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WATCH: Kate Upton, SI Swimsuit Models Deliver Top 10 On ‘Letterman’

(credit: YouTube/CBS)

(credit: YouTube/CBS)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — In the dead of winter, many girl-watchers’ thoughts turn to warmer days ahead.

As an answer to such yearnings, the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue has arrived, with Kate Upton once again its cover girl.

Repeating her world-class pin-up feat for a second consecutive year, the 20-year-old Upton graces the cover of the 2013 edition, which was leaked late last week and officially unveiled Monday night on CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman” (with 10 of the models presenting the Top Ten List).

The new edition — marking the 50th anniversary — hit newsstands Tuesday.

On “Letterman,” Upton delivered the top question “on the application to become a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model.”

“Where’s the strangest place you’ve found sand?” she said as a larger-than-life version of the cover was revealed, high above the entrance to the “Late Show” studios.

It’s Upton’s third appearance in a Swimsuit issue. She was chosen as rookie of the year in 2011, when Irina Shayk was on the cover.

This year for the first time, the fashion shoot covers the entire world, with 17 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models journeying to all seven continents. Photo sites include African dunes and Asian cliffs.

But for Upton, there’s lots of ice. She is warming things up in Antarctica, where the cover shot displays her clad only in a white, fur-lined parka and bikini bottom.

Out of a dozen or so photos in which she appears, the cover shot “is the most clothes I’m wearing in the whole issue,” Upton told The Associated Press in a phone interview Monday. “It was a sort of I-love-you from the editor: ‘I’ll let you wear a coat for this one.'”

The shoot spanned 10 days in December, which is Antarctica’s “summer.” Some of the photos, including the cover, were shot from the base ship, which also carried the team from one icy land shooting site to another.

When she returned to her home in Florida, Upton said she was “very, very sick. I don’t think you can go to Antarctica and stand in a bikini without that happening. But I didn’t die, and I’m OK now.”

Very OK, after hearing only on Friday that she was the editors’ choice for the cover.

Despite the challenges of the assignment, Upton said it would likely remain her most thrilling ever, and called Antarctica “the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.”

But for anyone else who wants to experience that magical place, she offered this bit of advice: “You are definitely recommended to keep your clothes on.”

Do you plan on picking up the issue? Would Upton have been your choice for cover girl? Tell us in the comments!

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)