"Sports Illustrated is as secretive as it is successful with its blockbuster swimsuit issue, so Bar Refaeli found out she's cover girl of the magazine's 46th annual ode to the barely-there bikini just hours before the magazine hit the newsstands today.
Refaeli is no stranger to Americans — she's been one of the most in-demand models since age 15, and she frequently graces the pages of celebrity magazines by virtue of her three-year relationship with actor Leonardo DiCaprio. But for a model, gracing the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue is truly hitting the career jackpot.
The swimsuit issue is typically seen by 66 million readers — including four in 10 adult men in the U.S., according to Sports Illustrated research — making it the biggest annual event in magazine publishing. Moreover, becoming the S.I. cover girl launched the careers of Tyra Banks, Rebecca Romijn, Cheryl Tiegs, Cindy Crawford and Heidi Klum into the stratosphere."