Kate Upton Body: Sports Illustrated Values Realistic Looking Women Like Her

In an interview with HuffPost Live, Sports Illustrated swimsuit model and well-known food lover Chrissy Teigen gave a shout out to the magazine for its healthy looking models.

She said she got lucky to work with Sports Illustrated because, “They’re actually terrified of girl’s losing weight and not being sexy anymore.”

The famed swimsuit models do have a reputation for being much curvier and, quite frankly, healthier looking than most runway models. A New York Times article about internet sensation and 2011 Sports Illustrated Rookie of the Year Kate Upton describes the model as “resembling a 1950s pin-up, but with the legs of a WNBA point guard.”

Sophia Neophitou, fashion editor, stylist, and mastermind behind the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, said in an interview with the New York Times that Victoria’s Secret would never use Upton for a show. Neophitou called Upton’s look “too obvious” and called her a “Page 3 girl,” referring to the scandalous women featured in the London tabloid The Sun.


The Victoria’s Secret fashion show is probably the most widely viewed and talked-about runway show in the world, bringing in more than 9 million viewers in 180 different countries, and its models are known for their extreme diet and exercise regimens.

In 2011, the same year Upton was named Sports Illustrated Rookie of the Year, Victoria’s Secret model Adrianna Lima received criticism for the extreme liquid diet and rigorous exercise routine she adopts to prepare for the annual show.  

She said her quotes in The Daily Telegraph were misunderstood. “I just have an athlete’s mind and I appreciate doing this thing,” she said in an interview with E!Online. “It’s not that I do crazy diets throughout the year. I just do it for this particular thing. After the show, I become normal again.”

Victoria’s Secret isn’t alone of course in their indirect promotion of too-thin models. Huffington Post reports that most luxury brands do not carry sample sizes big enough to fit healthy figures like Upton, and many high fashion shoots have inspired pro-anorexia websites.


In the same HuffPost Live interview Teigen said, “I feel badly for those girls who have to be so waif thin, doing those catwalks all the time because, luckily we’re going into a different time — that’s what they’re saying, at least — in we’re appreciating a curvier figure.”

There have been laws enacted and several initiatives to stop promoting such tiny body types, but the effects have been small. But Teigen might be right, we might be entering a different time.

AskMen.com, an online magazine, named Sofia Vergara number one on its Top 99 Women list last year. This year, actress Jennifer Lawrence who has been quoted saying, “In Hollywood, I’m obese. I’m considered a fat actress, I’m Val Kilmer in that one picture on the beach.”

Even the fashion industry is making some good progress, with plus-size models like Robin Lawley and Crystal Renn seeing supermodel success. They said man would never walk on the moon and we did it, with the help of Sports Illustrated we just might be able to make a healthy body image happen too. 

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Kristen Ellingboe

Kristen is currently a journalism and political science student at Emory University.

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