Fashion: SI Swimsuit launch party
She's a Florida girl who's comfortable in a bikini, and now 19-year-old model Kate Upton is on the cover of the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.
She wears a tiny red-and-brown, sparkle-covered string bikini with a view of the waters of Australia behind her as she poses for the magazine cover, which was unveiled on Late Show with David Letterman in the US this week.
"That was one of the first photos from the first shoot," she said in a telephone interview before the big reveal. "It was my favourite swimsuit... I felt sexy in it but confident."
"In Florida, people walk around in their flip-flops, bikinis and jean shorts, so I'm very comfortable in a bathing suit," she said.
The 2012 magazine cover is her second time appearing in the annual Sports Illustrated issue that's the equivalent of the Super Bowl for models. Last year, when Irina Shayk was on the cover, Upton was chosen as rookie of the year.
"I have had a great year," she said. "For me, this is ground-breaking."
A huge perk of the job as the official swimsuit model is visiting lovely beaches, including shoots for the magazine in Australian cities, Sydney and Cairns, and Florida.
She said living a healthy lifestyle for her includes working out regularly with a personal trainer and watching what she eats. But there's no special diet to prepare for a bikini shoot, she said, and she admits to splurging on the occasional ice cream or plate of fries.
Christie Brinkley and Elle Macpherson are among the now celebrity models who previously had this gig. Upton said, "I am so glad to be in their company."