The day I found out SI was shooting the Uptons story (our cover girl Kate Upton with Braves players B.J. and Justin Upton) for the weekly I was like … SIGN ME UP! As the associate swimsuit editor, I have been on a ton of photo shoots in my time at SI and though we have shot some men for the swimsuit issue (which we know you all hate!), I never have worked on an actual shoot with male athletes. I’m not complaining about shooting bikini-clad supermodels, but having some eye candy for myself ain’t so bad!
The shoot was … AWESOME. And that’s mostly thanks to Kate’s amazing energy and ability to make her faux siblings comfortable. When Justin and B.J. arrived into our hair/makeup suite (aka - auxiliary locker room) at Citi Field, I could tell they were unsure of what to expect. Apparently the brothers are pretty private and shy, which Kate caught onto immediately. They were walking into her world -- one with makeup brushes and steamers and curling irons. So when she walked into their world -- one with cleats and dirt and fresh cut grass -- she knew just what to do. By cracking jokes in the dugout, poking fun at them and being her fabulous charming self, she made them feel at home and like family.
The “Upton Family Reunion,” as they called it, was hilarious and the chemistry shows in the photos and video. There was even a surprise appearance from Mets third baseman David Wright (distant cousin perhaps?). He actually knew the Upton brothers from growing up together in Virginia, so imagine his thought process walking onto HIS field and seeing Kate with them! Classic. The rest of the day was spent dancing to hip-hop, munching on chips and guac and, well, making history (Sports Illustrated has never had a swimsuit model on its weekly cover). But mostly we all did what you do at any family reunion, laughed!I left Citi Field that day psyched –- psyched to have a signed BJ Upton jersey, psyched to have spent the day with Kate and #teamswimsuit, psyched to now be a Braves fan. Yes, I know I work for SI but am self-admittedly CLUELESS when it comes to sports so this may have piqued a new interest in my life. One full of rankings and statistics and arguing (SUPER-psyched about that). And Hey B.J. and Justin, I’ll be waiting for an invite to the playoffs!