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All About Kate Upton's Sexy 'Sports Illustrated' Cover Look

02/14/2012 at 04:00 PM ET

Kate Upton Sports Illustrated
Walter Iooss Jr./Sports Illustrated

Much has been said about that itty-bitty bikini, but Kate Upton’s sexy Sports Illustrated cover look goes beyond the bathing suit. The 19-year-old stunner was glammed up by the magazine’s team of makeup artists and hairstylists — though they admit she didn’t need much help looking gorgeous.

“The great thing about Kate is that there’s kind of a look that she has — she has that blonde hair, a beauty mark in the right place,” makeup artist Tracy Murphy explains to PEOPLE. “She’s like, the girl that’s born to be a bombshell. It’s already there.”

Murphy used some bronzer, waterproof mascara and nude lip balm on her model, touched up her eyebrows and sent her on her way. “She has really beautiful coloring, those naturally rosy cheeks you have when you’re 19,” Murphy says. “It was really effortless beauty with her.”

Her hair was a different story. Though stylist Peter Butler prepped as best he could, Mother Nature got in the way. “Take about 50 to 60 mile-per-hour winds,” he jokes of attaining her beachy waves, which he created using a 2-in. curling iron and Leonor Greyl mousse. “Usually beach hair is pretty natural and raw, so it’s more about trying to control it as much as possible, while still keeping it natural.”

Kate Upton Sports Illustrated
Walter Iooss Jr./Sports Illustrated

Because of the winds in Sydney, Australia, where Upton was shot, Butler had to give his client some tips. “I pretty much told her how to hold her hair in the wind,” he recalls. “We had to find the angle for the wind to blow it the right way. It was a lot of luck.”

The cover image itself was a lucky get, too; senior editor MJ Day says there “was a lot of excitement when we were shooting this. We had really tough weather when we were shooting, and it was one of those days when it was clear and perfect and beautiful.”

Day combed through about 10,000 swimsuits, finding the perfect Suit Yourself Bikini by Kathleen Bruening ($180) for Upton’s shoot. (She also wears a bangle by jewelery designer Sydney Evan.) “It was such a tiny top and such a tiny bottom, but still sophisticated, flattering and sexy,” she says. “We just loved it on her.” Read Upton’s reaction to her cover unveiling here.

Want a sexy swimsuit of your own? Head over to, where the site is selling sexy swimsuits and limited-edition surfboards in honor of the annual issue. Proceeds from all sales will benefit the Nature Conservancy. Tell us: What do you think of Upton’s cover?


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Showing 68 comments

Christine on

those are considered bathing suits? Her privates might as well be out. I would never pose for this!

megan on

the girl is beautiful but i would feel so uncomfortable and that barely there bikini. I was watching this video of a Naomi Campbell interview and she said doing the Sports Illustrated shoot was the one thing she wouldnt do again. she said she didnt feel beautiful at all

Glenn on

It’s a great suit for showing off skin (which I can certainly appreciate) but the top doesn’t fit her at all, and I think she owes a huge tip to whoever waxes her down there.

Sharon on

Such a pretty woman, with a nice body. But, the bikinis are way too small on her.

Heather on

way to be classy!!! i don’t think any body type looks flattering in these types of “bathing suits”

Kate Upton | NewsTrendr on

[...] Upton, 19, is the cover model of Sports Illustrated's 2012 swimsuit issue …CNN (blog)Kate Upton's Sports Illustrated Cover: All the DetailsPeople MagazineKate Upton graces Sports Illustrated Swimsuit coverSan Francisco Chronicle (blog)Us [...]

Kate Upton’s Sports Illustrated Cover: All the Details – People Magazine | Amazing News on

[...] Kate Upton's Sports Illustrated Cover: All the DetailsPeople MagazineMuch has been said about that itty-bitty bikini, but Kate Upton's sexy Sports Illustrated cover look goes beyond the bathing suit. The 19-year-old stunner was glammed up by the magazine's team of makeup artists and hairstylists — though they admit she …Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover: Kate Upton, 19The Associated PressSports Illustrated model Kate Upton Photoshopped? 2012 cover model appears to …New York Daily News [...]

Kathy on

Not very classy at all. But what I’m most concerned about is when is the swimsuit issue of men only coming out?????

Kasee on

There is absolutely nothing about the first bikini that is sophisticated or flattering. The second one is not very flattering either. It’s like they decide what size swimsuit to get and then just force the model to wear it no matter what. That first “suit” is practically pornographic. It’s a shame because she is a pretty girl who could have looked much better.

Judi on

classy? who are you kidding? I don’t care how great a woman’s shape may be, that suit is tasteless. May as well be naked.

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