Her hips don’t lie and neither does she. The Colombian singer has always been as open, straightforward and real as one can be. As a fellow colombiana, I’ve been following Shaki since way before her blond days. Ever since I listened to “Pies Descalzos,” I knew she was onto something, and I’ve learned a thing or two about life from her:
1. You can have a chain of awful relationships and still find the real deal.
CREDIT: GLOBALGRIND/ SHAKIRA
First came a rocky relationship with telenovela superstar Osvaldo Ríos, then former Argentinian president Fernando de la Rúa’s son, Antonio, whose management of Shakira resulted in back-and-forth lawsuits. Briefly after, la barranquillera started dating Barcelona’s niño consentido, Gerard Piqué. Six years and two kids later, they’re still happily together, proving your true love and your first love aren’t necessarily the same.
2. You don’t have to be married to build a life with a partner.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with walking down the aisle, vestida de blanco and getting God to bless your union, if that’s your cup of tea, but it doesn’t have to be everyone’s. Shakira and her bae are not legally married, but have a way more solid partnership than plenty of married folks I know.
3. You can handle career, amor and children like a boss.
Multiple awards and records over a career that has spanned decades and countries? Check.
A hardworking, independent, reliable man who loves her? Check.
Two beautiful kids? Check.
4. Not everyone who makes money turns into an idiota.
CREDIT: MAKEAGIF/ ITUNES
How many times have you read that Shaki was nasty to a journalist? Nunca. She’s walking proof you can be among the world’s most powerful and wealthy women and still be totally down to earth.
5. Society’s standards don’t get to dictate how you live your life. You do.
CREDIT: BITTERSWEET-NOVACAINE/ TUMBLR
She lives where she likes, dresses how she pleases, handles her relationships how best works for her and her boo, takes her kids everywhere she goes, and does it all with a sweet smile and killer personality. It’s her life, and she’s running it as she pleases, whether others like it or not.
6. You can learn another language whenever, wherever if you set your mind to it.
CREDIT: BENKLING/ TUMBLR
It wasn’t until she started recording “Laundry Service” at age 23 that she put herself to the challenge of learning English. A private teacher hired by Emilio Estefan and Gloria Estefan herself got her on track. And now? She speaks a total of FIVE languages.
7. Age ain’t nothing but a number.
Piqué is 29, Shakira is 10 years older. It’s worked great for them for six years, and I don’t think anyone would dare call her a cougar. A smoking hot couple is what they are!
8. You can move to the other side of the world and still remember where you come from.
CREDIT: VEVO-POLSKA/ TUMBLR
Shakira splits most of her time between Miami and Barcelona. Still, she owns a home in her native Barranquilla. Plus, ever since its founding in 1997, her Pies Descalzos Foundation has provided education to thousands of children in the poorest corners of Colombia.
9. Your passion can become your career.
CREDIT: BELLYDANCE-GIFS/ TUMBLR
Shake wrote her first poem, “La rosa de cristal,” at age 4 and hasn’t stopped writing since. That same year, Shakira, who is also of Lebanese descent, heard her first doumbek, a traditional drum used across the Middle East. Her poetry was eventually turned into song lyrics, and she hasn’t stopped dancing since. She found something she loved to do and worked hard to make it into her way to a fantastic life.
10. There is always room to reinvent yourself.
CREDIT: IHEARTSHAKIRA/ TUMBLR
Shakira has been curvier, slimmer, brunette, blond, red-haired. She’s sung in Spanish, English and Arabic. She’s acted, danced and performed all over the globe! She’s managed to both stay true to herself and experiment with constant reinvention.
11. Life’s lows can give you great creative inspiration.
CREDIT: SHAKEITSHAKI/ TUMBLR
When Shakira was 2, her older half-brother died in a motorcycle accident. Moved by her father’s habit of constantly wearing sunglasses to hide his grief, she wrote her first song, “Tus gafas oscuras.” After her relationship with Oscar Ulloa ended, she wrote and recorded “Antología.” And “Moscas en la casa,” another beautiful and iconic song, was written when she realized her relationship with Osvaldo Ríos was coming to an end.
Shakira proves that pain can become art, and that some of life’s most beautiful moments can come from being open about expressing your grief.