Bar Refaeli is an Israeli model and occasional actress. She was the cover model of the 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and was voted #1 on Maxim magazine’s Hot 100 list of 2012.
Bar Refaeli was born into an Israeli Jewish family in Hod HaSharon, Israel. Her parents, Rafael and Tzipi, own a horse ranch. Her mother was a successful Israeli model in the 1970s under her maiden name, Tzipi Levine. Refaeli has three brothers. She began a modeling career at the age of eight months, appearing in commercials. Refaeli had to wear braces in her early years, interrupting her modeling until age 15, when she returned to modeling with the representation of Irene Marie Models.
Refaeli began her modeling career before the age of 8 months for a baby commercial. By age 15, she was featured in campaigns for the fashion brands Castro and Pilpel, also starring in a commercial for Milky. Refaeli won the title “Model of The Year” in an Israeli beauty contest in 2000.
Refaeli has appeared in ELLE (France), Maxim, and GQ (Italy). She debuted in the 2007 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, becoming the first Israeli model to appear in the magazine, posing with rock band Aerosmith. In 2009, Refaeli was the covermodel for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. A photo from the shoot, featuring a bikini-clad Refaeli, was painted on the side of a Boeing 737 in a promotional deal with Southwest Airlines, leading to criticism of Southwest from passengers for using an image they regarded as inappropriately sexual and “offensive to families”. In October of the same year, Refaeli was again embroiled in controversy, when Haredi groups criticised a Tel Aviv billboard campaign in which she appeared semi-nude, alleging that it could “poison” the public. The billboards were subsequently removed.
She has modeled for Subaru, Accessorize, Brazilian clothing line Besni, Italian jewelry line Marco Bicego, and Rampage. In 2009, she modeled for Garnier International.
On 5 March 2009, Refaeli received the “World Style Award,” presented by the Women’s World Awards, for her “natural elegance, sense of style and compassion.”In October of the same year, Refaeli co-hosted Fashionable Istanbul’s press conference announcing their October 2009 fashion event, also appearing in its advertising. Refaeli was voted #42 in 2008, #57 in 2010, and #97 in 2011 in the FHM “100 Sexiest Women” list and came in first on Maxim’s Hot 100 list of 2012.