Being a successful model is difficult work. Being a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model at age 19 is a near-impossible task, and one that Kate Upton knows all too well. The Florida native graced the cover in 2012 while still a teenager, and still remembers the negative feedback she received. Kate sat down during SI Swimsuit Launch Week to chat with fellow models Hailey Clauson, Sailor Brinkley-Cook and Aly Raisman about the challenges she faced back in 2012.

During a Facebook Live, Kate explained that the excitement of landing the cover was tainted at first by the negativity surrounding her body. ​"After my first cover, we were discussing whether I was fat or not," Kate recalls. "And for me as a 19-year-old, I was like 'What? Am I fat? What is going on?' I had this huge moment in my career and they were tearing it apart."

Kate Upton in 2012

But the experience, as painful as it was at the time, made Kate a tougher person.

"I have to thank the people who did that because it really made me sit back and find out who I really was, what meant something me and how I thought about my body," she said. "At 19, I wasn't thinking about that. I knew I worked out, ate healthy and tried to be the best at my job I possibly could. And now I sit here thinking 'Wow, all that discussion about whether I was fat or not came from real pain from women.' They lashed out at me because they felt insecure about themselves." 

We're glad Kate didn't listen to the haters. She's back on the cover of SI Swimsuit 2017 and looking better than ever!

BONUS: See all of Kate's stunning photos from SI Swimsuit 2017!