Beautiful Shakira; Georgia’s Pride

Shakira: “The revenue would be used to subsidize health insurance for children and some adults with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford insurance on their own.�

Our Model Of The Day

Where She’s From: Beautiful Pisces, Shakira Ballard, was born in Athens, Georgia also known as the “Classic City.”

Shakira was raised in the small town of Concord, N.C., where she learned valuable life lessons and formed strong religious ties—the town was so small that she couldn’t even skip church without her school teacher asking her about it Monday.

“The most important thing I’ve learned from my mom was to never settle for what was handed to me,” she tells The Black Star News. “The area where I was born at in Athens was very rough and I would always see gang activity and even drug deals. My mother always told me that I was more than that and could accomplish so much more. I believed her, therefore I made it this far.”

She also solidified her faith in God through affirming lessons from her cousin, the Oakland Raiders’ Quent Moses.

Where She’s At: Shakira graduated from Cedar Shoals High School with honors in 2002 and began her modeling career in 2003. “I started out promoting parties and working with some of the clubs in the Buckhead area of Atlanta,” she says.

“In the short four years that I’ve been pursuing this, I’ve grabbed several internet features, calendar pages, and currently gracing the pages of Sweets magazine along with the likes of Deelishis and Miss April Arrington. I am truly blessed and grateful to God for all of my success in this business.”

“I know that some of the people I work for will chastise me for saying this, but I believe I’m at the amateur stage of my modeling career,” says the confident young lady, who knows she’s going far in this world.

“I mean, there’s yet so much to learn. I’m stepping into an industry that expects so much out of females and I’m so eager to gain all that I can. I am a professional in what I do, however, and I take every opportunity to shine very seriously. I am just grateful for some of the models before me who take the time out to give me advice and constructive criticism. As my photographer would say, ‘I’m the baby in this thing. But I’m still the one calling all the shots.’”

“Since I am currently enrolled as a Senior in college, there isn’t but so much I can grasp,” Shakira says, of her thriving modeling career. “I aspire to grace the pages of some men’s magazines and also have roles in some music videos. It’s hard to say where I see it going because to be honest, I didn’t see it start. Everything took off so fast.”

Hats off to Shakira; she knows that given her talent, there will be much for her to accomplish in the industry—she wants to make sure she completes her school work this year.

She’s in the nursing program at a South Carolina university and has a GPA of 3.4; she’s an active charter member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

“A lot of the challenges I have now are my location and my school schedule. It was easier to do castings and photo shoots when I was living in Atlanta because that’s where all the happenings are. But now that I’m away in school it’s hard for me to make a lot of events that my agency books for me,” she confides to The Black Star. “So I am usually in a lot of trouble. Anyone I work with knows how important this last year in school is for me and they are very supportive.”

She also keeps the lines of communications open to ease things.
Shakira was featured in the premiere 2006 HBCU calendar by Esthetique modeling. “It meant a lot to me to be among other beautiful Black women who were also studying at schools which held such history for our people,” she adds.

“Another project that I was proud to be a part of was being in Sweets magazine. This magazine, owned by F.E.D.S. magazine, was one of the first that featured Buffy the Body as the cover girl. This meant a lot to me because Buffy and I are both from Athens and I’m proud to be able to represent my hometown well.”

“The hip hop industry is an extreme market for the exposure of Black women in both positive and negative demeanors,” Shakira explains, when asked about the importance of brains and looks. “It is important to be knowledgeable and act as a classy and respectful person because that’s the only way others will respect you. Education is important. Like my grandmother always says, ‘it’s the only thing that no one can take away from you.’”

So how does this Atlanta beauty prepare to step out?

“Lotions that I love are from Bath and Body Works and are: Sensual Amber, Warm Vanilla Sugar, and Midnight Pomegranate. All of these are softer scents that are still attention grabbing and I get a lot of compliments on them,” Shakira says. “Makeup is definitely by Mac. My powder is Studio Fix which is translucent, featherweight, ultra-fine, and sublimely silky. It provides a sheer, micro-fine finish that mattes the skin but keeps its natural glow making the skin look almost naked.”

