Irina Shayk says the fashion industry has ”changed” for the better for older models.
The 33-year-old Russian model’s career took off at the age of 21 when she became the face of Intimissimi in 2007 and made her debut in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue that same year.
But Irina insists the ”last two years” have ”been the best” for her in the fashion world because ”older girls are still working” in the industry and are more valued now than they used to be.
She said: ”I’ve just turned 33 and the last two years of my career have been the best.
“I never thought I would be the face of Jean Paul Gaultier or Burberry or Versace or be shot by Steven Meisel, because normally that happens at the start of your career.
‘So ageing doesn’t bother me. The fashion industry has changed and now, older girls still work.”
Irina who was aged 18 when she won the Miss Chelyabinsk beauty contest in 2004 and was later signed to a modelling agency – has also revealed that she was often shunned by brands for being too curvy and was always told to ”lose weight” when she was working during her 20s.
Irina shared: ”I was older than other girls – some started modelling aged 13. I wasn’t a size zero, I was bigger and I was sexy.
”Now, because of Instagram, it is not really about being a size zero, but back then, all the girls were skinny and I wasn’t.
”There are so many people who tell you to lose weight, to colour your hair or cut it or do this or that … You have to be strong and stubborn to be a model. It’s very important not to lose who you really are.”
The striking brunette – who recently split from actor Bradley Cooper, the father of her two-year-old daughter, Lea de Seine – didn’t know much about the fashion industry growing up and she had ”never” purchased a magazine because she was too busy studying.
Irina told Stella magazine: ”We lived in a super-small village, we never bought fashion magazines, I didn’t even know that world existed.
”When I was asked to be a model, at first I said no, I wanted to finish studying marketing at college. My mum had been saving up to pay for it. Then I realised modelling would be a good way to help my family. Money was my main driver.”
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