I walked into our shoot with Shanina Shaik not quite knowing what to expect. I knew she'd be beautiful, sure, but when I stepped into the studio, I found a cheerful, animated 28-year-old who couldn't help but smile.
"My background is quite mixed," she told me when I complimented her radiant-looking skin. Her mother is Lithuanian, and her father is of Pakistani and Saudi Arabian descent. She was raised in Melbourne though, where she started modeling at just 8 years old. I imagine that's why Shaik (who you might recognize from the runways of Chanel, Tom Ford, and, most recently, Victoria's Secret) seems comfortable and unfazed by her growing star power. She's been in the business for as long as she can remember and is even stepping out of the modeling box to give acting a go. Shaik is set to star in a reboot of The Mummy (opening this summer) alongside Tom Cruise—not too shabby for her first movie.
The more time we spent together, the more I noticed Shaik is shockingly unintimidating. She hugged everyone in the room and danced along to the playlist that was only faintly audible in the background. Truth be told, I had to stop myself from getting up and dancing along with her. Just before each beat drop, she paused for the camera, allowing our photographer to capture the airiness of her demeanor with every shot. By the end, I'd made about a hundred mental notes in my quest to be more photogenic. Later, Shaik and I hunkered down for our conversation about beauty, wellness, and confidence.
Read on to hear Shanina Shaik tell her beauty story in her own words.
"In the morning, I cleanse, tone, moisturize, and exfoliate two times a week. I moisturize a lot—day and night. I usually change my skin products according to the seasons, for winter and summer. My skin is very oily, so I tend to opt for a lighter moisturizer. I love Kora Organics by Miranda [Kerr]—its cleanser is the product I really, really love. Neutrogena has amazing moisturizers, and I use a line called Adore. All the products are really beautiful, delicate, and gentle on your skin. The Golden Touch 24K Techno-Dermis Eye Mask ($995) is great.
"When I get ready to go out or to an event, it will take me about an hour, hour and a half, to get ready. I always start with a moisturized, clean face. I don't like to use foundation so much. I find a tinted moisturizer looks much more natural. I like the Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer ($45), and, if not that, the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation ($64). It's also very light on the face—I don't like to create a 'masked' look. I like very natural and dewy makeup. I love Charlotte Tilbury's line. All of her products really fit my skin color, and she has a lot of beautiful bronzy, dewy formulas. Her eye shadow palettes ($53), highlighter ($44), and bronzer ($68) are really good. I also love the Tom Ford highlighter ($84) and his Cream Cheek Color (discontinued); [they] are really amazing. When you take a picture, you can see the highlight. And Urban Decay eye shadow palettes are some of my favorites."
On Shanina Shaik: L'Oréal Paris Infallible Matte Foundation ($13); Fiona Stiles Color Impact Matte Lip Crayon in Rialto (discontinued) MAC Pigment in Red Electric (discontinued).
"My favorite concealer is Perfectionist Youth-Infusing Brightening Serum + Concealer ($22). I absolutely recommend everyone gets it; it's amazing. It has two ends, so one part matte concealer stick and the other end is dewy with a nice sheen to it. It's super fun applying it to get that sheen, and then you can't tell there's any darkness.
"I have a few tricks. Mixing your moisturizer with a foundation is great because it sinks into the skin more and looks more natural. That, and using scotch tape to create a cat-eye. It helps to line your eyes just so."
"I wish I could tell my teenage self to believe in myself. I grew up always with [the] need to put pressure on myself to do well. It pushes me to do amazing things and work hard, but if you overdo something and start to worry, it can be difficult. It's really important to just be conscious and believe in yourself.
"[When I can't sleep], I use this app called iSleep Easy ($4)—you can actually create a playlist. It's very comfortable to fall asleep to. You can add spa-like music or something for meditation. I find it relaxes both my mind and body until I fall asleep.
"I consistently have a good diet; I eat quite well. I mainly make fish, eggs, and vegetables every day. For breakfast, I always love an omelet. That's my favorite; it keeps me energized. What you eat affects your skin, and drinking plenty of water is really important for me. I do like sweets, though, on a cheat day."
On Shanina Shaik: L'Oréal Paris Infallible Matte Foundation ($13); L'Oréal Paris Voluminous Feline Noir Eyeliner in Blackest Black ($7); Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant ($24); L'Oréal Paris Colour Riche Le Gloss in Naturally Nude ($4); Vaseline Lip Therapy Cocoa Butter Tin ($3).
"Beauty is looking after yourself and taking care of your body, but it's also doing things you love. It's important to be a positive and happy person, with people around who you love and support. When you have all that, it shines through to the exterior.
"In that respect, my mom inspires me. Most importantly, she's a single mother, and I look up to her so much. She's always been really confident, hardworking, and created such an amazing life for my brother and I. If I have any issues, she's my go-to. She's always right.
"My beauty icon is Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. I think she's a gorgeous, glamorous woman, and her style is so on point—very sophisticated but sexy at the same time."
Who would you like to see take over our next Self-Directed feature? Tell us in the comments below.
Credits: Photographer: Jerome Corpuz, Hair: Owen Gould, Makeup: Sir John, Styling: Shibon Kennedy.