She’s hot, she’s talented, and she’s one of the few people ever to use the word “laundry” in an album title. But what’s it really like being Shakira? As prepared to take a look at the Colombian queen, Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll sat down to talk fame, family, and the process of learning English. As the chat demonstrates, there’s much more to this young songwriter than meets the eye.
So what’s it really like being Shakira?
Shakira: Sometimes I feel that Shakira is an old woman trapped in the body of a 24-year-old girl. Sometimes I feel that there’s a baby inside me that hasn’t grown up yet. So Shakira can be a very confusing character!
Why do you think you’re like an old woman inside a young woman’s body?
Shakira: Sometimes I feel full of theories. I don’t necessarily go through the experience of something, because I’ve already decided what the results are going to be. I don’t go out too much at night. I don’t visit too many clubs. I like to go out sometimes and just observe how people behave.
Shakira has said that her personal drive comes from the fact that she never wanted to live in poverty again.
Shakira, whose father William Mebarak Chadid was declared bankrupt when she was growing up, has revealed that seeing others worse off than her family made her even more determined to succeed in her own life so that she could help others.
The 33-year-old told The Big Issue: “My dad went bankrupt when I was eight years old. I remember the day I realised that pretty much all of the comfort of our lives was gone. We had had very decent lives – two cars, my dad had a successful business and then from one day to the next we lost everything.
“He took me to the park to show me a reality much worse than ours. There were all these barefoot orphaned kids who were sniffing glue. I guess the image stuck in my head. I promised myself, ‘One day I’m going to succeed because there’s no way I’m not having a car again’.
“And I thought, ‘If I ever do it, I’m going to do something about these kids’.”
Shakira kept her promise by setting up a charity when she rose to fame at the age of 18.
She added: “When I had my first big success with Pies Descalzos, the album that made it big in Latin America when I was 18, I decided to establish my first foundation in Colombia.
“Ever since, I’ve been investing all my efforts in education, which have achieved amazing results for kids who live in poverty and conflict or kids who might have been recruited into the guerrillas or drugs cartels. Instead, they’re on their way to college. How can I not believe in this so passionately?”