Our spring issue cover star, the lovely Shanina Shaik, has been a longtime friend of The Daily. We caught up with the Australian stunner to find out how she’s grown over the years, what’s still on her to-do list, and what it was like to finally return home after two long years.
We haven’t talked to you in a long time. How have you been?
The past few years have been crazy for me, and I’m sure for everybody. Obviously, being hit with a pandemic had a huge impact on all our lives, especially for me in my astrology chart, and that chart is having the Saturn return, which represents a lot of change in someone’s life, and it’s like a cleanse for an adult. It’s kind of like a midlife crisis, but for a young adult. Right when COVID hit, I was in London, and I was going to and from London, and I got stuck in Europe.
Where did you end up living while there?
I stayed in Ibiza for about three months. And then for the rest of my time, I was in London. My visa expired during COVID as well, so I couldn’t even get back to the U.S. or home to Australia. Then I got back to the U.S., luckily, within the new year when I turned 30. It was stressful for me, but I love London, so it wasn’t too bad because I was able to be with friends. I love the vibe there.
We’ve all learned things about ourselves in the past two years. What have you learned?
I’ve definitely learned that I’m very independent, and that I’m strong and I can make it through a lot. I’ve learned a lot about my health because of the pandemic and how to take care of myself. Even though I had a place in Los Angeles, I’m always living out of suitcases. When I came back to the U.S., I needed to secure myself in my life, which is why I decided to buy a house and make a steady home for myself.
You finally made it home to Australia recently!
It’s been two-and-a-half years since I’ve been home. It’s a really long time. I’m a family-oriented person. It’s a time for me to relax and be my complete self because, obviously, my job is 24/7. It was emotional. It felt surreal. Unfortunately, my grandmother passed away during the pandemic, and I wasn’t able to see her because of COVID and the restrictions, so overall it was emotional, but happy—really, really happy.
Was there anything that you wanted to do when you got home that you can only do there?
To be honest, it was just eating. I was happy to go back and just eat, like, all the food in Australia. The produce is amazing there. My dad was born in Singapore, and he’s mixed, obviously. They have a huge community of Asian fusion food there. I get a great mix of Malaysian, Singaporean, Indian, Chinese, and Vietnamese, all mixed in one. It’s my favorite.
Anti-bullying education is one of the causes near and dear to you. Why is that important to you?
When I was 14 years old, I was in high school and I was bullied at school to the point where I was terrified to attend. I was skipping school because of it, and it showed in my grades. I was depressed. But, luckily, I had an amazing support system, especially my mom, who helped me through this. I ended up staying at the school and working through it. Having a voice and letting someone know that there’s a support system is important.
We hear you have no desire to start a swimsuit line, like some of your peers. But do you have any other professional pursuits?
I would love to expand into the skincare business. It’s a passion of mine, and it’s coming to fruition. I’ve manifested this over the years as well. To me, it’s important to take care of our skin, and our skin also tells a lot about how we take care of ourselves from within as well. It’s not just about skincare; it’s all about your wellness from within, inside your body.
How did you feel about turning 30?
I’m turning 31 this month, so this is exciting. It’s a huge transition for me. A lot changed in my life. It’s so funny, as we grow up, we think when we hit our twenties and we’re an adult, we’ve got everything figured out. And as I hit 30 I thought, “Wow, in my twenties I was just like a kid really,” and still learning about so much. I feel like I can enjoy myself a little bit more now. And I know more about myself as a woman.