For her second Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover, the supermodel skipped a bikini top, wrapping up in nothing but bottoms and the now-infamous Canada Goose Chilliwack Bomber despite the bone-chilling temperatures of Antarctica.
But within the pages of the annual glossy, Upton casts off clothing altogether, posing in nothing but body paint — a design inspired by Delfina Swimwear — on the Emerald Bay beaches of the Bahamas.
“The day here is perfect. The weather is amazing,” she says in a behind-the-scenes video from the shoot. “I was happy to take off my swimsuit for a little warm weather.”
While the sun shining down made Upton’s job a breeze, the body-paint artists were put to task.
“The hardest part by far was the necklace,” the model explains. “I don’t even know how they did it. They were taking the strands and connecting it to the other side, taking off paint [and] putting it back on, layers and layers.”
Posing in the tropics was a far cry from frigid temperatures Upton had to face during her cover shoot in Antarctica. “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 told the TODAY show Tuesday. “I really went all out on this. We went there thinking we might not even get a shot, and came back with the cover.”
Even upon leaving, Upton felt lingering aftereffects from the arctic. “It was freezing. I’m from Florida, so it wasn’t great for me,” she said. “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.”
But it all paid off. Upton is now only the fifth model to have back-to-back Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition covers, following in the footsteps of Christie Brinkley (1979-81), Elle MacPherson (1986-88), Paulina Porizkova (1984-85) and Tyra Banks (1996-97).
Though it was set to be unveiled at David Letterman’s NYC studio Monday, Upton’s second Sports Illustrated splash leaked online Friday, promoting the publication to issue a high-resolution version of it on Twitter. “For me, I like to know everything, so I was actually a little excited (about the photo leaking early),’’ Upton said. “I was able to prepare.”
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