Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Shakira Changed Name And Wore Disguise For UCLA Class
How did Shakira manage to take a summer history class at UCLA in 2007 and not make headlines until after the course was over?
The Colombian-bred international pop star revealed her successful game plan in a recent interview with the UK's The Guardian.
"I used to wear a cap and a big backpack," Shakira explained. "I looked like a boy. I didn't get recognized."
When onlookers got suspicious and inquired whether or not she was the "Hips Don't Lie" singer, she told them that her name was Isabel, which is actually one of her middle names.
Her simple plan worked. Professor Robert Cleve, who taught the Introduction to Western Civilization: Ancient Civilizations from Prehistory to Circa A.D. 843 class, had no idea "Isabel" was actually a pop star.
"She told me she was visiting from Colombia and that she was just doing this for her own enlightenment and enjoyment," Cleve told the Associated Press in 2007. "She looked like just an ordinary student. She wasn't flamboyant...she didn't act like a big celebrity or anything."
The singer, whose song "She Wolf" is No. 31 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, sat near the front of the class and regularly stayed afterwards to ask questions, Cleve added. "I was really impressed with how intelligent she was," he said.
Shakira decided to take the class after wrapping the tour for her album, "Oral Fixation."
When most celebs need a break from the business, they typically take a real vacation. They travel to a remote destination, relax, and clear their minds.
But Shakira said challenging her mind instead was the ideal getaway after the tour.
"It was such a long tour, I needed a break from me," Shakira told The Guardian. "The universe is so broad, I cannot be at the center of it. So I decided to go to the university and study history for a summer course, just to kind of switch gears, taste the student life."
Shakira has been known to spend her spare time studying, and learning about the countries she visits, her manager Fifi Kurzman told The Associated Press.
While Shakira did not attend the last few classes, she told The Guardian that she enjoyed the experience. "I would go to the university over and over again if I could," Shakira said.