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Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover: Kate Upton, 20

  • ASSOCIATED PRESSThis image provided by Sports Illustrated shows the cover of the magazine's 2013 Swimsuit Edition featuring Kate Upton, which will launch across multiple platforms on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Sports Illustrated, Derek Kettela) NORTH AMERICAN USE ONLY UNTIL MARCH 5 2013; MANDATORY CREDIT: SPORTS ILLUSTRATED/DEREK KETTELA
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    This image provided by Sports Illustrated shows the cover of the magazine's 2013 Swimsuit Edition featuring Kate Upton, which will launch across multiple platforms on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Sports Illustrated, Derek Kettela) NORTH AMERICAN USE ONLY UNTIL MARCH 5 2013; MANDATORY CREDIT: SPORTS ILLUSTRATED/DEREK KETTELA
  • JACK DEMPSEY/INVISION/APKate Upton poses with NFL football player Victor Cruz from the New York Giants on the red carpet for the GQ, Lacoste and Mercedes-Benz Celebration of the Big Game in the Big Easy, on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 in New Orleans. (Photo by Jack Dempsey/Invision/AP)
    JACK DEMPSEY/INVISION/AP
    Kate Upton poses with NFL football player Victor Cruz from the New York Giants on the red carpet for the GQ, Lacoste and Mercedes-Benz Celebration of the Big Game in the Big Easy, on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 in New Orleans. (Photo by Jack Dempsey/Invision/AP)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESSThis Sept. 10, 2012 image released by Sports Illustrated shows a model being photographed on location in Guilin, China, for the 2013 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. Sports Illustrated took its models to all seven continents for the first time. The around-the-globe effort will be chronicled by the Travel Channel in a special on Feb. 17. Sports Illustrated said Tuesday it's the first to do a fashion shoot in Antarctica, where temperatures were subfreezing.  Among the locations featured are Namibia, China, Australia and Easter Island, one of the most remote places on Earth. Swimsuit magazine editor MJ Day says it took seven months to complete. Sports Illustrated will reveal its cover Monday. It can be a star-making opportunity. Last year's cover model was Kate Upton. The magazine hits newsstands Feb. 12. (AP Photo/Valery Gherman for Sports Illustrated) FOR NORTH AMERICAN USE ONLY IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE PROMOTION OF THE TRAVEL CHANNEL SPECIAL UNTIL FEB. 28, 2013.
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    This Sept. 10, 2012 image released by Sports Illustrated shows a model being photographed on location in Guilin, China, for the 2013 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. Sports Illustrated took its models to all seven continents for the first time. The around-the-globe effort will be chronicled by the Travel Channel in a special on Feb. 17. Sports Illustrated said Tuesday it's the first to do a fashion shoot in Antarctica, where temperatures were subfreezing. Among the locations featured are Namibia, China, Australia and Easter Island, one of the most remote places on Earth. Swimsuit magazine editor MJ Day says it took seven months to complete. Sports Illustrated will reveal its cover Monday. It can be a star-making opportunity. Last year's cover model was Kate Upton. The magazine hits newsstands Feb. 12. (AP Photo/Valery Gherman for Sports Illustrated) FOR NORTH AMERICAN USE ONLY IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE PROMOTION OF THE TRAVEL CHANNEL SPECIAL UNTIL FEB. 28, 2013.

NEW YORK >> In the dead of winter, many girl-watchers’ thoughts turn to warmer days ahead.

As an answer to such yearnings, the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue is on the way, with Kate Upton once again its cover girl.

Repeating her world-class pin-up feat for a second consecutive year, the 20-year-old, 5-feet-10-inch Upton graces the cover of the 2013 edition, which is set to be officially unveiled tonight on TV on CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman” (with 10 of the models presenting the Top Ten List).

The new edition — marking the 50th anniversary — will be on newsstands Tuesday.

It’s Upton’s third appearance in a Swimsuit issue. She was chosen as rookie of the year in 2011, when Irina Shayk was on the cover.

This year for the first time, the fashion shoot covers the entire world, with 17 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models journeying to all seven continents. Photo sites include African dunes and Asian cliffs.

But for Upton, there’s lots of ice. She is warming things up in Antarctica, where the cover shot displays her clad only in a white, fur-lined parka and bikini bottom.

Out of a dozen or so photos in which she appears, the cover shot “is the most clothes I’m wearing in the whole issue,” Upton said in a phone interview Monday. “It was a sort of I-love-you from the editor: ‘I’ll let you wear a coat for this one.'”

The shoot spanned 10 days in December, which is Antarctica’s “summer.” Some of the photos, including the cover, were shot from the base ship, which also carried the team from one icy land shooting site to another.

When she returned to her home in Florida, Upton said she was “very, very sick. I don’t think you can go to Antarctica and stand in a bikini without that happening. But I didn’t die, and I’m OK now.”

Very OK, after hearing only on Friday that she was the editors’ choice for the cover.

Despite the challenges of the assignment, Upton said it would likely remain her most thrilling ever, and called Antarctica “the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.”

But for anyone else who wants to experience that magical place, she offered this bit of advice: “You are definitely recommended to keep your clothes on.”

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