ALL PHOTOS: VAN SARKI. SPECIAL THANKS: ATTIENETTE AZILLE AND ARTHUR DEMARCHELIER.
Forget pole dancing and Soul Cycle, boxing is the sport du jour. Just ask Next models Shanina Shaik, Alina Baikova, Shelby Keeton, and Myf Shepherd.
Shanina Shaik AGE: 22
HOMETOWN: Melbourne, Australia.
WAS IT FASHIONABLE?â?¨â?¨ Aussie fashion is really cool—a laid back style. I love Australian fashion.
DID YOU GROW UP READING MAGAZINES? Yes, I loved reading magazines growing up: teen mags, fashion mags, and every now and then gossip magazines.
WERE YOU ALWAYS TALL? DID THAT SET YOU APART FROM YOUR PEERS? Yes, I was always tall growing up, although my friends in high school did catch up in Year Nine. I was always in the back row for school photos and the “rebounder” in basketball. It didn’t set me apart. Didn’t make a difference.
HOW WERE YOU DISCOVERED? I entered into the Girlfriend Magazine modeling competition—the same competition that discovered Abbey Lee. I became a semi-finalist one year but nothing came of the result. Then I entered the year after that and once again became a semi-finalist. I was then signed to CHIC modeling agency.
DREAM CAMPAIGN: Tom Ford or Versace campaign
FIRST SHOOT: I began modeling when I was eight years old, but my first big shoot was when I arrived into NYC and was chosen to shoot for a hair campaign. They dyed my hair red, and I didn’t finish shooting until 12 am.
STARTED BOXING: I started boxing last year. Boxing gives me confidence in self-defense and it’s the best cardio workout. It also helps release frustration.
ARE YOU ANY GOOD? My trainer says I’m a good boxer! I think I’m becoming better in time.
Alina Baikova AGE: 26
HOMETOWN: Kirovograd, Ukraine
WAS IT FASHIONABLE?â?¨â?¨ In its own way, but fashion came really late to my city.
DID YOU GROW UP READING MAGAZINES? Not really. I didn’t even know brands like Chanel or Dior.
WERE YOU ALWAYS TALL? DID THAT SET YOU APART FROM YOUR PEERS? Yes. â?¨I was uncomfortable with my height, people mentioned it a lot and made fun of me. It was like nobody wanted to be my friend.
HOW WERE YOU DISCOVERED? After I finished high school, I went to work as a waitress to support myself and not have to ask my parents for money (my parents didn’t make much money). I met a woman who pushed me to become a model. I really didn’t want to, but will be thankful to her for the rest of my life!
DREAM CAMPAIGN: Victoria’s Secret.
FIRST SHOOT: My first shoot was a test shoot—I only really started to like photo shoots and understand the art of it recently. When I started modeling, I knew I was given a chance in life to make money, but didn’t like it in the beginning. Now I really love what I’m doing.
STARTED BOXING: I started about a year ago, my friend suggested to try as I love working out and trying new things. It’s hard and it challenges me. But as a professional sport, I think it’s one of the most dangerous.
ARE YOU ANY GOOD? I’m getting there.
Myf SheperdAGE: 22
HOMETOWN: Brisbane, Australia
WAS IT FASHIONABLE?â?¨â?¨ It’s just a different kind of fashionable. There’s a lot more fake tan and glitter…
DID YOU GROW UP READING MAGAZINES? Yes, but mostly men’s magazines!
WERE YOU ALWAYS TALL? DID THAT SET YOU APART FROM YOUR PEERS? Always! I think it made other girls scared of me. I’ve always had a lot more boy friends.
HOW WERE YOU DISCOVERED? My mother agent saw me at a market near where I grew up and told me to come to Sydney.
DREAM CAMPAIGN: Marc Jacobs. Mostly because they always look like they would be a lot of fun to shoot.
FIRST SHOOT: My first shoot for a magazine was Oyster in Sydney. I was 16 and very green. I got confused about the call time and ended up being three hours late. I cried the entire time. Apparently I met my best friend that day, but I don’t even remember because I could hardly see through all the tears in my eyes!
STARTED BOXING: Fairly recently. I was always scared of being considered a bruiser when I was growing up because I was so tall. Now I’m trying to make up for lost time and be a powerful, badass woman!
ARE YOU ANY GOOD? Not technically, but I definitely feel good when I’m doing it!
Shelby Keeton AGE: 22
HOMETOWN: Corpus Christi, Texas
WAS IT FASHIONABLE? I would not call it fashionable, all you need is your flip-flops and cowboy hats.
DID YOU GROW UP READING MAGAZINES? Yes. I would read Elle, Vogue, and National Geographic.
HOW WERE YOU DISCOVERED? I entered a modeling contest when I was 14 and won! I went to NYC that summer.
DREAM CAMPAIGN: My dream campaign and runway would have to be Chanel, because the clothes are always so beautiful and I love their classic style.
FIRST SHOOT: My first shoot was for Glamour magazine with Dewey Nicks, and we shot in Warner Brothers Studio in L.A. The story had fake rain and snow—I felt like I was in a movie. I loved every moment of it.
STARTED BOXING: About two years ago to get back into shape after having my son Hendrix. I love to box, it’s more than just a great workout— I’ve learned to throw an amazing punch, I have a couple combos that you can’t mess with. I love my boxing gym Aerospace, my trainer Leila is the sickest, I would recommend checking out her class.
ARE YOU ANY GOOD? I would like to think so. I hit pretty hard.
CHECK BACK IN SEPTEMBER FOR PART TWO.