Kate Upton is just getting started. The 20-year-old model, who graces the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue for the second straight year, is already an SI legend and there should be another cover in her future.
A third consecutive SI swimsuit cover would officially put her in an elite group. Christie Brinkley and Elle Macpherson are the only models to earn that honor, according to USA Today. It's been more than two decades since Macpherson's covers, but Upton is a good bet to end the drought.
It's not that the magazine doesn't have plenty of other models to choose from, many of whom are worthy of the prestigious cover spot. But Upton stands out from the crowd, even amongst fellow top models, and that's exactly what the annual issue needs.
She's modeled for various companies and appeared in movies and television shows. But being on the cover of the SI swimsuit issue is a unique distinction. Doing it twice before her 21st birthday just makes it even more amazing.
The first reaction most people probably had after seeing this year's cover was a simple "wow." And that's exactly what the editors are shooting for when they make the decision. There's no doubt it will turn a lot of heads on newsstands around the country.
And Upton wants you to know it wasn't an easy shot to take in Antarctica, Kate Hogan of People reports.
"It was an accomplishment just to get through the shoot," she says. "I didn't even think about the possibility of being the cover until after I thawed out a bit! But now it's like, wow – I actually went down there and was able to accomplish that. I'm part of history, and it's a great feeling."
She also went on the Late Show with David Letterman with her fellow models to present Monday night's Top 10 list. Once again, she stands out.
Whether or not Upton lands on the cover again next year—and she should—it's clear she will be a constant presence moving forward. She's established herself as one of top models in the world and deserves all the praise she'll receive in the coming weeks.
There's a reason only two models have been on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover three times in a row. New models are always emerging and it makes it tough for one to dominate the spotlight for an extended period of time.
That's exactly what Upton has done, and will continue to do as the groundwork for the 2014 issue gets underway.