“Perfume: Victoria’s Secret and the scent is Dream Angels Heavenly,” she continues. “It is a soft, creamy, smooth blend of white peony and white musk. A friend bought it for me as a gift once and I’m addicted. Clothing: I’m now a huge Ed Hardy fan. This line is by Christian Audigier which includes pieces inspired by vintage tattoo artwork. I’m still a natural Apple Bottom fan because they are the only jeans that truly fit. Shoes are usually by Steve Madden, 9 West, or Air Force, when I’m feeling hood-like.”

Shakira’s Words Of Wisdom: “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. This quote, from the book Called to Conquer  by my pastor Bishop Eddie L. Long means so much to me. I think that it is extremely important for people to be able to bow down and humble themselves before God.”

Shakira’s Secrets Of Success: “I’m always willing to learn new things. I’m humble and receptive of good advice. I’m cocky at times and maybe even overly confident, but I know and respect whole-hearted people. I think this is the reason that once people meet and converse with me, they never forget me.”

Shakira’s Favorite Three Movies: “The Color Purple, The Pursuit of Happyness, and Shrek 2.”
Shakira’s Favorite Three Books:  “Called to Conquer, by Bishop Eddie L. Long; Woman Thou Art Loosed, by Bishop T.D. Jakes; and, The Measure of a Man, by Sydney Poitier.”
Three Leaders That Have Most Inspired Shakira: “Jesus would be my first and most influential inspiration. The Book of Revelation portrays Christ as a formidable judge, but also as a meek lamb. These are both qualities I some day which to obtain; Oprah Winfrey. Her accomplishments as a global media leader and philanthropist have established her as one of the most respected and admired public figures today; and, Vivian Malone Jones. She was the first African American to graduate from the University of Alabama.”
The First Three Things Shakira Would Do As President: “First of all, I would respond to the heightened threat of terrorist attack in America. A new U.S. intelligence assessment released to Congress said that al-Qaida is stepping up its efforts to sneak terrorist operatives into the United States and has acquired most of the capabilities it needs to strike here. My response would be, al-Qaida is not the organization it was before 9/11, and they have a weakened force. I would focus more on protecting the people of America, since it is obvious that terrorist attacks are directed toward us and not to their own homeland. That wasn’t hard to figure out; and, third, I would pass a recent bill that was presented to Congress that would impose a 61-cent increase in the federal excise tax on a pack of cigarettes. The revenue would be used to subsidize health insurance for children and some adults with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford insurance on their own. As you probably already guessed, our current President vetoed this bill. I don’t know. Maybe I should’ve gone into politics.”

Some Of Shakira’s Favorite Cars: “First is the 2007 BMW 750i Sedan because it is the most appealing premium luxury car. My second favorite is the 2008 Mercedes E550 Sedan because it strikes the perfect balance of performance and luxury plus it has a 5.5L 32-valve V-8 engine that I just can’t wait to feel under the hood.”

Shakira’s Favorite Musicians: “Keyshia Cole’s song ‘Let It Go’ is my favorite right now because it gives the story line  of a relationship I recently came out of. It is so true; Young Jeezy/Blood Raw/Slick Pulla USDA and their song ‘White Girl’ because it shows love to all the D-boys still on the block; Kanye West’s song ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothing’ because this is truly how I feel sometimes; J. Holliday’s song ‘Put You To Bed’ is self-explanatory; and, Ne-Yo’s song ‘Do You’ because I know how it feels to wonder if your ex is thinking of you and sometimes it’s hard to move on.”

A Short Shakira Story: “A funny story about when I came to SC to attend school. I left my apartment in Atlanta and put everything in my car the first day of school. When I got here I was told that my dorm room assignment had been dropped because I wasn’t registered full time. So, I went and added some classes so that maybe I could get my room back. Well when I added the classes I ended up not having enough financial aid to pay for it. I was told that there was no more aid they could offer me and that the only person I could speak with was the financial aid office manager and she didn’t even take appointments from students. They told me to leave the office. I reluctantly sat outside this lady’s office door for two hours. When she came out she asked, ‘Who sent you here?’ I answered, ‘God, and he told me to put everything in my car because I can’t go back home. I have to finish school.’ She smiled a little and invited me in her office. I can’t tell how I came up with the finances because that’s top secret, but let’s just say I’m still at school. So believe me when I tell you God is real and dreams really do come true.”

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