Kate Upton scores cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue

Feb 12, 2013 at 1:14 p.m. ET

The 20-year-old has once again won the cover for the swimsuit issue, but she had to brave quite a few things to get there this year.

Kate Upton Kate Upton has been named the cover model of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue for the second year in a row. And she can’t even drink yet.

The 20-year-old is one of the most searched celebrities, first appearing in the magazine two years ago, and was named Rookie of the Year. In 2012, she won her first cover. For the 2013 issue, the magazine wanted to try something a little different. They took their models to seven different countries, and Upton was given the honor of traveling to the coldest continent.

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“Kate Upton graces the cover of Sports Illustrated's annual swimsuit issue, barely suited up in Antarctica's early spring weather of about 24 degrees Fahrenheit. (With wind chill, it felt like minus 20 degrees),” said CNN. “Upton doesn't show any signs of goose bumps in the pictures. She no doubt got the chilliest assignment of the 17 models who posed for this year's swimsuit issue on seven continents.”

For Upton, it was the chance of a lifetime, but it wasn't easy.

"It was freezing!" Upton told the TODAY Show Tuesday. "It wasn't great for me... I can't believe we were able to accomplish that."

The issues the crew had traveling all over the world, including negotiating visas and shoot locations, paid off in the end, according to senior editor MJ Day.

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"[Antarctica was] the 'Hail Mary' pass of our year," Day told CNN. "I could have had a blizzard. Kate could have had shivering fits you could not shoot around. [Instead] we had six days of perfect weather."

The year-long preparations for the all-important swimsuit issue took Day all over the world. They took pictures in different wildlife reserves in Africa, rice terraces in China, a remote island off Australia, an historic Spanish city, the Bahamas, Easter Island in Chile (with the famous statues in the background) and Kodak Alley in Antarctica.

But for Day, her favorite was no question.

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"Antarctica was my favorite place on Earth," said Day. "I'm one of the most jaded travelers you will ever meet, but the whole thing was a religious experience. Spend your money. It's worth it."

The swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated is out on Feb. 12.

See Kate's photo shoot here.

Photo courtesy Kyle Blair/WENN.com