Si Kate Upton
Credit: Australia-Walter Iooss, Jr. /Sports Illustrated

Now that I have your attention. Hey! Eyes down here, buddy!

Yesterday in New York, Kate Upton was announced as the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue covergirl, and the last 24 hours have been a whirlwind for the statuesque 19-year-old beauty. The youngest Swimsuit cover model in nearly 30 years (Paulina Porizkova was only 18 when she graced the cover back in 1984) started her day on the Today show and she’ll visit David Letterman, where her cover was first unveiled yesterday, tonight. Upton took a quick break to chat with Entertainment Weekly about her now-famous cover photo and her role in the upcoming Three Stooges film.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Congratulations. It must be an exciting day for you.

KATE UPTON: It’s been crazy. I’m so happy to be on the cover. I love the photo. I couldn’t be more ecstatic.

Well, tell me a little about that cover photo. Did you know or feel that it was “the one” when you initially posed for it?

Yes. The funny thing is I think it was our first shot of the whole shoot. And I said out loud, “I really hope this is the cover.” It was my favorite. I felt so confident and beautiful.

You didn’t know you were the cover until last night on Letterman…


But you’d been in that situation before, last year. Was it different for you this time around?

Last year, I didn’t really know what to expect. I didn’t really know any of the girls and I was really nervous. This year I got to know the girls better; we all get along and had so much fun. So it wasn’t as nervewracking.

The 10 of you helped Dave with his Top 10 List. Did you get to choose your own punchline?

No, they write the lines for you. This year I talked about, like, airbrushing my mustache, which was really funny and a little embarrassing.

Who was the first person you called after you got the news?

Actually, my parents were at the David Letterman show. They were in the crowd but I still called them first. They were so excited.

On Today, you mentioned Heidi Klum and Kathy Ireland as former swimsuit covergirls that you especially admired, and I couldn’t help but notice that both of them went on to become brands unto themselves. Is that part of your appreciation for them?

Of course. I look up to them so much because of what they were able to accomplish after their covers and what they represent: smart, beautiful, intelligent, confident women.

The video clip of you dancing at the Los Angeles Clippers game became a viral sensation. Are you a basketball fan?

I am. I’m a big sports fan, really. Especially in New York, it’s so much fun to go to all the sporting events.

You had a role in Tower Heist last fall. Are you eager to appear in more movies?

I had a cameo in Tower Heist, and I have a role in the upcoming Three Stooges with the Farrelly Brothers. They were so nice and so helpful, and they always have so much fun. I felt really at ease on set. I was so new at it, and I’m really thankful they chose me. I play a nun, alongside Jane Lynch and Jennifer Hudson. It was a great first experience.

The bathing suits that you wear in the swimsuit issue are always… you know… elegant… but not always… uhhh… well, they’re very dainty.

[Laughs] I think that’s what the girls enjoy more [than the models]. Growing up in Florida, I loved looking at the swimsuit issue because of the gorgeous suits and I wanted to know the new styles for the summer.

Okay, but what was the last bathing suit you wore to the beach, just for you, just for comfort. Because as fashionable as the ones are in the magazine, they aren’t always practical.

The last suit I wore was in Belize on vacation, and it was one I designed myself for Beach Bunny.

Very cool. As soon as I hang up, people are going to ask me if I asked if you had a boyfriend. So…

I don’t want to answer about my personal life, but thank you, though.

In addition to tonight’s Letterman show, Upton and her fellow models can be seen at 8 p.m. on VH1’s 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Special. And as a special treat, here’s another stunning photo of Upton. See, boys, it pays to be patient and read until the very end of the story.

Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC