Israeli model Bar Refaeli

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Bar Refaeli is an Israeli model and part-time actress whose recent brush with fame was as the real-life love interest of Leonardo DiCaprio. In 2009, Refaeli took the much coveted title of cover girl title for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. In the same year, she received the “World Style Award” from the Women’s World Awards and co-hosted a major fashion event in Istanbul, Turkey.

Refaeli was born in Hod HaSharon, Israel on June 4, 1985. Her mother was also a well-known model in Israel. Because of her modeling connections, little Refaeli began modeling and was already shooting baby commercials when she was only 8 months old.

However, Refaeli had to wear braces growing up and had to leave modeling for a while. At 15, her braces came off and immediately she was featured in several campaigns for Castro, Pilpel and Milky. At that young age, she joined an Israeli beauty contest and won “Model of the Year” award.

It didn’t take long for the world to notice this Jewish gem: Refaeli jetsetted around the world, posing and campaigning for one popular brand to another. She has worked for Subaru, Accessorize and Garnier International, and has appeared for Elle in France, GQ in Italy, Besni in Brazi, Marco Bicego (jewelry line) in Italy and Maxim in the United States.  In 2007, she debuted for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue with the rock band, Aerosmith, and became the first Israeli model to appear in Sports Illustrated, but not without controversies.

Southwest Airlines decided to blow up one of her photos from Sports Illustrated and painted it on one side of a Boeing 737. To have a photo of Refaeli in bikini flying from New York to Las Vegas was part of the airline’s promotional campaign, but many people criticized the gimmick. Southwest passengers thought it was “offensive to families” and inappropriate.

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