Shanina Shaik: 'Bullying spurred me to success'
Shanina Shaik was deeply affected by bullying as a schoolgirl.
With her striking green eyes and brunette tresses, the Australian model has walked for the likes of Victoria’s Secret and Chanel over the years, as well as appearing in campaigns for lingerie giants Bonds and Intimissimi. While her exotic looks are now highly in-demand by big fashion companies, the 25-year-old says that her skin colour and multi-cultural background made her a target for schoolyard bullies in her teenage years.
“There was racism involved in it,” she told Britain’s Hello! Fashion Monthly, adding that she is of Lithuanian, Pakistani and Saudi Arabian heritage. “I lost a lot of self-esteem; my self-esteem was at its lowest when I was being bullied, I’d be crying and super emotional.”
With the help of her mother and school principal, the bullying and verbal abuse was eventually halted.
And rather than dwelling on the negative, Shanina chose to use the experience as a point of motivation.
“I definitely wanted to prove them wrong. That helps me a lot with my job, actually; if people tell me there are things that I can’t do, I like to go out and prove them wrong,” she explained.
In fact, Shanina’s parents and fiancé DJ Ruckus, real name Greg Andrews, regularly warn her that she’s becoming a workaholic because she chooses to take on so much work.
But the style star isn’t good at lazing about home and much prefers her schedule to be packed out.
“Actually, when I stop and have a week or two at home in New York, I start freaking out.
“I’m like, ‘I need to go somewhere, get on a plane’. My body clock is all over the place,” she laughed. “I think it’s because one of my biggest priorities is my work and I’m such a high achiever – I always want to be doing something.”