Her mother is of Lithuanian heritage and her father has Pakistani and Saudi Arabian roots. Shanina began modeling when she was only eight years old with appearances in catalogues for Target and K-Mart. She stopped modeling when she began high school, eventually graduating a year before her peers.
At the age of fifteen she entered the Girlfriend Model Competition. Unfortunately, agents deemed her too young. Instead, Shanina Shaik ended up participating on the Australian reality show Make Me A Supermodel and finished as a runner-up.
Shanina Shaik told nymag.com, I do believe that models should be older now. You tell girls to go and catwalk and be sexy, but some of these girls have never even experienced their first kiss, so they dont understand how to be like that. And they grow up a lot faster, too. Theyre not even enjoying it, or doing their schoolwork first.
Shanina Shaik doesnt like to talk about her experience on a reality show: I dont talk about it with jobs because its not really relevant. It helped me in it helped me show that I can model...[but] being on the show, it came to a point where it wasnt about modeling anymore; it was about the drama.
(It was on Make Me A Supermodel that model Tyson Beckford met her; he claims afterwards that he mentored her. NY Mag reported his comments: I helped place her with the right people, get her teeth cleaned, her body toned up. Everything changed and now everyone wants a piece of her. I hear people say, You can do better than Tyson. Im like, Really? Really?! I created her! To which, Shanina replied, I did not take his comments seriously. He has always supported me. But he did not make me. My mother made me. He also told VH1 about their sex life: We've been known to be in the garage, in the kitchen, in the washroom. It don't matter. On a motorcycle will do because she also has a Victorias Secret maid outfit, so she cleans up.)
Shaninas career is ascending with catalogue appearances for Macys, Urban Outfitters, Bauhaus, Alloy, Avon, Intermix, Free People, among many others. She has walked the runway for designers such as Yeohlee, Abaete, Mara Hoffman, Lorick, Rich Rich, Bebe, Iodice and others. Magazine appearances include Seventeen, Mens Health, Orlando Style, Zink Magazine and more.
But her big break came in 2011 when she walked in the Victorias Secret Fashion Show.
Shanina Shaik has said if she were not a model, she would study child psychology. She lives in New York City.