I’m gonna be honest, when I decided to write about Shakira for her 36th birthday today, I thought she seemed pretty cool, but I didn’t know that much about her. We all know her music is catchy. Personally, I love “La Tortura” and “She Wolf” for working out. We all know she has crazy belly dancing moves. And the body for them that no amount of working out to “La Tortura” and “She Wolf” will ever give me. Maybe you even know that she’s short: 5’2″ to be exact. But the stuff that I didn’t know about her what was surprised me. Shakira is awesome, y’all. From extensive philanthropy to a freakin’ huge statue of her in her hometown, here’s ten facts you didn’t know about Shakira:
1. Her full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll. She used this to her advantage when she attended a summer course on the History of Western Civilization at UCLA in 2007. She enrolled under the name Isabel Mebarak and said she was visiting from Colombia so she wouldn’t be recognized as a celebrity.
2. “Don’t Bother” (ha, get it?!) giving her gifts for her newborn son, Milan Piqué Mebarak. Shakira and boyfriend Gerard Piqué signed up for a “World Baby Shower” in connection with UNICEF, an organization for which she is a Goodwill Ambassador. “Guests” can visit a baby shower website and donate money or buy items like vaccines, therapeutic food, or mosquito netting that will benefit babies in need all around the world.
3. Speaking of her new child, like his father, Milan became a member of Football Club Barcelona AT BIRTH. He was registered by his great-grandfather, former club director Amador Bernabeu. Football (soccer football, not football football) is awesome in this way. It’s like some royalty shit.
4. Shakira’s debut album, Magia, was released (in Columbia only) in 1991. She was 13!The album had this amazingly 1991-looking cover:
5. She tried to be in her elementary school choir, but the music teacher said she sounded like a goat. If you’ve heard one criticism of Shakira’s voice or joke making fun of her, it’s that her voice is goat-like. Well, I’m sure she was already over it once those jokes came out, because her teacher already told her that AS A CHILD. Who does that?!
6. She learned to belly dance by trying to flip a coin with her belly. When I read that the first time I imaged how that would feel and did a couple weird little stomach thrusts too. It’s okay.
7. She started a charity in 1997 when she was 18. For reference, that’s four years before any of us Americans ever heard “Whenever, Wherever.” It’s called the Pies Descalzos Foundation (Barefoot Foundation, in English) and its purpose is helping Colombian children get a quality education. Pies Descalzos currrently has five schools open in Columbia where over 4,000 children get access to education and food.
8. There is a giant statue of her in her hometown of Barranquilla, Colombia. It weighs six tons, is fifteen feet tall, and looks like this:
9. “Hips Don’t Lie” was crazy popular. It reached the number one spot on the music charts in over 25 countries, had the most radio plays in a single week by any song ever in the US, and was the best-selling song of the decade in the 2000′s.
10. She has the same birthday as her boyfriend. Today is Gerard Piqué’s birthday too! So happy birthday Gerard and Shakira!
(Lead Image: PacificCoastNews.com)