The past year has seen Shanina Shaik emerge as one of Australia’s biggest modelling exports – or at the least, a very compelling case for perseverance. At seventeen, Shaik came runner-up in Make Me A Supermodel, a short lived platform that snagged her both a contract with New York Model Management and proved her an exception to the reality television alumni rule. After three pretty quiet years, Shaik landed her breakthrough casting in 2011’s Victoria’s Secret show and has since gone on to diversify her portfolio, having opened Jason Wu’s Fall 2012 collection and been cast in shows for Chanel, Tom Ford, Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood and Oscar de la Renta in between. Now back in Australia as the face of Just Jeans, we asked Shanina to compile A Guide To Becoming A Victoria’s Secret Angel and Looking Great in Jeans. Pass the brown rice.

ALL GOOD THINGS IN MODERATION

Firstly with my diet, I’m usually very healthy as I have to keep in shape for work. I eat a lot of fish, eggs, chicken, vegetables, salad and brown rice. Breakfast is normally yoghurt and muesli, or an egg white omelette with spinach. But I can’t resist pasta and I love ice-cream!

In terms of exercise, I train a lot. I’ve just engaged a personal trainer and I’m really enjoying working out doing light weights and running. I also love Zumba – I do the Zumba workout once a week and weights twice a week. When I’m not travelling for work though I love running along the Hudson River in NYC, where I live. I’ve been there for years now and I have my own place in Manhattan. I really enjoy the energy there. It has become a home away from home. But it is definitely great to be back in Australia.

Shanina Shaik’s Guide To Looking Great In Jeans & Becoming A Victoria’s Secret Angel

PERSONAL STYLE

Personality and style wise, I’m really down to earth. I’m originally from a small outer suburb in Melbourne and have a really close family. I’m a real jeans and t-shirts kind of girl. I was honoured to have the opportunity to walk for Victoria’s Secret but I’m equally at home hanging out with friends and family and being very comfortable! I love all the coloured denim I’ve been wearing for the campaign. I think it’s so stylish, comfortable and it really suits my personality. It’s quite different to some of my high fashion work as the energy on set is really relaxed. But I also love dressing up so my high fashion work is really fun too.

What’s my secret to looking great in jeans? I think it’s all about being positive, confident and definitely comfortable. Everyone looks different, and owning that is what makes the world different. Although I’m travelling so much all the time, I think our Aussie culture is all about relaxed, easy style, so I think we can get away with something like jeans in almost any situation! In terms of preparing for a shoot, I try to go with it and feel the moment – I think it is important to feel natural and relaxed. It really helps when I’m working with a brand I know so well and have grown up with, so I don’t have to pose too much!

Shanina Shaik’s Guide To Looking Great In Jeans & Becoming A Victoria’s Secret Angel

VICTORIA’S SECRET STILETTO CAMP

In the lead up to a show like a Victoria’s Secret runway, I train very hard and I always try to eat right. I keep my pasta and ice-cream indulgences – my biggest vices – to ‘occasional treats’ but I would never go to extremes. It’s about balance and making healthy choices. That’s an important characteristic of being a successful model, along with a good attitude, healthy organic eating, and working out with a trainer!

This biggest misconception in modelling is that it’s always glamour and parties. We work incredibly hard and travel all the time. I work constantly and don’t get to see my family back home very often. So getting such a coveted contract back home in Australia has been such a great opportunity as I will be able to come home and spend more time with my family.

Shanina Shaik’s Guide To Looking Great In Jeans & Becoming A Victoria’s Secret Angel
Photo by Jamie McCarthy via Getty Images

If I could change something about the fashion industry it would be the issue surrounding body image. I think brands that champion an athletic, healthy, fresh physique should be commended. I have had the opportunity to meet some amazing people in the fashion industry along the way so far in my career, including some beautiful Victoria’s Secret angels like Miranda Kerr. But I’m very lucky to have wonderful friends and family in my life and I’m still very close to everyone back home.

What’s next? So far it has been such a whirlwind I can hardly think beyond my time here to what’s next in terms of my career. I take every opportunity I have had with gratitude. I’m so thankful for what I have been able to achieve already in my career. I hope to have a long career and I’m loving the ride so far!

Shanina Shaik’s Guide To Looking Great In Jeans & Becoming A Victoria’s Secret Angel
At Heidi Klum’s 12th Annual Halloween Party by Jemal Countess for Getty Images

Title image: Jamie McCarthy via Getty Images
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