Irina Shayk says she felt guilty becoming a model and 'wasting' her mother's money on her education
Irina Shayk initially turned down the chance to be a model as she felt guilty about wasting money her mother has spent on her education.
The 29-year-old star had a tough upbringing in Russia, with her mum working three jobs to support the family. It was because of this that Irina was able to move to another city when she was 17 to study, and it was while she was there that she was offered a modelling opportunity while visiting a beauty school with her sister.
"Right next door was a modelling agency," she told Britain's Hello! magazine. "The boss saw me and asked if I wanted to model. He wanted to send me to Paris and I said to myself, 'Paris? No thanks,' mainly because my mother had saved so hard to pay for my studies that I felt I should finish them. Finally, though, two months later, he convinced me to go to Paris with him and that's where my career began."
Irina hasn't looked back, working for the likes of Sports Illustrated, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar. Nothing has come easily to her though, with Irina suggesting the idea that modelling is a walk in the park is one of the most misunderstood things about the job.
"I started modelling quite late, at 20," she said. "In this industry, girls start when they're barely even 14 or 15. Of course, nothing just falls into your lap - to get where I am now, I've worked hard. A lot of people think that to make it as a model you just need to be pretty and slim, but they're wrong. There's a lot of hard work involved. You have to be very focused, know what kind of work you're aiming for."
As the work is all about appearances, it's important to have a solid beauty regime in place too. For Irina that means taking care of her skin by applying sunblock whenever she's outside and slathering on the moisturiser. Some models go down the surgery route too, but she can't understand why.
"No, I think women look good natural," she insisted. "What I've never understood is why some women use plastic surgery to make themselves more attractive to men. The most beautiful woman is someone who's happy and is always smiling."