DALLAS, Feb 10, 2009 / FW/ — Supermodel Bar Refaeli became the 46th cover girl of the much coveted and high profile Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue that hit newsstands today. Expected to be read by a worldwide audience of 66 million, the very popular SI edition was shot in 7 countries featuring 33 models, 83 bikinis, tennis stars, NBA dances and Danica Patrick, the world’s fastest woman.

Refaeli, a three-year veteran of the Swimsuit Issue, is the first Israeli model to land the cover of the coveted magazine. Photographer Raphael Mazzucco, who also photographed the 2008 cover of Marisa Miller, captured the cover photo during a two-day shoot with Refaeli on Canouan Island in the Grenadines.

The 2009 Swimsuit Issue takes a journey to four countries with ancient cultures and pillars of modern beauty and makes stops in Naples, Italy; Cappadocia, Turkey; Riviera Maya, Mexico; and Tenerife, Canary Islands. The cover of the iconic magazine is billed, Bikinis or Nothing, and showcases a photo of Brooklyn Decker displaying a map of the world – in only paint!

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