In her first feature since the couple announced their split in June, the famously private Russian model, 33, never speaks about the relationship. Instead, she opens up about how important it is for her to be her authentic self with 2-year-old Lea de Seine, the daughter she and Cooper, 44, share.
“You have to be really truly yourself for your kids, otherwise you're living in a lie. Tell me one reason why, just because you're a mother, that you need to wear a longer skirt. No! I don't believe in that," she shared.
Being a great mom means making time to do the things you love, said the model.
"Why should you have to change who you are and how you feel just because you become a mother?" she added. "I really believe if you love something, you can prioritize your time. (Motherhood) is just an addition to your life.”
In her native Russia, Shayk grew up watching mothers juggle a lot.
"Women are the ones who can handle everything. Woman can raise the kids, women can do the job, and when she's back, she can cook and clean and do the heavy work too!" she shared.
"We never had men around. You have to learn how to put a nail in the wall, how to hang the curtains. I know everything about how to plant potatoes and cucumbers because in Russia, it’s how you survive the winter," she added.
Though she and Cooper never wed, Shayk said the idea of walking down the aisle appeals to her.
“Do I believe in marriage?" she said. "Yes, of course. I'm not the kind of person who is against it."
As for the public's obsession with her private life, Shayk understands it.
"I think it's just human beings: if you cannot have it, you want to have it," she said. "There's a curtain there, you want to open the curtain. It's curiosity, I guess."