Shakira: The mummy returns

Shakira.That name used to strike fear in the hearts of other female pop artists, what with her 75 million albums sold worldwide and her stash of Grammy and Latin Grammy trophies.

Until, of course, the world's most popular born-and-bred South American singer decided to take a break from MTV and the pop charts in 2011 to be a Barcelona FC WAG - and a mummy.

It is fitting, then, that as part of her new chapter in world domination, the petite 37-year-old's latest album, released last week, her first since Sale el Sol in 2011, is self-titled, a simple announcement of her imminent return to the top of the pops.

And like that other fear-inducing pop queen Beyonce, domesticity hasn't changed Shakira one bit - indeed, she's hotter than ever. We look at the reasons...

SAME BUT DIFFERENT

In 2011, Shakira announced she was in a relationship with Barcelona FC defender Gerard Pique, now 27. She gave birth to their son, Milan, in January last year.

Pique has been vocal about the tone of her past music videos, which, she said, explained why she released her steamy video for recent single Can't Remember to Forget You with Rihanna and not a male model.

"He's very territorial, and since he no longer lets me do videos with men, well, I have to do them with women," she told Billboard recently.

"It's more than implied in our relationship that I can't do videos like I used to." Shakira is not concerned about this setting back her third wave of feminism.

"I like that he protects his turf and he values me, in a way that the only person that he would ever let graze my thigh would be Rihanna," she added.

While it's hot to see a sexy woman allow herself to be protected, Shakira's not really taking this lying down either.

Passing her own law for her footballer-model boyfriend, she recently told E! News: "It's two sides, you know. He can't do stuff with models, either."

EVERYONE LOVES HER

It's not uncommon for a strong woman to be vilified by the media, but Shakira has proven that badass babes can have their cake and eat it too.

Opinionated as she may be, she's so sweet about it sometimes that everyone caves in. Nowhere is this more apparent than on her second round as a coach on the current season of US reality singing show The Voice.

Maroon 5's Adam Levine, Usher, and country star Blake Shelton are entranced by her, often stopping the proceedings just to get her to do a little dance with them, or to focus on how she pronounces English words adorably in her Latin-tinged accent.

"What has surprised me most is how tough she is. She's so nice, but man, at the same time she will chop you into little pieces," Usher told the New York Daily News recently.

"Yes, but I do it with a silk glove," Shakira retorted in the same interview.

MOTHER EARTH

When we say Shakira is the world's coolest mum, we're not just talking about her letting her 14-month-old son gurgle on a track on her new record.

The singer has made it her life's work to promote education for impoverished children, starting with the Pies Descalzos Foundation, which has built its sixth special school in Colombia. According to Billboard, the foundation has sent nearly 7,000 children to school.

"I always felt that there had to be much more (than) just… shaking it, you know, eternally," she told The Independent recently.

"Or just making music. Or more even than the pure enjoyment of entertaining someone - being on stage, which is a tremendous rush of adrenaline. But there had to be something else to my life.

This article was published on April 2 in The New Paper.

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