As a child, she wanted to grow up and become a teacher. Irina was often made fun of by other girls because she looked so different with her exotic looks. Irina says she inherited her exotic looks from her father, "My father was dark skinned, because he was Tatar, sometimes Tatars can look Brazilian." At nine years of age, Irina entered a music school and studied for seven years.
When Irina Shayk was 14, her father died from pneumonia and her mother had to work two jobs to provide for the family.
By chance, Irina Shayk entered a local beauty contest and won. She was asked to start modeling in Europe. It took her a year to make up her mind, but finally said yes. It was difficult, as she didn't speak English. "I never thought of a career as a model and it was a total surprise for me when I won that contest" (modelinia.com). Irina has also stated that the town where she grew up didn't have fashion magazines.
In 2007, Irina Shayk became the face of Intimissimi lingerie, but she is probably known most for her appearance in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. Irina has been in the magazine's swimsuit edition every since 2007 and became the first Russian model to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 2011.
Irina Shayk has appeared on the covers of magazines, including QG (Germany, Mexico, Spain), Spanish Elle, and the Victoria's Secret catalogue, among others. She has been featured in major ad campaigns for La Pera, Lacoste, Beach Bunny, Armani Exchange, Rampage and many more.
When asked about how she keeps her bikini body, Irina Shayk said, "It's very important to take care of your health. I work out a lot, love boxing and Pilates, but I also eat healthy food and drink a lot of water. But the most important thing is to be happy and to be in love with your body!" She added, "I never really diet."
In 2009 Irina became the face of Beach Bunny swimwear and designed 2 swimsuits. In 2012, Irina became the new host of Russia's Top Model franchise.
Irina loves animals and has a pet dog. When she is in low spirits, she likes to write funny poetry. While close to her family in Russia, Irina Shayk prefers to live in New York City.