LOS ANGELES – Because getting frostbite on your naked flesh is just no fun.
Second-time Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover girl Kate Upton attempted something unprecedented for her highly-anticipated shoot this year – donning an itty bitty bikini in the itty-bitty temperatures of Antarctica.
“Keep your clothes on,” she advised any future travelers to the Earth’s southernmost continent during a conference call on Thursday. “But go! It’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever been!”
Upton’s trials and tribulations were captured on-camera as the Travel Channel teamed with Sports Illustrated for a very up-close-and-personal expedition to the seven continents featured in this year’s iconic edition, including the very first photo shoot to take place on the ice-covered Antarctic terrain.
“I definitely knew we were the first fashion magazine ever to shoot down near the South Pole which put more pressure on the situation because we didn’t know if we would go down there and it would be a blizzard the entire time, or if we were going to be able to even get one photo,” she explained. “The first day it was sunny, but when we landed it turned into a blizzard and we weren’t able to get a shot… the weather was unpredictable and the pressure was on. We came out with a cover shot!”
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And hey, who says these glamour girls don’t have to work hard for their multi-million dollar paychecks.
“Modeling is not as easy as it seems. It takes a certain person to be able to be comfortable in front of a camera, especially being in a vulnerable state like freezing in Antarctica,” Upton insisted. “We went to places like active volcanoes where penguins have their summers. Things we never expected and it takes a certain type of person to adapt to that change… It’s not all glamorous, I’ll tell you that.”
And gracing the coveted cover for the second-year running also requires dedication all-year round.
“I have a personal trainer, David Kirsch, and I try to stay healthy and work out as much as possible. It’s important to keep a good lifestyle,” Upton said.
But fans – fear not. No matter how much Upton bumps and grinds on the cardio machines, her trademark female figure won’t be shrinking down to the model-waif look anytime soon.
“My curves are natural,” she added. “They are not going away no matter how hard a try.”
The one-hour special “Sports Illustrated: The Making of a Swimsuit ’13-7 Continents, 17 Wonders” premieres on Travel Channel Sunday, February 17 at 8pm ET/PT.
Danielle Jones-Wesley contributed to this report.