It’s hard to argue with Victoria’s Secret. The lingerie mega brand is unimpeachable when it comes to knowing one thing in particular: spectacular women. Shanina Shaik has, unsurprisingly, been anointed as one such specimen.
Before her breakout turn on the VS runway, the poetically gorgeous Melbourne-born angel got her start on short-lived Aussie incarnation of Brit series Make Me A Supermodel on which she finished runner-up in 2008.
Since then it’s been up and up for the hard working model and mother of ridiculously charming French bulldog, Chopper, with whom she lives in her adopted home of New York.
Of the city she says, “I love the energy… it lives up to its reputation as the city that never sleeps! I’ve lived in NYC for nearly 10 years and have a great support network of friends.”
Those travel destinations include the legendary Grand Palais in Paris where she’s rolled catwalks for Chanel, and international runways of the world’s most famous fashion cities. But, despite the access afforded by her decade-long romance with NYC, she doesn’t hesitate when we ask if it’s gained an edge on her birthplace.
“I’m a Melbourne girl,” she promises, “and I love nothing more than spending time with my family in the great outdoors.”
Her early fashion and beauty influences come from her beloved mother. Like so many girls, her first memories of beauty products were stacked in the contents of her mum’s make-up drawers.
“I loved looking at her lipsticks and spraying all her fragrances.”
With that incredible skin and soulful eyes, her approach to beauty is appropriately understated. The body gets more specific attention.
“LOL… when am I not exercising!,” she tells us. “I train most days, I like feeling fit, strong and healthy. I mix it up with Soul Cycle, Pilates, Body Barre and PT with my Trainer Justin Gelband at modelfit gym in NYC.”
“I use the hotel gym or just get out in the fresh air for a run… I also travel with resistance bands and a skipping rope so there’s never an excuse!”
That laudable dedication to exercise must make it easier when it comes to stripping down for gigs with Victoria’s Secret and her local underwear favourite Bonds.
In fact, she’s got a similarly laudable dedication to Australian designers in general. Alongside Alexander Wang, Celine, Givenchy and, obviously, Victoria’s Secret for underwear, Shanina’s go-to picks for red carpet moments are Sydney-based Alex Perry and Johanna Johnson (who she happens to be wearing in our shoot).
Shanina is a hand-on-heart Melbourne girl at the end of the day. She’s genuine when she says “nothing beats my home.”
From someone who’s viewed the world from the lofty peaks of the VS runway and shot editorial jaunts from some of the world’s most incredible spots, that’s about as strong an endorsement a city can get.
Photographed by Soraya Zaman
Words by Susannah Tucker