Florida teen Kate Upton featured on Sports Illustrated cover

Published On: Feb 14 2012 08:20:02 AM EST
Updated On: Feb 14 2012 11:44:15 AM EST

Kate Upton.  Sports Illustrated image.

NEW YORK -

Kate Upton, a 19-year-oldmodel from Melbourne, makes the cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

A 19-year-old Melbourne supermodel is the new cover girl for the 2012 Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

Kate Upton was born in Michigan but grew up in Florida and considers Melbourne her hometown.

The new cover was unveiled Monday night on The Late Show with David Letterman.

"That was one of the first photos from the first shoot. It was my favorite swimsuit. I felt sexy in it, but confident," Upton said, referring to the cover shot.

Upton was chosen as the "rookie of the year" in last year's edition.

The 2012 magazine cover is her second time appearing in the annual SI issue that's the equivalent of the Super Bowl for models. Last year, when Irina Shayk was on the cover, Upton was chosen as rookie of the year.

"I have had a great year," she said. "For me, this is groundbreaking."

A huge perk of the job as the official swimsuit model is visiting lovely beaches, including shoots for the magazine in Sydney and Cairns, Australia, and Apalachicola, Fla.

She said living a healthy lifestyle for her includes working out regularly with a personal trainer and watching what she eats. But there's no special diet to prepare for a bikini shoot, she said, and she admits to splurging on the occasional ice cream or plate of fries.

Christie Brinkley and Elle Macpherson are among the now celebrity models who previously had this gig. Upton said, "I am so glad to be in their company."

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