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 jetted 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.
In that same year, another of her sexy photos appeared in public: it was placed on a Tel Aviv billboard for the conservative Jewish public to see. Her openly displayed semi-nude photo was considered “poison” to the public. The protests were led by the conservative Haredi Judaist groups.
Her relationship with DiCaprio also stirred controversy in her home country. A nationalist organization in Israel sent her a letter to ask her not to marry a “non-Jew” for the sake of the “future generations of Jews.” Refaeli responded by saying that she wants her relationship in low profile.
She appeared in the Israeli TV show “Pick Up” in 2005. She co-hosted a special TV program called “Tommy Hilfiger Presents Ironic Iconic America, program host for MTV’s short revival of “House of Style” in 2009. She also served as guest judge for Heidi Klum’s “Germany’s Next Top Model”.
Refaeli has golden brown hair and stunning blue eyes. She is 5’9” tall and measures a perfect 35-24-35. But what’s truly beautiful about this gorgeous model is her heart.
Bar Refaeli volunteers her time and resources for Project Sunshine, a charitable group that cares for children that are suffering from life-threatening illnesses. She has also volunteered for Ahava, an organization that takes care of abandoned pets. This is one elite model that is truly both beauty and substance.