Hey Guys, Barbie Is a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Cover Girl Too

Sports Illustrated
A look back at the Swimsuit Issue covers.
Real women have curves, but apparently plastic ones get to grace the front of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

In a very controversial turn of events, the American publication has teamed up with Mattel to feature Barbie — yes, as in the plastic doll — as its 2014 swimsuit issue cover girl in a new advertorial campaign. The iconic blonde bombshell will appear on the front of magazine, which hits newsstands next Tuesday, as a special cover wrap to celebrate the issue’s 50th anniversary.

As what is dubbed “the doll that started it all,” the toy will also star in an editorial feature inside the magazine reportedly shot by Walter Iooss Jr., the longtime SI photographer who has been responsible for spreads like Kate Upton’s 2012 feature. Only 1,000 copies of Barbie’s cover will be sold, while Target will exclusively carry a limited-edition Sports Illustrated version of the doll in its stores.

Centered around the theme of being “unapologetic,” Sports Illustrated and Mattel hopes Barbie’s appearance in the famous issue will help break down the body image stigma both institutions have faced in the past.

“As with Barbie, every year the Swimsuit edition sparks conversations about women and body image, and Sports Illustrated stands unapologetically behind this issue that women, in reality, love,” a rep for Mattel tells Adweek. “Unapologetic is a rally cry to embrace who you are and to never have to apologize for it.”  

As for 2014’s human cover girl, she will be revealed on Jimmy Kimmel Live Thursday. Past SI models such as Tyra Banks, Christie Brinkley, Brooklyn Decker, Heidi Klum, Marisa Miller, Bar RefaeliRebecca RomijnIrina ShaykCheryl Tieg and Upton are expected to be featured inside the mag as well.