But the magazine took it one step further for its 50th anniversary, by featuring a woman whose body is statistically impossible.
Barbie appears on Sports Illustrated's latest cover wearing an updated version of her iconic 1959 black-and-white swimsuit.
The unusual collaboration is all part of a new "#unapologetic" ad campaign for two brands that frequently scrutinized for their depictions of women.
“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 told the New York Times.
The company believes its "#unapologetic" campaign is one of empowerment, not a presentation of unrealistic beauty standards.
“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 Mattel rep told AdWeek. "Unapologetic is a rally cry to embrace who you are and to never have to apologize for it.”
Sports Illustrated's Barbie issue hits stands Feb. 18.
[The New York Times, AdWeek]