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In 1967 Shakira Baksh cemented the beauty and intelligence of Guyanese women on the world stage when she won the third prize (second-runner up) in the Miss World Contest which was held in London. She was only age 19. This was an achievement that propelled residency in London, a career in modelling and acting, and the opportunity to meet her husband of almost 49 years, actor, Sir Michael Caine.
Shakira who hails from the Essequibo Coast was born on 23rd February 1947. Her mother was a seamstress. But although her aspiration to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a fashion designer did not materialise, since 1991 she has remained on the International Best Dress List.
Shakira is a jewelry designer. According to a Bernadine Morris’ New York Times (1989) story, she has “quite an extensive collection now…with 30 necklaces, 40 pairs of earrings and 20 bracelets.” Her pieces “have a bulky, heavy look, but weigh little. They are made of brass washed in gold.” Her pieces of jewelry are sold at Harrods Department stores in London; Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman-Marcus and I. Magnin in USA.
Shakira appeared in several films, some of which are:- Some Girls Do (1969), Carry On Again Doctor (1969), Tomorrow (1970), Son of Dracula (1974) and, in 1975 with her husband in the movie, The Man Who Would Be King. She was also in the science fiction television series, UFO. Her acting career was short due to her quitting to support her husband in his acting career and travels.
Reading stories on how she met her husband sounds like a romance made for television. Michael is reported saying he first saw Shakira on a television commercial for Maxwell coffee. After seeing her in the background of the ad dancing, he said he knew he had to find her and marry her.
The story goes that he was told by a friend that she lived in Brazil and was prepared to travel there to meet her, only subsequently to be told she is from Guyana and living in London. A friend gave him her telephone number and he began calling. It is allegedly he called her eleven times in a row to get a meeting with her but she turned him down each time.
Michael credits Shakira for saving his life. He was a heavy drinker and smoker and though he said Shakira did not tell him to quit these habits her presence in his life motivated him to stop. In an interview with Radio Times he said, “I fell in love with her in about eight minutes. It took her two hours to fall in love with me.”
To Shakira, “He was everything [she] didn’t expect.” She said, “I had just seen him in Get Carter and he seemed so aggressive and ruthless. Instead, I found him charming and very gentle, someone whom I’d like to spend part of my life with.”
The couple has one daughter, Natasha Haleema who was born in 1973, and two grandchildren. In 2000 her husband was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his contribution to cinema. With him being knighted Sir Michael Caine she carries the honourific title, Lady Shakira Caine (internet).