Kate Upton Continues to Discuss How Antarctica Practically Killed Her

Ellen DeGeneres quizzed Kate Upton about her new Sports Illustrated cover. "This seems hard to swim in," offers DeGeneres of Upton's cover look, which included a jacket. "Well, Antarctica is also a hard place to swim in," replies Upton.


In the rest of the clip, Upton speaks in an inoffensively media-trained kind of way about the cover shoot, which took place in Antarctica (Sports Illustrated had a "seven continents" theme this year). Asked how she got through the shoot, Upton laughed, "Think warm thoughts." The model admitted she could only hold a pose for a minute at a time before she had to break and wrap up in blankets.

Speaking seriously for a moment, the more people talk about this shoot, the more I wonder: did Sports Illustrated have a safety consultant for this little expedition? Most fashion shoots don't as a matter of course, and it's not unusual for a model to be asked to, say, pose in 6" heels on top of a cliff just because some photographer gets a notion that the shot would look really cool. Yes, Sports Illustrated traveled to Antarctica in December, which is the summer. Yes, the magazine apparently used as a base of operations one of those luxury cruise ships that takes off from Argentina and heads south to the Antarctic islands. Yes, I'm sure the boat was really fancy and nice. Okay, so Kate Upton wasn't asked to loll around on the Ross Ice Shelf in August.


But it is still fucking cold where they were shooting. Average summer temperatures in, for example, the South Shetland islands off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula are around 1.5 C (34.7 F). The Peninsula itself apparently ranges on average from -4.5 C to 1 C in the summer. That doesn't account for wind chill, which researchers say can make going outside virtually impossible once the wind hits 20-30 M.P.H. (That's only a "Fresh Breeze" on the Beaufort Scale.) And Kate Upton is obviously posing on snow and ice. Did the magazine have a contingency plan for hypothermia? For highly changeable Antarctic weather conditions? For other dangers, like falling or calving ice and crevasses? Did a doctor consult on this shoot? Anyone with experience in Antarctic exploration and safety? Because all kidding aside, this could have been really dangerous. Like, Captain Oates levels of dangerous. Let's not forget there's a pretty long history of people (most of whom were better far prepared than your average fashion magazine team!) going to Antarctica and ending up dead. And no, not just a hundred years ago, before we knew how to make clothes out of polypropylene and mostly avoid botulism in our canned goods — like, in modern times. And all this so a magazine notionally devoted to sports could get some SFW pictures of boobs.

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Jenna Sauers

Technically off-topic but Antarctica-related: if you feel like having a good cry today, read this passage from Scott's final letter to his wife, which I've always found incredibly moving, romantic, and sad. He addresses the letter, "To my widow."

Dear it is not easy to write because of the cold — 70 degrees below zero and nothing but the shelter of our tent — you know I have loved you, you know my thoughts must have constantly dwelt on you and oh dear me you must know that quite the worst aspect of this situation is the thought that I shall not see you again — The inevitable must be faced — you urged me to be leader of this party and I know you felt it would be dangerous — I've taken my place throughout, haven't I? God bless you my own darling I shall try and write more later.