Kate Upton‘s cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition — her second year in a row — has generated some heated discussion from critics and fans alike. “This is a fairly controversial choice in some circles as Kate is very far removed from the typical, skeletal model that adorns magazine covers to begin with,” says editor MJ Day of his choice to feature Upton again. “What’s cool about Kate is that she doesn’t seem to care what the conventions are.”
Upton says she was more concerned about her body functioning in the frigid Antarctic temperatures, without much clothing, than about how her body actually looked.
“I was very surprised by the news that that’s where my shoot was going to be located,” she said on ‘Today’ on Tuesday. “It was freezing. I’m from Florida, so it wasn’t great for me. When I came back I was losing hearing and eyesight because my body was shutting down, it was working so hard to keep warm. I was thinking warm thoughts.”
She had a team of people working to keep her from turning into a popsicle between shots.
“I could really only do it for a minute and then everyone would come running and throw blankets on top of me and they would build me like a little blanket cave,” she says. “I really went all out on this. We went there thinking we might not even get a shot, and came back with the cover.”
As for the controversy, Upton seems to be taking it all in stride. “Sports Illustrated really launched my career, and I have a lot to thank them for,” she says. “I feel like I’m on the top right now. I’m really excited. I just want to enjoy this moment.”