Micheline Bernardini (born 1927) is a French former nude dancer at the Casino de Paris who agreed to model, on July 5, 1946, Louis Réard's two-piece swimsuit, which he called the bikini, named days after the above ground atomic test in the Bikini Atoll.
• Micheline Bernardini was the first-ever female model to don, present, and get photographed in a two-piece swimsuit, which later became popular as a 'bikini'. Basically, she is the first model to do a photo shoot in the world's first bikini.
• In one of the pictures from the photoshoot, Bernardini is seen posing with a matchbox, displaying that the entire outfit can be contained in the matchbox.
• After Bernardini's bikini photoshoot became popular across the globe, several tourists were seen sporting one in European countries. Italy and Spain imposed a ban on wearing a bikini and removed bikini-clad tourists from the beaches.
• In 1986, at the age of 58, Bernardini once again posed in a bikini for photographer Peter Turnley. She also worked as an actress in TV series like Love Lust, The Bikini, in 2011.
• As of 2020 She lives in the United States with her husband.
Designer Louis Réard could not find a fashion model willing to showcase his revealing design for a two-piece swimsuit, so he hired Bernardini, an 18-year-old nude dancer from the Casino de Paris, as his model. He introduced his design, a two-piece swimsuit with a g-string back made out of 30 square inches (194 cm2) of cloth with newspaper type pattern, which he called a bikini, at a press conference at the Piscine Molitor, a popular public pool in Paris in July 1946.
Photographs of Bernardini and articles about the event were widely carried by the press. The International Herald Tribune alone ran nine stories on the event. The bikini was a hit, especially among men, and Bernardini received over 50,000 fan letters.
Bernardini later moved to Australia where she worked at the Tivoli Theatre, Melbourne. She married an American soldier and moved to the United States, where she worked as an actress until 1970.