A Sit Down With Irina Shayk: Close Connection

Supermodel and Intimissimi brand ambassador Irina Shayk in a personal conversation about her beginnings in the fashion business, the secret of her success and her relationship with the lingerie brand.
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Photo: Rowan Papier / Intimissimi

Let’s go back to the beginning of your career: how did it all come about?

I come from a very small town, literally in the middle of nowhere in Russia, and never thought of becoming a model. I also started modeling quite late, at the age of 19. Intimissimi was the first big brand to choose me for their campaign.

You have been working together for several years. What is the secret behind this long-term partnership?

You have to follow your dreams, be honest and true to yourself. Today’s fashion is more about charisma and personality than a pretty face. I had a chance to meet great people who have helped me throughout my career and Intimissimi has become a real family for me. They believed in me from the start and have always supported me.

You recently visited the Intimissimi show in Verona, how did you like it?

It was a great pleasure to see how Intimissimi has developed. I liked the show’s cabaret theme: it was spectacular and reflected the brand’s image. It was a great celebration of femininity and beauty in the heart of Italy.

You are connected to several major Italian fashion brands and designers. What do you like about Italian culture?

I have a lot of Italian friends, both professionally and privately and I think that Italian culture has a lot in common with Russian culture. Italians have a big heart and are very open and honest. I appreciate that in people!

We saw you on several catwalks during the fashion weeks, from Milan to Paris to New York. What are your best memories?

The most memorable moment was the Burberry Evolution Show. Riccardo (Tisci, editor’s note) is a close friend and each of his collections is new and different. I am amazed at how versatile he is in expressing his creativity. Considering all your professional commitments, what do you do for yourself and your personal health? I take a Russian bath (sauna steam bath, editor’s note) once a week. It helps get rid of stress and negative emotions.

What else would you like to do besides modeling?

I would probably choose to teach or become a journalist. But I couldn’t ask for a better job than the one I have now!

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