Sunday, May 19, 2024

Kate Upton, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue icon: Info about the supermodel from Florida

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Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue to release 60th anniversary edition May 14, 2024. Kate Upton appeared on the cover in 2012, 2013 and 2017.


  • Kate Upton is part of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue’s 60th Anniversary Yearbook.
  • In 2014, People magazine named Kate Upton the Sexiest Woman Alive, the same year the magazine named Chris Hemsworth the Sexiest Man Alive.
  • Upton has appeared on the cover of Maxim, GQ, Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Elle and Shape.

From cover model to icon: That’s how Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue describes supermodel Kate Upton.

The 31-year-old is part of an elite (and very small) group of models who landed multiple covers of the iconic magazine, which turns 60 this year. The 60th anniversary Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and 60th anniversary “yearbook” will be released Tuesday, May 14. And, once again, Upton’s part of the anniversary festivities.

Ten years ago, Upton paid homage to her Space Coast, Florida, past in a bikini-clad, gravity-defying photo shoot at Cape Canaveral for the 50th anniversary Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

Here’s a look back at Kate Upton’s ties to Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

Kate Upton, who was born in Michigan and grew up in Melbourne, Florida, first appeared in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2011. Upton landed the coveted title of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover model in 2012, 2013 and 2017.

In 2013, Upton’s Swimsuit Issue cover shoot took place in Antarctica, one of the coldest places on Earth. The model recounted the grueling bikini photo shoot and how she kept warm shortly after it was announced she would grace the cover a second time.

In 2017, Upton’s third cover for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, the model’s bikini shoot took place in Fiji. That issue featured three different cover looks for Upton, which was an unplanned surprise even for Swimsuit Issue editor MJ Day: “It’s a full circle moment for us,” Day said in a 2017 story on SI Swimsuit Issue’s site. “We started Kate in her career, and you know, we watched her grow and become not only this worldwide, superstar phenomenon; she changed the direction of the modeling industry. Kate Upton was really this trailblazer that led the way for the Ashley Grahams of the world and everything you’re seeing happen that’s different in fashion right now.”

Who was on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue the most?

Australian supermodel Elle Macpherson holds the record for most Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue covers with five. In addition to Macpherson, whose nickname is “The Body,” supermodel Kate Upton appeared on the cover three times, in 2012, 2013 and 2017.

Other threepeat Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover models:

  • Cheryl Tiegs was the first supermodel to appear on Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue three times: 1970, 1975 and 1983
  • Christie Brinkley was the first supermodel to appear on Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue three times in a row: 1979, 1980 and 1981
  • Supermodel Kathy Ireland appeared on the 25th anniversary issue of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue for one of her three covers: 1989, 1992 and 1994
  • Supermodel Daniela Pestova: 1995, 2000 and 2006
  • Supermodel Tyra Banks, the first Black cover model for Sports lllustrated Swimsuit Issue: 1996, 1997 and 2019

Is Kate Upton on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue’s 60th anniversary edition?

In March 2024, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue hosted cover model Kate Upton and more than two dozen brand stars at the magazine’s 60th anniversary photo shoot in Florida.

“It’s so amazing,” Upton said on SI Swimsuit Issue’s site of reuniting with fellow brand legends for the diamond anniversary. “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit always puts together such an amazing team, MJ (Day, editor in chief) finds such awesome people and producers and (photographer) Yu Tsai and his whole team, and so it’s really fun and it’s really no stress when you have a team of that caliber. To be around all of these legendary women is such an honor. I also was a part of the 50th (anniversary), which had every past cover model and now to be a part of the 60th, it’s such a full-circle moment for me.”

Other Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue models who gathered at the 60th anniversary shoot at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, include Christie Brinkley, Hunter McGrady, Leyna Bloom, Halima Aden, Megan Rapinoe, Paulina Porizkova, Tyra Banks, Molly Sims, Paige Spiranac, Sue Bird, Lily Aldridge, Danielle Herrington, Brenna Huckaby, Jasmine Sanders, and Camille Kostek.

Did Kate Upton model in space?

For Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue’s 50th anniversary edition in 2014, supermodel Kate Upton paid homage to her Space Coast past in a bikini-clad, gravity-defying photo shoot at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The photos, taken in spring 2013, show the then 21-year-old Upton floating in mid-air while on board a Zero Gravity Corp. Boeing 727 jet that produces short periods of weightlessness and reduced gravity, according to a February 2014 FLORIDA TODAY story.

“The Zero-G experience was really exhilarating for everyone involved,” MJ Day, editor of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, said in a news release. “We have been almost everywhere in the past 50 years with SI Swimsuit, but we have never done anything like this. It was certainly the most out-of-the-box shoot. Once again, Kate surprised us all with how she handled modeling in weightlessness.”

Upton, who attended Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy in Melbourne, flew out of Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, and according to Kim Paschke, the photo shoot happened on a weekend. Bristow Air Center helped organize the shoot, Paschke said.

Supermodel Kate Upton is also an actress. Here are her film credits

  • Kate Upton had a small role in the 2012 film “The Three Stooges.”
  • Upton filmed the 2014 comedy “The Other Woman” with Cameron Diaz, Nicki Minaj and Leslie Mann.
  • In 2017, Upton starred in the raunchy romantic comedy “The Layover” with Alexandria Daddario and Matt Barr.
  • Her next project is the indie film called “Sweet Dreams” with Johnny Knoxville and Mo Amer.

Fun facts about supermodel Kate Upton

  • In 2014, People magazine named Kate Upton the Sexiest Woman Alive. This achievement happened two months after Marvel star Chris Hemsworth (“Thor,” the “Avengers” films) was named the Sexiest Man Alive. That was the only time in the magazine’s history that the Sexiest Woman Alive title was bestowed. In 1999, Richard Gere and supermodel Cindy Crawford − who were then married − were named the Sexiest Couple Alive by People magazine.
  • At 25 years old, the supermodel scored the top spot on Maxim‘s Hot 100 list in 2018, appearing on the cover as America’s No. 1 beauty in the magazine’s Hot 100 world’s sexiest women issue. That year, others on the Maxim Hot 100 list included Kendall and Kylie JennerGigi and Bella Hadid, and Melania and Ivanka Trump.
  • In addition to Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Kate Upton has appeared on many magazine covers over the years, including Maxim, Vanity Fair, Elle, People magazine, Sports Illustrated (the flagship publication), Vogue, GQ, Cosmopolitan, Esquire and Shape.
  • Married since 2017 to MLB’s Justin Verlander, a pitcher for the New York Mets and former pitcher for the Houston Astros, the couple purchased a waterfront home in Jupiter, Florida, in 2021 and a penthouse condo in New York in 2023. They have one daughter, Genevieve.
  • Over the years, Upton has talked about growing up in Florida. In various interviews, when asked to explain where “Melbourne, Florida” was located, she would describe its proximity to Orlando theme parks. In addition to living in Jupiter part-time with her family, the supermodel would occasionally volunteer at pet adoption events here, in Lakeland and at Space Coast Stadium.
  • In 2019, Upton decided not to have her photos retouched for the Health magazine cover − a first for the magazine, news reports show. In an interview with the “Today” show, Upton said she wanted to promote body positivity. The photo shoot occurred nine months after she gave birth to daughter, Genevieve.
  • In 2023, Upton became co-owner of canned cocktail company Vosa Spirits and appeared at Food Network’s South Beach Wine and Food Festival.

Sangalang is a lead digital producer for USA TODAY Network-Florida. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram at @byjensangalang. Support local journalism. Consider subscribing to a Florida newspaper.

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