Kate Upton sizzles in return to Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue

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Kate Upton is back where she belongs.

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It has been a long time coming, but one of the most popular women to ever grace the cover of the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue is making her triumphant return.

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Upton, who has been called a “catalyst for the evolution of the brand,” is front and centre on one of the issue’s seven covers, which hit newsstands on May 17.

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Upton, Gayle King, Chrissy Teigen and Hunter McGrady will all be on solo covers with three others in an issue featuring a bevy of beauties from a 60th Anniversary Legends shoot.

“It’s such a huge honour,” Upton told People magazine. “It really speaks to really where fashion is going and the message that (Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s editor-in-chief) MJ Day wants to put out — women supporting women, showing different body types and having women speak for different things they believe in.”

Kate Upton is featured on one of the covers of this year's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.
Kate Upton is featured on one of the covers of this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. Sports Illustrated

Upton made her SI Swimsuit debut in 2011 and was crowned Rookie of the Year that year. The 31-year-old appeared on front cover in 2012 and 2013 before appearing on the flip cover In 2014. She was then up front once again in 2017.

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McGrady made a splash first appearing in the 2017 edition. The 31-year-old mother of two became known as the outlet’s “curviest model ever” and revealed that she was just nine months post-partum when she was photographed for the latest issue.

“Every year I feel more and more confident in who I am and what I bring to the table,” McGrady told Fox News. “And when I first shot for Sports Illustrated in 2016, I was so young. I had no idea of the opportunities it was going to bring me and the platform it was going to give. And I’ve grown as a person ever since then.”

“It’s so much bigger than me,” she said. “It’s so much bigger than the beautiful photos — that’s like the cherry on top. The message for me is inclusivity. That’s what makes it so beautiful. SI has brought forth that inclusivity message and celebrates women of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. They’re one of the very few who are doing it, and doing it in such a beautiful way.”

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The special collectible trio of 60th anniversary covers features an amazing variety of women, including the likes of Brenna Huckaby, Martha Stewart, Maye Musk, Megan Rapinoe, Winnie Harlow and Paige Spiranac.

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“In the past, we’d have one cover model representing the supposed epitome of beauty at the time,” Day said in a statement. “But today there are seven covers featuring 27 women, all of whom have helped shape a world in which they feel more represented and more empowered than ever before.

“There’s Kate Upton, whose first cover served as a catalyst for the evolution of the brand. There’s Chrissy Teigen, who represents the new generation of model moguls. There’s Hunter McGrady, whose power and advocacy continue to inspire. And there’s Gayle King, a first-timer who, like her co-cover models, not so gently reminds us that women are limitless and control their destinies. For the three remaining covers, we assembled some of our most influential alumni together for one legendary photo shoot representing where we are right now — and a hope for the future.”

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King, who turns 70 this year, told People magazine she thought she was “being punked” when she was asked her to appear.

“It wasn’t something I dreamed about,” King said. “But it was one of the highlights of all the things I’ve done because I never thought this would be possible.” 

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