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She’s sweet, shy and gracious in every way possible. She’s the Melbourne-born beauty who rose to fame at just 17 after appearing on the reality show Make Me A Supermodel. Known for her enviable figure and natural beauty, Shanina Shaik, 28, has the world at her fingertips. Walking the prestigious catwalk as a Victoria’s Secret Angel and flown around the globe as one of the industry’s most sought after top models for brands the likes of Chanel, Tom Ford and Oscar de la Renta, our Aussie brunette bombshell knows a thing or two about the importance of using her fame for good.  An unofficial – but no less inspiring – anti-bullying spokesperson, Shanina has been open about her struggles of growing up a Muslim teen. With a Saudi-Pakistani father and Lithuanian-Australian mother, she expresses she was “treated horribly growing up” – suffering at the hands of bullies due to her background and as such, she’s vowed to help campaign against the terrible trolls who treat anyone with ill-respect.  A true role model for generations alike.

In a job that requires consistency with diet and exercise all year round, and one reliant on looks alone to further advance, Shanina expressed it can be extremely tough to keep anxiety and insecurities at bay. “You have to have thick skin to be a part of this industry; it’s a very competitive industry full of beautiful women and that can bring out many insecurities”. Thanks to mindfulness practices such as breathing techniques and meditation, she is constantly evolving and learning to take the reigns on the parallels of anxiety. Techniques she hopes those around her can similarly adopt.

With the equanimity and maturity of a woman double her years, there is something extremely endearing about our girl Shanina; her presence lighting up a room as she enters and her smile warm and inviting, instantly making you feel at ease in her company. In a short but sweet visit to her hometown of Melbourne as the face of Chadstone The Fashion Capital’s autumn/winter 19 campaign, we caught up with the green-eyed beauty to chat all things modeling, growing up and a new career path launching into the big screen.

Mariam Seddiq top, Mariam Seddiq pant, Justine Clenquet earrings, Fendi bag.
A-Conscious-Collection-Shanina-Shaik-InterviewBalenciaga shirt, Balmain jeans - both available from Marais, Louis Vuitton bag, 
Jolie & Deen earrings.

you were runner-up on the 2005 Australian reality show Make Me A Supermodel. Was this the start of your modeling career at age 17?

Even though I began modeling and being in front of the camera at the age of eight, I would agree that my modeling career became more serious after Make Me A Supermodel aired.

After the show finished, I received a contract with New York Models modeling agency – I flew to NYC and began to cast for jobs the very day after I arrived.

What was your breakthrough moment when you realised you had made it in the industry?

I cast for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show three times and finally booked the show in 2011. That’s when I realised that my career would change and I achieved my biggest goal.

There is a lot of pressure being a Victoria’s Secret Model, how do you train mentally and physically to be on a worldwide stage like that?

My job is to stay consistent with my workouts and stay in shape all year round. I’m only human; I can’t always be in 100 per cent shape, so when the show comes around it’s a big challenge.

I’ll workout five times a week. My workouts consist of Pilates, dance cardio and jump rope.

Balmain crop, Balmain skirt, Off-White robe, Givenchy bum bag - all available at Marais, 
Jolie & Deen earrings.

Do you conform to a particular diet that works for you?

Leading up to the show my diet contains lots of vegetables and steamed fish and fresh green smoothies.

For a treat, I love to snack on some dark chocolate.

Tell us about your cultural background and how that shaped you growing up?

My family are very diverse, culturally. My father was born in Singapore, and his mother is Saudi-Arabian and his father Pakistani.

My mother was born in Australia, and her mother is Australian and her father is Lithuanian.

I learned about many cultures and cuisines growing up, having such a diverse and unique background.

A-Conscious-Collection-Shanina-Shaik-InterviewKit X dress - available at David Jones. Justine Clenquet earrings.
A-Conscious-Collection-Shanina-Shaik-InterviewOff-White top, Off-White jacket, Off-White pants.

You have been very open about the struggles you had in your childhood when it comes to bullying and discrimination. What advice would you give to others who may feel like they are going through a similar situation?

