Kate Upton: Braving Antarctica Pays Off for Rising Star on SI Swimsuit Cover

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIFebruary 13, 2013

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Model Kate Upton addresses the media during a news conference prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 26, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Kate Upton is just 20 years old, but she has already been the cover girl of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue twice. Her extraordinary dedication in the 2013 edition, though, is what makes her stand out—and it should only help her brand and rising star power moving forward.

The headlining photo features Upton in a white winter coat, and the print indicates that she is going "polar bare"—a nifty play on words there by the folks at SI. But it's the story behind that photo and the fact that it was taken in Antarctica that makes the shot so impressive.

Models aren't typically associated with having difficult lives. Sure, maybe dealing with the pressures of fame and the hours of patience required to do precisely what every on-scene consultant wants is part of it.

But part of the job description isn't typically going to an essentially uninhabitable part of the world scantily clad. In this instance, though, that was the case for Upton, who described the extremely chilly and intense situation to NBC's Today Show on Tuesday (h/t Reuters):

It was freezing...I'm from Florida, so it wasn't easy for me.

When I came back, I was losing my hearing and eyesight. My body was shutting down because it was working so hard to keep me warm.

Antarctica isn't exactly the land of palm trees and beaches, that's for sure.

As documented by DetroitNews.com, Upton appeared on David Letterman's late-night show on CBS that evening and provided even more stunning details.

She noted how the crew was holding up blankets to give her privacy and how she literally could not move her leg to get into the next outfit. The crew members had to pick her legs up and get them into the next line of provocative apparel.

All of that work culminated in this end product, which was tweeted out by SI Swimsuit's official page:

Obviously, no one was going to let Upton's health completely fail. But the fact that she endured such severe adversity from two of her main senses shows the kind of dedication it took to make the trip to the very deep, cold south. There was clearly a severe inherent risk to it as well.

It may be hard for some to appreciate a woman blessed with such stunning looks and physique who gets to grace magazine covers and gets paid to do it. Still, this was definitely an extreme undertaking for a young model whose star is meteorically rising. Had she somehow lost her hearing and eyesight, her career would have been on the back burner.

This latest lucrative venture fortifies the notion that Upton is very dedicated to her craft and takes it seriously. It paid off not only for this cover shoot, but it will also pay dividends for wherever her promising career takes her.