Bar Refaeli (Hebrew: בר רפאלי, born 4 June 1985) is an Israeli model and occasional actress, most known for her modelling work and for her relationship with American actor Leonardo DiCaprio. She was the cover model of the 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Bar Refaeli was born in 1985 to 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. She had to wear braces in her early years, postponing her modeling. At age 15, Refaeli 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 Milki. Refaeli won the title “Model of The Year” in a beauty contest in 2000 and 2001. She was also chosen to be the home model of Renuar fashion network and appeared in their summer 2002 and winter 2003 catalogs.
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 been the spokesperson for fashion brand Luisa Cerano. She has modeled for Subaru, Accessorize, Brazilian clothing line Besni, Italian jewelry line Marco Bicego, and Rampage. In 2008, Refaeli became the face of clothing line Hurley, and the Diddy cologne, “I Am King.” In 2009, she became the spokesperson of Garnier International and added the 2009/2010 advertising campaign for Morellato watches and jewelry to her resume.
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, Refeali co-hosted Fashionable Istanbul’s press conference announcing their October 2009 fashion event, also appearing in its advertising.
Film and television career
Refaeli co-starred the Israeli TV series Pick Up in 2005. In October 2008, she co-hosted the Bravo special program Tommy Hilfiger Presents Ironic Iconic America, based on the book Ironic Iconic America written by George Lois. She returned as a program host in 2009, this time for MTV’s brief revival of House of Style.
In 2010, she will star in an English-language film, Session, directed by Israeli Haim Bouzaglo. The film is a psychological thriller that tells the story of a manipulative psychologist who becomes obsessed with a new young patient.
Refaeli volunteers for Project Sunshine, a non-profit organization providing free services and programs for children facing life-threatening illnesses. She has also volunteered for organization Ahava, which has been caring for pets abandoned in Northern Israel during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.
Bar Refaeli and film director Shahar Segal have agreed to do a gratis campaign under the slogan “One Bag Less” to reduce the use of plastic bags.