Role models are a dangerous thing, but I’ve come to realize since Shakira’s latest album release that she might be mine.
Sure, there’s Thoreau, teachers I’ve had and many family members, but how could I resist a pop star with an IQ of 140 who doesn’t seem to care what anyone thinks about her lifestyle?
The tipping point came when I realized I don’t much care that the lyrics are pretty weak sometimes on Shakira, or that Blake Shelton’s stuttering pronunciation of “popping the pills” ruins “Medicine” for everyone.
And it’s not idolization. Trust me, I’m obsessed with Keira Knightley and nothing she says or does will ever make me stop. It’s a little creepy. Also Aaron Paul’s character on Breaking Bad has a place on a pedestal in my heart.
My feelings for Shakira are different. I enjoy listening to her turbo-pop/rock synthesis and achieving the pure insanity of her hair is a pet aspiration.
I respect that she started an education nonprofit at 19, went underground to attend college while confronting her body image issues and fulfilled her dream to have a child but never get married.
By identifying and pursuing her passions at such a young age, she was able to open so many doors for herself, and fight for her individual idea of what’s best.
Not many people can say that about the ways in which they spend their time.
So far, I think I’ve done a decent job of making my life what I want it to be, and Shakira serves as a constant reminder that I can keep doing that. I don’t need to say yes to anything lesser than a passion, and I can roll with the nos.
When she wanted to break into the English-speaking demographic, she locked herself away with her songs and a dictionary until she could make it work, and she ended up with a number one song in 55 countries: “Hips Don’t Lie.”
Let’s not forget the Shakira of Pies Descalzos, singing about being barefoot and creating late 90’s masterpieces of music videos. Just watch “Estoy Aqui” and wish you could look that good in a choker and torn jeans.
And “Loca” Shak, who didn’t wash her hair and liked playing in public fountains, like me when I was eight.
She’s unapologetic and smart about it, knows how to voice her opinions and does so with wording that’s a little offbeat, but it makes perfect sense when you sit and think for a bit. And she knows how to move.
There’s not much left on my wishlist.
(That was pretty pathetic, but I’m not going to apologize.)