This year’s annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Magazine is out and the cover girl for 2009 is none other than Leonardo DiCaprio’s flame, Bar Rafaeli. The 23 year old Israeli model was rumored to be on the 2008 cover when she was replaced by a last minute swap-in with Marisa Miller. Rafaeli is the 46th model (though out of those forty-six one celebrity has graced the cover – Beyonce in 2007), to land the coveted cover.  

This issue is published annually by Sports Illustrated and features top fashion models wearing designer swimwear in exotic locales. The first issue was published in 1964 and has featured famous models including Kathy Ireland, Christie Brinkley, Elle Macpherson, Cindy Crawford, and Naomi Campbell.

As for the 5 feet 8.5 inches Refaeli, she began her modeling career when she was but a few months old, starring in baby commercial. By the time she was 15, however, she was starring in campaigns, catalogues, and winning beauty contests. She made her debut in Sport Illustrated in their 2007 Swimsuit Issue – making her the first Israeli model to appear in the magazine. In addition, she can be seen in past issues of Elle France, Maxim, GQ Italy, a number of fashion and ad campaigns (past and present), including Luisa Cerano, Subaru, Accessorize, Brazilian clothing line, Besni, Italian jewelry line Marco Bicego, Hurley, and the Diddy cologne, "I Am King".

She is signed to Storm Model Management in London, and 1/One Management in New York City.

In other Sports Illustrated news, with six models in the issue, IMG Models has the most of any agency.

“We couldn’t be more proud of our line-up of clients in this year’s Swimsuit Issue,” said Ivan Bart, Senior Vice President of IMG Models.  “IMG has always been proud of our participation in this career-making issue and congratulate Daniella Sarahyba, Esti Ginzberg, Hilary Rhoda, Jarah Mariano, Jessica Gomes and Tori Pravers on their inclusion.”  

For a little bit more on each of the IMG models…

Daniella Sarahyba – Brazilian stunner Sarahyba was born into the industry, her mother was a famous model as well. Daniella has been in TV ads for Olympus and print ads for H&M, Gap and Michael Stars. She was recently shot in Rio de Janeiro by Mario Testino for his upcoming shoot.   

Esti Ginzberg – Israeli native Esti has established herself as one of the new “it” girls, having worked with world renown photographers such as Bruce Weber, Blaise and Kenneth Willard and appearing in advertisement campaigns for Tommy Hilfiger, Burburry, Clarins, among others. As well as a talented singer, she was recently awarded the role as lead actress in the upcoming film, ‘Twelve’.  

Hilary Rhoda – An All American Girl, Hilary Rhoda is currently the face of Estee Lauder and was recently named one of the highest paid models by Forbes magazine.   

Jarah Mariano – American born Mariano’s distinct features can be tribute to her Hawaiian, Korean and Chinese descent. She has been featured in ad campaigns for MAC Cosmetics, Old Navy and A&F as well as in a music video for Jay Z. She will also appear in an upcoming episode of ‘Chuck’.  

Jessica Gomes – Australian born Gomes is the youngest of four siblings. She has been featured in campaigns for DKNY, Adidas and Old Navy as well as appeared on The Today Show and Project Runway. Her acting career includes not only an appearance in an upcoming episode of ‘Chuck’ but is also the star of her own Korean TV show titled, ‘My Name is Jessica Gomes’.   

Tori Praver – Tori Praver, born in California and raised in Hawaii.  Noted for her big break as the face of Guess, she has worked with some of the industry’s most renowned photographers, magazines and recently designed her own swimwear line, Tori Praver Swimwear, which is featured in the current issue.   

Images courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.