In Latest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, Bar Refaeli's Got Nothing on Barbie

Companies launch promotional campaign saying they are unapologetic about the way they depict women.

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Move over Bar Refaeli, Sports Illustrated magazine is featuring a real doll in the 50th anniversary edition of its annual swimsuit issue, according to the New York Times.

In a new promotional campaign between Sports Illustrated and Mattel, maker of the Barbie doll, Barbie will be the star a four-page advertising feature in the magazine, photographed by Walter Iooss Jr., who has been shooting the magazine’s (human) swimsuit models for four decades.

There will also be videos, a cover wrapper that will appear on 1,000 copies of the issue, declaring Barbie to be “The Doll That Started It All” and a limited-edition Sports Illustrated Barbie, to be sold exclusively on

Both brands have been the targets of complaints about their depictions of women for decades. Mattel has long contended with complaints that Barbie, with her lithesome figure and focus on fashion, is not a positive role model for girls, while Sports Illustrated longe been criticized for objectifying women in the swimsuit issue.

In the new campaign the brands tell their critics that they are proudly “unapologetic” about who they are. “As a legend herself, and under constant criticism about her body and how she looks, posing in” the issue “gives Barbie and her fellow legends an opportunity to own who they are, celebrate what they have done and be #unapologetic,” Mattel said in a statement on Tuesday.

Barbie will be wearing a new version of the black-and-white swimsuit she wore when introduced in 1959 in the magazine, which comes out next week.

Cover wrapper for new Sports Illustrated issue.Credit: Screenshot

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