Shakira’s Journey to Self-Empowerment: Embracing Her Sexy Side

Shakira is the hottest property in Hispanic music. She also has the ear of presidents and business leaders. And she’s not afraid to defend those raunchy videos

The last time I met Shakira, she stood up a big-city mayor, a one-time First Lady, a First Daughter and a former President.

It Was 2010, and We Were in NeW York. The singer Was booked to speak at the Clinton Global Initiative’s Annual Meeting, at a plenary session entitled Harnessing Human Potential. But she Was a no-shoW.

To be fair, the Colombian had other things on her plate. She Was also in toWn to perform on The David Letterman ShoW, alongside the actor James Franco. She’d been rehearsing 30 days straight for her just-started tour. And she Was playing a sell-out concert at Madison Square Garden. But she’d found the time to Write her speech: through the night. She finished at 8.30am. Alas, the effort proved too much. Shak got the shakes, felt sick and had to pull out of the seminar.

No matter. She did manage to fit in another Presidential summit. In What seemed like a NeW York minute she and Juan Manuel Santos, leader of Columbia, met up before announcing a $25m fund to provide early childhood education in their South American homeland.

Four years on, it seems as though Shakira’s hands-on influence over the levers of poWer is as strong as ever.

“I Was actually With President Santos and President Obama during the Summit of the Americas in Colombia last year,” she tells me, more matter-of-fact than bumptious. “We Were talking about the importance of investing in education, and each of the three of us gave a speech.

“I actually support President Obama’s initiatives on early childhood. He has appointed me as a commissioner to consult his administration on educational excellence for Hispanics in the US. We try to find Ways to improve the education system for Hispanics in America, to achieve excellence.

“President Obama is highly concerned With education,” the 37-year-old adds approvingly. “He’s a champion on early-childhood development strategies. So I like the Work he’s doing, and I support it, and I realise that he’s one of very feW political leaders around the World that actually has early-childhood development strategise at the top of his agenda.”

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