The singer chatted with us before her benefit concert at the premiere of Love in the Time of Cholera

A benefit concert for Shakira’s Fundación Pies Descalzos (Bare Feet Foundation) served as the pre-show for the premiere of the film Love in the Time of Cholera, whose soundtrack features the singer, last night at The Palms hotel in Las Vegas.

The Colombian artist, 30, who arrived with her long-time boyfriend Antonio de la Rúa, performed the songs she wrote specifically for the film, based on a novel by fellow Colombian, Nobel Prize for Literature winner Gabriel García Márquez. The couple showed up during an auction of items, including two original copies of the literary work, both signed by the author.

Proceeds from the gala will go to the completion of the sixth school – which will benefit 9,000 children – created by the foundation, an organization that promotes educational development in Colombia.

We chatted with Shakira when she arrived on the red carpet, and this is what she told us…

What was your inspiration for the songs?
The songs try to situate themselves at the beginning of the century, a time when romanticism was the foundation and the goal of everything.

What does love mean to you right now?
It’s my primary nourishment. I think that nothing else in life, not even your career or music – well, what I’m saying is a bold statement – I think that nothing can substitute love as the propelling force of everyone’s lives. It’s number one on my list of priorities, of course.

What do you like best about the movie?
How people loved each other during that era. How we’d like to love today, how we yearn to love today.

You have a love like that today…
(She laughs) Yes, I’m very fortunate to love someone. I think to always be able to have someone to love, not only the love of a couple, [but also] love of a family, friends. It’s the most important support system in a life full of obstacles and problems, because we all have problems. Just because I’m a celebrity on the red carpet doesn’t mean I don’t have problems. I’ve got them too, but there always has to be someone to support us.

What really touched you about the movie?
The old Cartagena, the Cartagena that I love. Man’s solitude and vulnerability. We don’t see that in men these days. They always show their strong side, so seeing vulnerability and weakness, but also the strength that lives in the love of Florentino Ariza (the main character) is something that makes me think about a past that’s gone, but perhaps still lives in everyone’s hearts. I think there’s a Florentino and a Fermina hidden in all of us.

Has the love displayed in this movie touched you enough to plan your own wedding?
(She laughs) I don’t have time, but we’re patient, we’ve got Florentino Ariza’s patience. We’ll get married eventually, or we won’t, but we’re together and that’s what matters. We love each other and we want to stay like that. Why fix something that’s not broken.

How did it go at UCLA?
I liked it a lot. It was a great experience, and I’m going to continue my studies.

Where are you going to spend Christmas?
I’m going to do a bunch of things. I’m going to Bangladesh in December, and I might go back to Colombia to be with my family a little.

What’s your favorite García Márquez book?
Love in the Time of Cholera, definitely, and 100 Years of Solitude, of course.

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