After The Sun published a piece on Galway’s Shahira Barry being sought after by none other than Hugh Hefner to pose for Playboy, her Facebook and Twitter exploded! Although these headlines may have been a tad bit misleading it’s still pushed her into the limelight featuring on posts across the internet even as far as the US, and being pursued for interviews and TV appearances on the hot topic!
I caught up with the lovely Shahira to find out the truth behind the Headlines, how she really feels about nude posing and being potentially the first ever Irish Playmate, and how Playboy appears to have a better and more positive rep than our very own Tallafornia in Irish eyes!
So Shahira, ‘Hef’ you really set your sights on Hugh?
No definitely not, lol. I think it was a really witty and funny headline that would definitely catch attention but it makes me sound like a little bit of a gold digger-like I have my mind made up to make myself Hef’s girlfriend or something which is not the case at all! I’ve had so many people saying to me “Good Luck with Hef” and I just think it’s so funny, and I hope others take it that way too! I think he usually goes for big busted blondes anyway so I might not be his cup of tea! haha
I can only imagine your friends and family’s reaction seeing that headline on the front page of The Sun this week! How did they feel about it?
My mum was the first person to tell me it was on the front of the paper. They phoned me on Wednesday to ask me a bit about it so when it wasn’t printed on Thursday I kind of thought ‘oh well I guess they’re not running it’ My mum went to work early on Friday and cycled instead of driving. She was cycling passed a local news agents when she saw the paper on a stand outside, she told me she went in and said “Oh God my daughter’s on the front of the Sun!” She had forgotten her phone so when she phoned me she rang from a number I didn’t recognise and I was awoken to “You’re on the front of the Sun-it’s dreadful!”. It was a funny first reaction because she thought it made it sound like I was determined to be Hef’s girlfriend but when she opened it up and read inside she started laughing at it and we’ve been laughing ever since really! My family really aren’t into modeling or showbiz or anything like that so I’m definitely the odd one out.
Can you tell me the real story behind what happened to get you suddenly on their radar?
It was a little bit different than what was said in the Sun because it was all due to receiving an email from the head of casting asking would I be interested in attending a casting this month in LA, I guess he’d seen my website etc. I was delighted to see that email and I wrote it on Facebook without thinking..it was just so funny because last year there was a rumor going around my home town (due to a throw away comment a friend made) that I was going to do playboy and now (having only turned 21 the other week) I had been asked to come for a casting. I haven’t had contact with Hugh Hefner directly. To be honest I doubt he even knows who I am-I’m sure he’s a very busy man with thousands of girls going for playboy all the time. It’s the head of casting at playboy that I’ve had contact with.
You posed for the cover of US Rapper The Kid K’s album ‘King Killa 2: Pay Day’ who is signed with Universal Records which is amazing as it is but did you ever expect this outcome seeing as it’s rumored that was this photo that got Sam Rhima’s attention?
I didn’t pose for the cover knowingly, I know a graphic design artist from London and we’ve been helping each other out and working together he was assigned the job of creating the cover for Da Kid K and asked could he use one of my images that was already shot by the wonderful Sean McCormack Photography. From there it was featured in the Sun that my picture was used on a US Rapper’s mixtape. The headline was “SHAHIR’We Go” – Another very witty headline. The Sun put two and two together in the new article but as far as I’m aware it wasn’t actually the cover picture that got Sam’s attention-the first I heard of that was in the new Sun article.
It must be a huge ego boost to be even considered for castings?
Yeah it definitely was, I think that’s why I posted it straight to Twitter/Facebook without even thinking about it enough. Has the reaction been mostly positive or negative so far? I’ve been shocked at how positive it’s been. A couple of weeks back I was asked to come for a screen test with Tallafornia (for various reasons I couldn’t go) I wrote a status to get a general feel of what people thought of it and if it would make or break a career-The reaction was very negative with most people saying for me definitely not to do it. So when I posted the Playboy Status that I had been asked to attend a casting-I expected the same type of reaction or at least a 50/50 response but in fact everyone who has been in touch with me has been SO positive! I think anything connected with America is just seen as huge in Ireland.
What are your personal feelings on posing nude?
The last thing I want to do is nudity. If it’s the case that I was offered the chance to pose in the magazine but they wanted me full frontal nude I wouldn’t do it. I think there is a big difference between someone who has a huge career in the public eye and is approached to pose for Playboy, getting a huge sum of money and can do it on their terms and a young girl starting her career by posing nude-I mean where would you go from there?? But I wouldn’t be against implied nude.
How would it feel being the first Irish Playmate ever if successful?
