BORN: February 2, 1977

Shakira, the graceful one, has been sneaking up on you-the Grammys, the MTV Video Awards, those Pepsi spots. She's a child prodigy who wrote her first song at age eight, a blond-locked Colombian who speaks three languages and loves only in Spanish.

She's a perfectionist who spends hours in the studio; she needs to be close to nature but her passion is the crackle of electric guitars. She is in the blush of youth, but she's far older than her 24 years. As her countryman, Nobel Prize winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote, "Shakira's music has a personal stamp that doesn't look like anyone else's and no one can sing or dance like her, at whatever age, with such an innocent sensuality, one that seems to be of her own invention."

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