Irina Shayk: We teach Lea ‘that the most important thing is to be kind to people’

Irina Shayk is one of the cover subjects of Harper’s Bazaar’s “Beauty Issue.” While I actually like Irina, it’s pretty boring to listen to a beautiful woman tell you that beauty comes from the inside. In previous interviews, Irina has spoken about how she had a very hard-scrabble life in Russia, and before she was a model, she had no idea what a salad was. She doesn’t mention Bradley Cooper or any other guy in this piece, but I get the sense that she and B-Coop are still close and on the same page when it comes to raising their daughter Lea. Some highlights:

Her grandmother: “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.

She’s a mom who sometimes wants to post sexy selfies: “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.

She never cared about other people’s opinions: “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.

She’s too busy to care: “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 S-H-I…you know this word, what people really think about me.

She hasn’t always been this confident though: “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.

Beauty is connected to your inner energy: “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.

[From Harper’s Bazaar]

“We’re teaching our daughter that the most important thing is to be kind to people.” Don’t get me wrong, teaching kindness, respect, dignity, self-love, friendship, all of that is very important to teach your children and a lot of parents don’t do that. But also: math is important, reading is important, etc. Go to school to learn how to socialize with kindness, absolutely – but also pay attention in your classes. It must be wild for Irina, with her particular background, to raise her daughter in New York and co-parent with an American father. I bet they have so many debates about what they should teach Lea and what they prioritize for her.

I also agree that people judge moms for wanting to look cute or posting a sexy selfie or wearing their short skirt on the school run. It’s cute that Irina stans Emrata.

Cover courtesy of Bazaar, additional photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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