To be honest this is all so new to me, All I know about Playboy is mostly the show ‘Girls of the Playboy Mansion’ on E (and the Spin off shows like ‘Kendra’ and ‘Holly’s World’-I’m a big reality tv head so I love E and all those shows), the merchandise and brand and the man himself Hugh Hefner. As far as the magazine goes I’m unaware if all the playmates pose nude or what exactly the story is, I’ve heard that only the centerfold is nude and I also remember the Shannon Twins on Big Brother saying they only posed nude once for the center of the mag. So it would depend what exactly was expected of me but if I didn’t have to go too far or pornographic than I think being the first Irish Playmate would be an amazing opportunity for a girl from a small town in the West Coast of Ireland!
LA is quite the distance to go! Will you be doing anything else whilst over there other than touring the mansion?
The casting I was asked to attend is on the 19th of this month-It’s just impossible for me to get there as it’s half way across the world but I’m trying to arrange for me to go in July and spend a significant amount of time there where I can do a lot more and get a lot more done. I have a couple of great connections in Los Angeles (that I’ve made for myself-not relatives or anything, just friends) So when I’m there I hope to meet up with them and put the feelers out in LA.
How would you feel about being a Playboy if you were unsuccessful at becoming a Playmate if Hef or his entourage requested?
I don’t know what a playboy is in comparison to a playmate but if you mean Hef’s Girlfriend then no, I’m not fully aware of what being the girlfriend to the playboy entails! If it meant sleeping with him than no way-I believe in monogamy for my own relationships (what someone else does is their own business) but I would never be with a guy that age-far too old for me! If you mean a playboy bunny than yeah I think that would be fun-the outfit is so cute!!
With Playboy being associated with such raunchy spreads has the mere mention of it possibly affected your potential future career in Primary School Teaching?
It possibly has but I would imagine it was already affected due to my Facebook page and lingerie modeling. However I have had loads of friends who have left college and haven’t been able to get a job teaching so I don’t think I’m missing out on much. Teaching isn’t where my dreams lie so I wouldn’t be prepared to give up modeling altogether in order to teach, I just wouldn’t be happy.
What would you be willing to throw down that chalk and step away from the blackboard for?
For a full time career in modeling or performing arts-singing, dancing and acting.
Either way The Sun’s article has given you some great exposure, whats next for Shahira Barry other than potentially posing tastefully for the infamous magazine!
My Facebook Like page has gone crazy since Friday-going up 1,000 Likes! And my friend requests are full on my private page. I have had TV and radio in contact with me and I was interviewed on Galway Bay Fm so if nothing else I guess my name is really out there at the moment and I hope that will bring more modeling jobs and opportunities even here in Ireland. However I am eager to not just model but to do more in terms of singing, dancing and acting. I love to rap also-not really my own raps but I’m a massive hip-hop head so I’m always singing and rapping my little heart out (I used to be afraid to say that, I’m white and from Galway which is not connected with rapping at all but I was brought up on hip-hop and I love it! Now that I’m older I’m not scared of what people might think of me, I know it’s not the norm for models).
There is such a gap in the Glamour Modeling section especially seeing as so many models are leaving Ireland is this something you would consider to coincide with the reputation Playboy has?
I’m just doing my own thing and hoping I can keep doing more of it. I don’t see myself as being in competition with anyone else. I think you would go crazy if you lived your life like that. I don’t do the “going out/be seen in the right places” model scene in Dublin much but I love modeling and definitely want to do loads more of it!
Whats your favourite part of modeling?
Photoshoots! I’m not a catwalk model, I’ve done some catwalk work but I wouldn’t be considered very tall or anything so I stick to the photoshoot side of things. I love how when your in front of the camera and modeling all your worries are left to the side and all you care about is getting that good shot. You live in the moment and it’s strangely therapeutic.
Have you a specific beauty routine prior to a photoshoot you can tell us about?
The day before the shoot is all about tanning and nails for me-exfoliating well and putting tan on if I’m not getting it done (I love the Irish brand Karora). If it’s a big shoot I’ll get my nails done if not I often use the Better Than Gel Nails by Essence they are cheap and brilliant! I don’t have a specific routine really, Sometimes I whiten my teeth the night before and make sure my hair is clean but I don’t wash my hair the day of a shoot-That way it has more natural volume.
What advice would you give to future aspiring models to achieve such things as you have early in their modeling career?
You need a tough skin to do modeling-it comes with some insults and put downs but if your able to forget about them and keep fighting and believing in yourself then your half way there! Just keep pushing and focus on yourself not on anybody else. We are so lucky we have sites like Facebook and Twitter-I know they can be a curse and a blessing but they are SO good for networking and getting to know people who can help you out and visa versa! Just be nice to the people you work with and stay grounded
Thank’s so much to Shahira for taking time out of her demanding schedule for this interview! Such a well grounded, humble and honest girl! Follow her on Twitter, Like her Facebook and read her Blog to keep up to date on her Playboy journey and other exciting antics! Just today she tweeted pictures of herself with Xpose’s Karen Koster and then with Britain’s Got Talent’s Irish sensation Ryan O’ Shaughnessy!