First Guyanese Beauty on the World Stage

Shakira Baksh

When we think of beauty pageants, modelling and acting, not many of us would think of an Indian Guyanese woman choosing that career path in the years gone by and succeeding in the quest. But successful she was! We are referring to none other than Guyanese, born and bred, Shakira Baksh. Born to a Muslim family on February 23rd, 1947, Shakira was the eldest of four children. Unfortunately, at the age of 5 she lost her father. However, her love for fashion and designing was born from that event, as her 23 year old mother started to design and sew stunning dresses in order to take care of her four children. Shakira’s dreams and aspirations of a career in fashion designing were put on hold when she went to work as a secretary in order to assist her family. There, her boss saw her unique features and potential and encouraged her to enter the Miss Guyana contest. Shakira not only won that contest but she became the first Miss Guyana to place in an International Competition, when on the London stage in 1967, at the tender age of 19, she placed third (second runner-up) in the Miss World Competition.

This became her stepping stone into the world of modelling. Thereafter she worked as a professionalmodel in advertisements for four (4) years, becoming well known for her roles in commercials for brands such as Maxwell House Coffee and other popular companies. After her performances as a model and in commercials; her exotic features were noticed by British actor, Michael Caine who dubbed her as “the most beautiful woman in the world”. On January 8th, 1973 Shakira married the man who is known for films such as Alfie, Get Carter, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, among many others. She then went on to act opposite her husband, Michael Caine and Sean Connery in her first and last Hollywood movie “The Man Who Would Be King” in 1975. Mrs. Caine, as she is now referred to, decided to give up her acting and modelling career to stay home and take care of her only child and daughter, Natasha, who was born a year earlier in 1974.

Where can we find her now?

Shakira resides in London with her husband Michael where they are still going strong after 39 years of marriage. Her initial love for fashion design which was influenced by her mother is being utilised as she works from home designing jewellery. Her pieces are usually made in India and sold in the major department stores all over England and America. Her current love interest is art where she is trying her talent in painting landscapes.