?

SS: No One Else Comes Close by Joe. The lyrics are so beautiful and meaningful.

M: What advice would you give to others hoping to follow in your footsteps?

SS: It’s important to have a lot of confidence and a loving supportive team behind you to guide you to make the right decisions and to encourage you along the way. Be prepared for hardships and failures because it can happen. You must have a lot of courage and strength to push through when times feel rough. Most importantly, believe in yourself.

M: What do you hope to do after modelling?

SS: After modelling I hope to have my own brand and give most of my time to that business, my own charity that helps and works with children and possibly work in more movies.

M: If you had a choice, which actress would play you in your biopic?

SS: Zendaya! She seems so cool and confident. She is hardworking and looks very easy going. These are values I most admire.

M: Do you have a favourite choice of fragrance or scent?

SS: My favourite fragrance is Armani Prive’s Vert Malachite scent. It’s woodsy, slightly floral and overall has an intriguing scent.

M: Share with us one beauty tip for those with a hectic schedule.

SS: My best beauty advice for anyone who has a hectic schedule is to travel with a hydrating rich moisturiser, an antibacterial like tea tree oil (for breakouts), concealer and make-up wipes. All of these items are the best choices for emergencies or to feel fresh throughout the day.

M: What do you hope people remember you for?

SS: Hopefully my work in modelling, my kindness and caring nature in always wanting to help and support others.

M: Name one place you hope to holiday next.

SS: I really would love to travel to Japan! Most of my friends have been there and I’m becoming jealous. There is so much to see and enjoy.

M: What is your life motto?

SS: If you never try, you’ll never know.


Photography: Charlie Gray
Fashion Director: Jonathan Yee
Styling: Jungle Lin
Hair: Takuya Yamaguchi, using R+Co
Make-up: Mariko Arai
Fashion Assistant: Vicky Lin
Photography Assistants: James Sakalian and Zack Forsyth
Agency Support: IMG New York
Shot at Vandervoort Studio New York

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