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Irina Shayk Biography

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Birth Name: Irina Shayk

Appealing to both a commercial market and high-fashion editorials, Russian beauty Irina Shayk was able to fashion an international modeling career similar to Heidi Klum and Tyra Banks. Irina Valerevna Shaykhlislamova was born on Jan. 6, 1986 in Yemanzhelinsk, Russia. The future model inherited her multi-cultural look from her family; her dark-skinned features from her father's ethnic Tatar heritage, while her light eyes came from her Russian mother. Both her father and mother worked blue-collar jobs, a coal miner and kindergarten teacher, respectively. Shayk played the piano and began studying music at an early age. In high school, she studied marketing, but quickly lost interest. Instead, she joined her older sister in enrolling at a local beauty school. It was around this time when a local modeling agency discovered Shayk and encouraged her to enter a beauty contest, which led to an opportunity to model in Paris, France when Shayk was 19. Her work paid off in 2007 when she appeared in theSports Illustrated swimsuit issue, which has featured every top model from Christie Brinkley to Elle Macpherson. That same year, Shayk became the face of Italian clothing label Intimissimi. Her career whisked her across the globe, where she graced the covers of international editions of Elle and Harper's Bazaar. Shayk eventually made the cover of SI Swimsuit Issue in 2011. The following year, she hosted "Russia's Top Model" (Muz-TV, 2011- ), an international spin-off of Banks' hit series "America's Next Top Model" (UPN, 2003-06; The CW, 2006- ).