16 Interesting Shakira Facts: Her Real Name, Mixed Heritage, and More

shakira on stage singing facts about shakira
Image from shutterstock.

Shakira is best known as the Colombian-born singer, songwriter, and dancer who dominated both the Latino and English-language music industries. As one of the most influential musicians of all time, Shakira is known for her ability to create songs that make you want to dance.

Are you wondering about some of the more interesting facts about Shakira? Keep reading to learn more.

How Tall is Shakira?

shakira on stage in a gold and black outfit
Image of Shakira from Shutterstock.

Shakira, who is most known for her songs, “Hips Don’t Lie” and “Whenever, Wherever,” stands at only about 5 feet 2 inches tall.

What is Shakira’s Full Name?

shakira with her hand on her hip on the red carpet
Image from shutterstock.

Known on stage as only Shakira, this music superstar was born as Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll on February 2, 1977, in Barranquilla, Colombia. When she began performing professionally, she dropped the rest of her name and became known as only Shakira. 

Shakira Speaks Several Languages

The word hola lit up agains a brick back drop
Image by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Although Shakira only learned to speak English when she chose to cross over to the English-speaking world, she is fluent in several languages. She of course speaks Spanish and English, but also Portuguese, and can converse in both French and Italian. It has also been said that she speaks some Arabic.

Her Career Began at the Age of 10

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Image from Shutterstock.

Most people know that Shakira got her first record deal with Sony Music Colombia at 13. But did you know that she began belly dancing and singing in various competitions when she was only 10?

She Saw Tragedy at a Young Age

songs about death a pot with in loving memory on it with flowers in it
Image by Sandy Millar on Unsplash.

Even someone as famous as Shakira is not spared from the tragedies of life. She experienced her first tragedy at the age of two when one of her brothers was killed by a drunk driver.

Shakira Does Not Stick with Just One Genre

shakira off stage with her hair up
Image from shutterstock.

Having started in the Latino music genre, Shakira always dreamed of being able to cross over to other areas. She has accomplished this ten-fold, having started with a rock sound before crossing over not just to the English language market but also to a more pop sound. She also has included her Lebanese heritage in many of her songs.

Related: The 15 Best Female Pop Singers of All Time

She has a Mixed Heritage

image of the colombian flag on a building against the blue sky
Image by Flavia Carpio on Unsplash.

Shakira has a rich heritage. With a Colombian mother with some Italian ancestry and a Lebanese father, she draws from a mix of backgrounds that often influences her music.

Her Significant Other is Also Famous

shakira and her husband gerald pique
Image from shutterstock.

While not married, Shakira and her long-time boyfriend Gerard Pique have one thing in common: they are both famous. Shakira is most known for her musical success and her significant other is a world-famous soccer player.

Shakira is Also a Philanthropist

the hallway of a school in colombia
Image by Kyo Azuma on Unsplash.

This legendary superstar has made it well-known from the beginning of her successful career that giving back is important to her. She has given quite a bit of money and time to help build schools in Colombia. She even founded the Pies Descalzos Foundation in 1997 to help raise funds and awareness for school children across the country.

Shakira is One of Nine Children

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Even though Shakira is the only child of her mother, she is the youngest of nine other children from her father. 

Related: 19 Famous Singers Who Are Catholic

She Had Help from Learning English from Another Famous Musician

gloria estefan singing on stage
Image from Shutterstock.

As Shakira began working to make the transition from the Latino music industry to English, she had a little help along the way. Music legend Gloria Estefan stepped in to help Shakira translate her music from Spanish to English.

There is a Statue of Shakira in Colombia

overlook view of baranquilla colombia
Barranquilla, Colombia, Image by Dawn Rizzo on Unsplash.

If you didn’t already know how much Shakira means to her home country, all you have to do is take a trip to her hometown of Barranquilla. Here you will find a statue that stands about 16 feet tall of the music icon.

She Learned to Bellydance from Her Grandmother

shakira by her star on the hollywood walk of fame
Image from shutterstock.

Clearly, Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie,” as she is often found shaking them in many of her songs. She inherited her talent naturally, as it was her grandmother who first taught her to belly dance.

Shakira Performs Mostly Barefoot

shakira belly dancing on stage
Image from Shutterstock.

If you have ever seen Shakira perform live, then you may have noticed that the musician does not often wear shoes. She has stated that she can move more naturally when she is not wearing shoes, so she chooses to perform barefoot.

She Once Lost Her Voice

shakira on stage singing facts about shakira
Image from Shutterstock.

The legendary musician has become well known for her amazing voice and unique belly dancing moves on stage. But did you know that in 2017 she suffered from a hemorrhage in her vocal cords that left her unable to speak for a short period? Luckily for the world, her voice came back.

Shakira is the Mother of Two Boys

shakira's two sons with their father gerald pique
Image from shutterstock.

Although wildly successful in the music industry, Shakira considers being a mother as her most successful endeavor. She and her boyfriend, Gerard Pique, have two sons, Milan and Sasha.

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Written by Hope Davis

Long-time music lover Hope became a full-time writer in 2020 after being laid off from her regular job due to COVID-19. She now spends her time traveling the world to see her favorite bands while writing about them!


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