Melbourne-born model Shanina Shaik left Australia for at just 17, knowing already that if she was to make it as a model - and walk in the biggest fashion show in the world, she needed to be in New York.
Just three years later, aged 21, Shaik's dream came true and she was cast in the 2011 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. At the time, only four Australian models had ever been invited to walk the famed runway and Shaik's career instantly took off.
Now, aged 27, Shaik is one of Australia's top models signed to IMG, travelling the world with modelling (when we talk she's in London), posting to over 1.4m fans on Instagram, and preparing to walk her fifth Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. Of course, for Down Under, the 2018 runway extravaganza is a little closer to home: Victoria's Secret is opening its first-ever Australian store in Melbourne's Chadstone shopping centre this year.
Below, the natural beauty talks us through her pre-show prep, her morning routine, and why Netflix plays a big part in her staying sane.
You found out you were walking Victoria's Secret a little differently to other girls this year. Can you talk us through it?
I was at a shoot with Pat Mcgrath and I think we were four hours into makeup when the director of the shoot asked me to go to the other side of the set. I didn’t know what was going on but then I saw my agent and my girlfriend, my best friend Jasmine [Victoria’s Secret Angel Jasmine Tookes], standing there. At that moment I didn’t know what was going to happen, I didn’t even notice that there was a camera rolling as well. My girlfriend told me that I’d got the show, which was a super emotional moment for me. Especially not doing the show for the last two years, but knowing that I’m going to be with my best friend too - because we’re like double trouble when we’re together. It was a really happy, great moment, but I couldn’t cry because I didn’t want to ruin the makeup after four hours getting it done!
The audition process seems incredibly daunting, how many years did you try out for VS before getting confirmed for your first show in 2011?
I tried out twice before that, so the third time I got the show. It was an amazing moment for me, that’s all I wanted to do when I moved to New York and my agents knew that as well. For me, at the time it was a really big achievement because the jobs that I was doing were really commercial - I was doing catalogues - and Victoria’s Secret just changed my whole career.
You’re coming into your fifth year walking for VS, what’s been your favourite moment on the runway or biggest pinch-me moment so far?
That’s hard because all of them have been such different shows. But I think obviously my first show, nothing will ever compare. I also had my mum in the audience as well from Australia, just to have my mum there in that moment. I look back at the videos and I was so young and can just see the excitement in my face, it’s really funny to watch now.
What have you been doing exercise wise to prep for the show?
A lot of pilates works right for my body. I like to work with Megan Roup, she does a lot of dance cardio and Pilates-based work, using small weights and ankle weights. I like to do a lot of infrared saunas as well, Shape House is one of my favourites, it’s just really good for water retention and inflammation. Leading up to the show, I do two workouts a day.
What is your everyday beauty routine like? Any products you couldn’t live without?
To be honest, my vitamins are really important. Your gut health and digestion and when you look after yourself on the inside, it really shines through. When I’m travelling a lot it affects my skin, so I use Barbara Sturm’s vitamins, which I find really helps. I use a lot of La Mer moisturising oils and Barbara Sturm’s glow drops and sun drops and anti-pollution drops. I can’t live without moisturising.
What’s your usual day on a plate?
For food, where do I begin! I’m pescatarian, but I do eat a lot of vegan-based foods. I start my day with hot water and lemon, as I mentioned before, and then I eat mainly protein and vegetables - stir-frys etc. A week or two weeks before the show, I’ll cut out carbs but before that, I’ll have brown rice, which is not too exciting, but that’s what I have to do [laughs].
What does your morning routine look like? How do you like to start your day?
I usually wake up about 7:30-8am and I put my workout gear on. I start my day with hot water and lemon and then I would usually have a black coffee and then head down to workout for an hour. I usually have a healthy breakfast from there, before coming home, showering - cleanse, tone, moisturise - I always wash my face after a workout.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I’m constantly travelling or running to meetings, so when it’s my down time I love to do pretty much nothing - Netflix and chill or catching up with my girlfriends, being with my husband and having lunches, dinner and brunches.