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"It's not my hobby to show my belly"

By Zena Burns

tells Teen People why her navel's going into hiding and explains her beef with cosmetic surgery


Shakira may be comfortable gyrating in various stages of undress onstage and in her videos, but she suddenly becomes modest when shooting her TEEN PEOPLE cover. On a gorgeous California day, it's time to do her first bikini shoot, and she's rifling through racks of cover-ups, trying to find one that won't leave her infamous belly - arguably the most talked-about tummy since Britney Spears's - totally exposed.

Shakira is a woman in control of her image and just about everything else. Over the course of the six-hour shoot, the native of Barranquilla, Colombia, born Shakira Mebarak Ripoll, will be photographed in five outfits - doing her own makeup for each shot. In between, she'll make and take several business calls, all conducted in her native Spanish (this reporter, who made the mistake of taking French in high school, picked up only the words for "shoes" and "cold" during the rapid-fire discussions), as well as edit the video (which she codirected, natch) for her demure Spanish-language track "Dia de Enero". "If I ever want to quit music," says Shakira, who writes and produces all of her songs, "I could have three alternate careers."

Not that she's quitting music anytime soon. This summmer, the 29-year-old singer will be on tour promoting Oral Fixation Vol. 2, her first English-language album since her U.S. debut, 2001's Laundry Service, which spawned megahits like "Whenever, Wherever" and "Underneath Your Clothes."

The trek is bound to be a hot ticket: Although practically every Shakira article you read in American magazines mentions that she's an A-list goddess all over the Latin world, she's such a big star here that even her Spanish-language releases enjoy enviable sales. Fueling the Fixation fire: Shaki, as friends call her, is climbing the charts with the single "Hips Don't Lie," her world-music-tinged collaboration with Wyclef Jean. As you might expect, the video prominently features her midsection as she does her signature belly dances.

But there will not be much gazing at Shakira's navel today. Back at the shoot, she throws a pink cover-up over the bikini before hitting the beach to pose (see that shot, which almost made the cover, on page 10). She would have looked gorgeous wearing a bikini made of Hefry bags, but as she reveals to TEEN PEOPLE after the shoot, even the most confident stars aren't free from insecurities.

TEEN PEOPLE: You're the last person I'd think would be uncomfortable shooting in a bikini.

SHAKIRA: It's not my hobby to show my belly! The moves I do when i perform require it. People of America, I want you to know that I wear clothes once in a while! I'm actually shy; I've just learned how to hide it. As a teenager, I wasn't the most self-confident person. But I've loosened up. There's no better makeup than self-confidence.

TP Do you still have body-image issues?

SHAKIRA Yeah. I can't wait for the time when curves will be back in style and little fat bellies will be sexy again.

See, technology has brought us many [good things], but also problems. Beauty is subject to its magical touch-ups. What we see on magazine covers as the model of beauty isn't real. I think that's very damaging. Celebrities feel this pressure too. A few years ago, I considered [cosmetic] surgery.

TP What kind?

SHAKIRA Breast augmentation and all kinds of things. "Maybe my eyebrows should be higher. Maybe my lips should be bigger." It was making me really bitter. I'd think, "I'm not gonna look good for my fans!" But [eventually,] I said, "Forget it." I started accepting myself the way I am and [realized that] I'm not perfect. My fans will like me as long as I keep writing good songs for them. That's the important thing.

TP Speaking of good songs, you're one of the rare women who is in control of her music.

SHAKIRA But still, I'm surrounded by men in the studio! It's odd- women are very creative, yet it's difficult to find female energy, like drummers or engineers. And when I'm with men in the studio, they don't like a woman telling them what to do, no matter how famous you are. Even the guys who love their mother.

TP So how do you do it?

SHAKIRA It's a big secret please don't publish it! [Editor's Note: Sorry, Shaki!] You have to let them believe that they came up with the idea. I love, in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, when the mother says to the daughter that the man is the head of the household but the woman is the neck, and she can turn the head whenever she wants to.

TP What does your mother, Nidia, do for a living?

SHAKIRA She was a jeweler until she became a housewife. My dad [William] was a jeweler too, but their businesses went bankrupt when I was eight years old.

IP Did you understand what was going on?

SHAKIRA At first, I didn't. My dad sent my mom and me to live with her friend in Los Angeles for three months while

"Computers are doing a great job of [making] the normal population think that you have to look like celebrities to be valued," Shakira says of photo retouching.

he made some adjustments. When I came back from L.A., I had the unpleasant surprise of noticing that our big colorTV had been replaced by a small black-and-white one, and my large, ornate bed had become a smaller, more simple one. My dad sold the air-conditioning too'and it's hot in Barranquilla!
I was so upset. So my parents took me to the park to see the orphans who were sniffing glue to survive their hunger, and they said, "See, there are people who are going through worse situations than you". It had such an impact on me that I promised myself that if I ever succeeded, I would do something about those kids. [Shakira is a Unicef goodwill ambassador, and her Pies Descalzos foundation has built schools for more than 3000 needy Colombian children.]

TP That wasn't the only hardship your family suffered; when you were two, your older brother was killed by a drunk driver while riding a motorcycle.

SHAKIRA [Drunk driving] is tremendously irresponsible. I wouldn't get into a car with someone who was even slightly drunk, and I wouldn't let any of my friends.

TP It's not a good choice to make.

SHAKIRA Joel [Madden] from Good Charlotte once said to me, "Life is a series of choices." That really left an impression on me. Why do we complain about things we can change? You have the power to change your life!



ME GUSTAS (may GOOS-tas): what you say when you feel affection to someone
TE QUlERO (tay key-AIR-oh): what you say when you're sort of in love
TE AMO (tay AH-mo): what you say when you're head over heels in love (This is the thing that you say only to the person you want to get a ring from! Shakira says)

SPECIAL BONUS PET NAME! MI PRINCIPE AZUL (me PRIN-see-pay ah-SOOL): Prince Charming: the guy you really love (The literal translation is "my blue prince". Shakira says "Because princes usually dress in blue in fairy tales.")


"Artists sometimes get convinced that we always have to be protected and put in a human shell by [bodyguards]. It's not necessary! It's not important! I'm trying to simplify my life."

When the singer is relaxing on the beach or by the pool, she likes to listen to these new-wave classics from the 80s and early 90s:

A Forest - the Cure
The Lovecats - the Cure
Enjoy the Silence - Depeche Mode
World in my Eyes - Depeche Mode
Blue Monday - New Order
Bizarre Love Triangle - New Order
Tainted Love - Soft Cell

Whats the rush?
The younger you are, the more impulsive you tend to be." Shakira says, "I've learned to say those magic words: "Let me think about it" That gives you time to digest information and make smart decisions".

OCR by Gato Negro

This article has been posted by: xxjohnxx
Posted at 11/17/2007. Original article can be found here.

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