Irina Shayk

Irina Shayk

Irina Shayk, professionally known as Irina Shayk, is a Russian model who rose to international prominence after becoming the first Russian model to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue in 2011. She is classified as an “Industry Icon” by


Shayk was born in Yemanzhelinsk (Chelyabinsk Oblast region), Soviet Union, to a half-Russian, half-Volga Tatar Muslim father, Valery Shaykhlislamov, a coal miner, and a Russian Orthodox Christian mother, Olga, a kindergarten music teacher back in Russia. She has remarked that her father gave her good features and that many people mistake her for a South American, stating, “My father had dark skin since he was Tatar, and Tatars can often resemble Brazilians. My mother is the source of my bright eyes.” Tatiana Petenkova, her only sibling, is her only sibling. She is also Tatiana’s aunt, with three children of her own, including a niece named “Irina.”

Career as a Model

Shayk debuted in the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2007, replacing Ana Beatriz Barros as the face of Intimissimi. She was photographed in locales including St. Petersburg, Naples, Grenada, and Chile for these annual editions till 2015.

Shayk was named the official ambassador for Intimissimi in 2010 after three years as its face. For the spring/summer 2009 season, she also had ads with Beach Bunny Swimwear and Guess. Victoria’s Secret, Lacoste, Cesare Paciotti, and Morellato are among his other clients. In May 2009, she joined IMG Models.


Armani Exchange’s spring/summer 2010 ad featured Shayk as the face of the brand. She also appeared in artist Marco Brambilla’s film “Power,” directed by Kanye West. Complex magazine placed her first on its list of “50 Hottest Russian Women.”

With a spread in Spain’s Harper’s Bazaar and the cover of Elle Spain’s November 2010 edition, she made the transition from swimwear to high fashion. “Best International Model of 2010,” according to Glamour Spain.

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