Never allow others to determine who you are. Always maintain your character no matter what others say or do. It’s important to report issues of discrimination/ bullying or seek help.

Trying to balance a normal lifestyle whilst working has brought on a lot of anxiety for me. I’ve learned to meditate and breathe. I confide in my mum and my dear best friends who’ve been an important and amazing support for me. I feel unconditionally loved. 

You’ve been vocal about your looks playing on your insecurities within a high-pressure industry, can you elaborate on this? Are there any tools you use when you feel the anxiety taking over?

The modeling industry can be tough and you need to have a thick skin to be a part of it. It’s a competitive industry with many beautiful women and that can bring out many insecurities.

There have been many times where I thought I wasn’t good enough or pretty enough. Also, trying to balance a “normal” lifestyle whilst working has brought on a lot of anxiety for me.

I’ve learned to meditate and breathe. I confide in my mum and dear best friends who’ve been an important and amazing support. I feel
unconditionally loved.

We know you are beauty obsessed! What are your top three products you can’t live without?

Barbara Sturm facial cleanser; it’s gentle and gets rid of all bacteria.

Tatcha oil-free anti-aging cream to keep your skin hydrated and the NARS  concealer is my favourite!

A-Conscious-Collection-Shanina-Shaik-InterviewKit X dress - available at David Jones. Justine Clenquet earrings.

And your favourite self-care practice?

A facial once a month is important. It helps me to relax and unwind and most importantly, takes care of my skin.
I love doing that for myself.

Your favourite guilty pleasure?

Ice cream and chocolate. Yum!

On your days off, what could we find you doing?

There really aren’t any days off for me… when I do have that quiet time, I’m working out, running errands or catching up with my girlfriends over lunch or dinner.

Current Netflix binge obsession?

A new series called “What/If” with Renee Zellweger.

A-Conscious-Collection-Shanina-Shaik-InterviewManning Cartell knit, Manning Cartell top, Manning Cartell pant.

We hear you are expanding on your acting ambitions, is this true? Can you spill the beans on any upcoming gigs?

Yes, I am! I’ve just finished a film called “Greed” which should be released end of this year. I saw some scenes from the movie and I’m super excited! I had the best time filming and made some wonderful and beautiful friends.

If you could give your 16-year-old self some words of wisdom, what would they be?

Life will not always be what you expected and many obstacles will come your way on your journey. Surround yourself with people who love and support you and are true. Always go with your gut and follow your beliefs.

What’s next for you?

I’m working on some amazing new creative fashion projects and I would like to begin a business with health and wellness. I hope to continue my work within the movie industry and the fashion industry and I’m excited to see what comes my way next. I’ll be ready.

A-Conscious-Collection-Shanina-Shaik-InterviewBalenciaga shirt, Balmain jeans - both available from Marais, Louis Vuitton bag, Jolie & Deen earrings.
Off-White top, Off-White jacket, Off-White pants.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY: DAVID HIGGS OF EXCLUSIVE ARTISTS
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: BROOKE MEREDITH OF STUDIO.ACC. 
STYLING: ELAINE MARSHALL
HAIR: JOEY SCANDIZZO
MAKEUP: KATE FLETCHER.

 

 

 

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author

Brooke Meredith

Brooke Meredith, is the passionate founder and Editor-In-Chief of A Conscious Collection Magazine. A glowing representation of wellness, and an advocate for healthy living. Brooke’s passion for health and wellbeing began following the discovery of her own intolerances and health ailments. Her house soon became a hub for recreating healthy versions of her favourite recipes, and soon her home was filled with an abundance of nourishing, nutritious whole foods. A certified Health Coach, Brooke’s passion lies with helping others become the best version of themselves and created A Conscious Collection to nurture, empower and inspire. As an Australian model, Brooke lives and breathes wellness, understanding the direct correlation between looking and feeling your best, which comes with a life in balance. When you can pry her away from working on all things ACC, you’ll find her fleeting around the globe on wellness escapes, enjoying three hour brunch dates with girlfriends and diving mouth first in to her famous healthified chocolate brownies.

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