Esti Ginzburg: Model Soldier

By Nathan Burstein

Published July 22, 2009, issue of July 31, 2009.
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One of Israel’s top models is moving from photo shoots to the shooting range.

GETTY IMAGES

Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Esti Ginzburg was expected to join the Israeli army July 22. The 19-year-old will perform two years of service, spending her first weeks in basic training before transitioning to a specialty.

Under a headline reading “Private Esti,” Ginzburg told the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot that she “always knew [she] would enlist,” noting that only “for a moment” had she considered bypassing the military for her career. Her enlistment sets Ginzburg apart from a number of Israeli celebrities who have avoided service — most notably Bar Refaeli, who in February became the country’s first model to appear on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. “True, the obligation has been placed on me to show everyone the right thing to do,” Ginzburg told Yediot, but she noted that she considered Refaeli a friend, and that “there are people that, the army just isn’t for them.”

Featured on the cover of French Elle, Ginzburg isn’t abandoning her career entirely, receiving breaks to continue modeling overseas. The army will accommodate her celebrity status in other ways, too, allowing the blond Tommy Hilfiger model to avoid communal showers so as not to risk being photographed clandestinely. Following basic training, Ginzburg will work as a recruiter, speaking to high school students about why they should serve.

Whatever her merits as a soldier prove to be, Ginzburg said she doesn’t expect to be promoted to officer. “I very much doubt they would offer it to me,” she said. “I already have a career.”


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