Kate Upton has been unveiled as the cover girl of the 2017 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.
The 24-year-old model first graced the cover of the magazine back in 2012, when she was just 19, before also landing the honour the following year (13). Now she is back with three separate covers, to mark the 2017 edition, which celebrates body diversity and age inclusion.
The news was announced on U.S. chat show Jimmy Kimmel Live on Tuesday night (14Feb17), with the image of one of the covers then projected onto New York’s Empire State Building.
In an interview with the publication, Kate said it was the decision to open up the magazine to women of all body types and all ages that made her “proud” to return to the cover.
“To have an issue that focuses on that is really an amazing moment for me because I think it’s important for everyone to be the best they can be, but not to strive to be a company or industry’s idea of perfect,” she said. “For SI to emphasise every different type of perfect is really inspiring. Those are the campaigns I want to do and the career I want to have – to inspire women to love themselves.”
Kate is known for her enviable curves, which she showed off in a now infamous video doing the Cat Daddy dance while wearing a bikini, during a shoot with photographer Terry Richardson.
But this year, Kate has made it her mission to become “strong and healthy”, rather than sticking to a model figure.
“This year, I had a completely different mindset about my body and instead of always trying to fit in a certain sample size, I wanted to be strong and healthy,” she explained. “Changing my workout and focusing on weight training helped me do that. It helped me think about my body as a machine and less of something people can judge me on. People feel ashamed when they look bad one day, but it’s okay not to love yourself every second of every day. Appreciate what your body can do.”