For the Beauty Issue, Bazaar talked to four of the moment's most compelling models about their own philosophies of beauty. Below, Irina Shayk on motherhood, self-love, and why you should never read the comments.

When I was a young girl, I always admired my grandmother. She was my icon in basically everything. She was strong and positive and always had kind words for me. For her, it was all about natural beauty. She never wore makeup and would use this stuff from the fridge, like strawberries or cucumbers, for her face. She was always so positive and grateful for every day and was like, “Always be yourself. Be kind to people.” That’s what true beauty is.

Motherhood definitely shined a light on me, [like] “Oh, you’re a mother, you’re busy, but you still have time for yourself and you don’t have to change who you are.” Sometimes I wake up and I feel cute and I think,“Oh, should I put these pictures out on social media?” One voice says, “Oh, but people will say, ‘You’re a mother.’ ”And I’m like,“But what does it mean?” My example is Emily Ratajkowski. She’s always sexy and feminine and all about loving your body. Maybe I’m not so vocal about it, but I’m totally on the same wavelength: You’re a mother, but it doesn’t mean you cannot go outside in a tiny little skirt or put a sexy picture up.

I’ve never really [cared about] people’s opinions, even early in my modeling career, when they were like,“Oh my God, she doesn’t really look like a model. She’s not skinny, she’s too sexy, she’s never going to be a model.” I was always like, “No, I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to lose 10 pounds.” I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m a Capricorn. My mom would always say, “You’re so stubborn.” It’s just part of my personality. I’m so busy. We don’t have a nanny, so between trying to run my career, cook, clean, dress my daughter, bring her to school, and do all the mom stuff, I have no time for people’s opinions. Why on earth would I click and read 2,000 comments? I kind of don’t rely on it. I have my friends, my family. They love me, and I know who I am. I don’t give many, many know this word, what people really think about me.



People ask, “Have you always been that confident?” No, I haven’t. It’s just that I’ve learned to love my imperfections. You need to love all of you. My daughter is a big part of why I started to love myself even more. She’ll say, “I love Daddy so much, I love Mama so much, I love Nana, I love Babulya—” who is my mom. Then she goes, “And I really love myself.” And I’m looking at my daughter and I’m like,“Wow, I wasn’t like that at six year sold.”You know what I mean? I didn’t have her thoughts at six years old. But this is what we need to teach our kids. We’re teaching our daughter that the most important thing is to be kind to people. Every time we send her to school, we’re like, “Just remember kindness and love.” So I think that’s what true beauty is. It’s not about putting on masks, putting on makeup, brushing your hair, putting on nice clothes. With TikTok and Instagram and social media, my daughter is growing up in a different environment than I grew up in, so sometimes it kind of scares me. But most important is teaching our daughter bigger values than being pretty on the outside.

I find that when you don’t feel beautiful, it is just a disconnection of your inner energy. I believe in observing people’s energy. I really do believe in running out of energy, not even physically but emotionally. It’s very important to take time for yourself. It doesn’t matter if it’s 30 minutes or one hour; just connect back and listen to your body and think,“Why do I feel that way?” I recently did a sound bath with my friend Harry Josh, and it was kind of my first time connecting to my mind and body and thinking about all this bad energy leaving me. Everyone needs to find something for themselves. Meditate, go to an infrared sauna. Just do five minutes.

When you physically don’t feel beautiful, the solution isn’t running and doing a facial. Something is disconnected from inside, and that’s why you feel like that outside. It took me a while to figure that out because as a model, you think, “Oh, they expect you to feel pretty and look pretty.” No, it’s not about your external look; it’s what is inside of you. That’s how I would reconnect to myself and try to feel connected and put together inside. And that’s how I feel pretty outside as well.

This article originally appeared in the May 2023 issue of Harper's Bazaar.


Hair: Cim Mahony for Studio Cim Mahony; makeup: Marcelo Gutierrez; manicure: Honey for Londontown; casting: Anita Bitton at the Establishment; set design: Peter Klein; digital design: Perri Tomkiewicz