The “World’s Hottest Marine” claims that she used to think she was a boy, and that her new life as a model is just as hard as military service.
Minnesota Marine veteran Shannon Ihrke recently participated in a military-themed photoshoot for an upcoming calendar.
“Everyone that did the calendar was in the military, which is cool because I’ve done calendars where all the girls are dressed like they’re in the military but not all of them are,” Ihrke said. “We all knew how to hold a gun, we all knew how to walk strategically and tactfully move, so that was cool.”
According to Inside Edition, Ihrke spent four years in the Marines before realizing she was model material.
“For the first 10 years of my life, I thought I was a boy,” she said. “Then I remember getting my pictures back from my first photo shoot and being like, ‘Look at this, I actually look like a girl.’”
Now, Ihrke lives in Chicago, where she takes modeling jobs on a regular basis.
“I went from feeling like a guy every single day… to having my hair done and my makeup done and my nails done,” she said. “I loved it. I was like, ‘Oh, I do still have this girly side to me.’”
The modeling world is far less forgiving in her opinion, as there is little room to actually prove one’s self.
“In the Marine Corps, if someone tells you ‘no,’ you can prove them wrong,’” she said. “In the modeling world, if someone tells you ‘no,’ there’s nothing you can do. You’re not it.’”
Still, Ihrke proved herself in the Marines, and now knows what she’s capable of.
“You walk in with a target on your back. People are looking at you, like, ‘Can she keep up?’” Ihrke said. “As a female, you have to work twice as hard to be as good as them and you have to work three times as hard to be better.”
Now pregnant, Ihrke is taking a hiatus from heavy modeling and has returned to her rural roots, which includes working with horses.
“It’s just been a real mix of the two sides,” she said. “Now with horses, it’s like I’m out there getting dirty, I smell like barn but I still like to get my makeup done and do photo shoots.”
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