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Irina Shayk has always been known for two things: her stunning beauty and her unwillingness to share information about her personal life. Both of those things are still true, but now the Russian-born supermodel is also known for her recent split with longtime boyfriend Bradley Cooper. In her cover story for the latest digital issues of Haper’s Bazaar, Shayk is opening up for the first time. At least, slightly.

Shayk spoke with Harper’s Bazaar a few months before she and Cooper announced their split after four years together, with rumours of trouble in their relationship plaguing the pair for months. Much of the speculation that there was trouble stemmed from Cooper’s relationship with his A Star Is Born co-star Lady Gaga, with the two actors gushing about one another in interviews and sharing an intimate performance at this year’s Academy Awards. Though the supermodel declined to comment on Cooper both before and after their split, she did pull back the curtain slightly on her personal life, sharing her thoughts on marriage, authenticity, motherhood, and what you need to know if you want to date Irina Shayk. Hint: the pen is mightier than the smartphone.

ON MARRIAGE

Through Shayk and Cooper were never married, the pair share a daughter and spent years living together. The supermodel stopped short of confirming that she wants to be a bride someday but did agree that she believes in the sanctity of marriage. “Everyone looks at it differently,” said Shayk. “Do I believe in marriage? Yes, of course. I’m not the kind of person who is against it.”

ON DATING IN 2019

You’re not going to find Irina Shayk on Tinder. The model is adamant about her disdain for social media, as well as texting, emailing, and really any kind of conversation taking place on a keyboard. Instead, Shayk likes to keep things old school with letters and phone calls. “Nobody’s sending letters to anyone anymore. I really believe if you go for dinner with somebody, you don’t have to send them a text or keep them updated on Instagram message. You freaking pick up the phone, call and say, ‘Let’s have dinner.’”

ON NOT LOSING YOURSELF IN MOTHERHOOD

Shayk and Cooper welcomed their daughter Lea two years ago, but the birth of her first child did not mean the end of Irina’s identity. “Tell me one reason why, just because you’re a mother, you need to wear a longer skirt. No! I don’t believe in that. I really don’t,” said Shayk, who rallies against the notion that women are supposed to be demurer after becoming mothers. “How is it that people think of this idea? Why should you have to change who you are and how you feel just because you become a mother? I’m like, tell me why. Tell me one reason! I don’t believe in that. I don’t understand why.” Preach, sister.


ON BEING RAISED BY STRONG WOMEN

Irina credits much of her strength to her mother, grandmothers and sister, with the model having lost her father while still in her teens. The death of Shayk’s father meant Irina and the rest of the women in her family had to step up and take on traditionally masculine roles, which she feels has better equipped her for life, including being her own handyman who hammers her own nails, plants her own vegetables, and moves her own furniture. “Women are the ones who can handle everything,” says Irina. “Women can raise the kids, women can do the job, and when she’s back, she can cook and clean and do the heavy work too!”

ON REMAINING AUTHENTIC

Harper’s Bazaar writer Olivia Fleming notes that Irina’s dedication to keeping things ‘real’ is a frequent theme in the interview, with the celebrity determined to showcase her authentic self and move away from the fashion world’s desire to project unrealistic beauty standards. “I’m not this stiff model who sits there and wants to look perfect,” says Shayk. “I’m not perfect. I have bad skin days and bad hair days. Sometimes I don’t look like a model. I’m just a real human being.”

ON SURVIVING THE MODELING WORLD

Irina’s words for aspiring models doubles as advice that everyone should adhere to, regardless of their resume. “You have to know what you want and you have to stick with your decisions. People will tell you, ‘you’re too skinny, you’re too fat.’ You have to learn how to love you and be comfortable in your own skin. If you really love you for who you are, I think you can do anything.”