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Kate Upton Is This Year's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Cover Girl (See Pics!)

Kevin Blair Kevin Blair
February 13th, 2012 11:53pm EST

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Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kate Upton was spotted outside the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City earlier this evening preparing for an appearance on tonight's Late Show With David Letterman. The sexy model has been named the cover girl for the publication's annual Swimsuit Issue this year.

The 19-year-old model made her debut in the pages of the magazine's infamous issue last February, and only a year later the Florida native has risen to the top to land the coveted cover.

Upton joins an elite group of supermodels, including Elle MacPherson, Christie Brinkley, Heidi Klum and last year's cover girl Irina Shayk, with the distinguished honor of gracing the cover.

The cover of the issue was supposed to be revealed on tonight's Letterman show but leaked a little earlier than expected.

Kate wears a tiny red bikini on the cover, which was shot in Sydney, Australia, and before the cover leaked she told the Associated Press that the photo was one of the first images taken when shooting began for the issue.

"It was my favorite swimsuit," she says. "I felt sexy in it but confident."

17 models posed in this year's issue - shot in five different countries including Zambia, Panama, The Seychelles, Oz and the U.S.

According to the official press release, this year's Swimsuit Issue will also include Female Athletes in Bodypaint and a feature on Bar Refaeli and tennis pro Rafael Nadal.

The SI Swimsuit Issue hits newsstands February 14th nationwide.

Click over to page two to see Kate Upton's Swimsuit Issue cover!

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