We called up Kate Upton on a Thursday afternoon, and within seconds of hearing the peppy 25-year-old on the other end of the line we thought, “Of course. Beautiful, successful and nice.”
A personality trait you may not expect from a drop-dead gorgeous model whose curves have graced the covers of the world’s most prestigious magazines including Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Esquire and the coveted Sports Illustrated, three times.
Her famous curves are a departure from the stick-thin beauty convention perpetuated in the media, and as she’s advanced in her career she’s learned to embrace that, choosing projects that celebrate “every type of perfect … inspiring women to love themselves.”
You probably also recognize her from the big screen. Kate held her own against powerhouse actresses Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann in The Other Woman, and will appear in The Layover, directed by William H Macy, next month.
As if she isn’t busy enough with her career, she’s planning a wedding to professional baseball player Justin Verlander. Plus, she's turned her major love of animals (you can see her cuddling penguins, horses and dogs, including her own boxer Harley, on Instagram) into a spokesperson role with LINK AKC, promoting their smart dog collar that serves as an activity tracker (which she says motives her to get out and walk more).
Okay, how does she do it? We chatted with Kate and got the lowdown on how she stays in shape and manages stress with a jam-packed schedule — with the ultimate goal of just having fun.
What inspires you to do what you do?
I get inspiration from a bunch of different things. Definitely being able to be outside and be active, and be around family and friends (and my dog!), inspires me to stay motivated and enjoy life.
Tell us about a bad thing or tough moment that you made you better.
Any change is tough; so any time I've changed agencies or I’ve decided I want to take a different path in my career or I've said no to a certain job to wait for the opportunity to possibly get another one, was an insecure moment. And you don’t know how it’s going to turn out. But I try to focus on listening to my gut; any time in my career that I didn’t listen to my gut instincts, I didn’t like the outcome of the project, so I always try to listen to it and know there’s good reason to go with my initial feeling.
I try to focus on listening to my gut; any time in my career that I didn’t listen to my gut instincts, I didn’t like the outcome of the project.
I always try, even if it’s not in the moment, maybe it’s a couple of years later, to look back and find the positive or what I learned from any tough situation. I’m 25 years old so any tough situation I’ve been in is always a learning experience and I hope to keep that throughout my life. The best opportunity to learn is from your mistakes.
I still kind of have little moments like that. I think when I first started living in New York and I got an apartment with a washer and dryer in the unit which is pretty rare living in Manhattan. That was one of those moments where I was like, “I made it.” It’s the little things — the little wins!
What are the two or three things you do every morning to set yourself up for success?
Every morning I have coffee and room-temperature water with lemon squeezed in it. I used to consider myself a morning person but I kind of have to roll with life now. My fiancé is a baseball player and plays night games, so most of the time he doesn’t get home until 11 PM and his adrenaline is still going and so it’s hard to go to sleep late and wake up early. So when I’m with him, I’m not a morning person and when I’m not with him, I try to really enjoy my mornings. I go outside and take my dog Harley on a walk. I feel like being outside really gets me ready for the day.
"I write everything down. If I don’t jot things down I won’t be able to sleep."
You are always on the go — how do you manage all the stress?
I have a great support system around me of friends and family who are there to be listen, or help in any way. But also yoga breathing. Stomach breathing helps center you to have more clarity throughout stressful days. It's great for whenever people feel anxious or stressed; it’s a shallow breathing from your chest that helps calm you.
What’s on your nightstand right now?
My nightstand is a bit of a mess. I have everything from chargers to my computer at times, to a book — right now I'm reading this amazing book called Lilac Girls.
The one guilty pleasure you can’t stop, won’t stop:
Your favorite way to stay fit?
Going on hikes with Harley and exploring different cities we are in. I love to go on walk/runs — I really emphasize the walk/run — in new cities because I get to see where I’m at and enjoy the outdoors. But I also have an amazing trainer who writes me hotel workouts. So I’ll travel with two bands and sliders and be able to do a workout inside my hotel room or inside the hotel gym, so I’m able to switch things up and keep it interesting to stay motivated.
Favorite workout jam of the moment:
Shape of You, by Ed Sheeran.
What I’m looking forward to most this month:
Justin and I are going on a vacation to the Bahamas, I can’t wait to have that time with him. It’s very rare in the summer.
What goal(s) are you currently working on?
My life goal is to continue finding the balance of staying healthy and feeling energized and strong, but also enjoying life. That will be a forever journey for everyone, the balance of having fun and finding fun in being healthy.
I love Leslie Mann. I think she’s an amazing woman who does a great job at being an awesome mom and person and enjoying her life, while also having a kick-ass career. I learned from her that you don’t have to be perfect, and to enjoy the moment you’re in. When she’s with her family she’s engaged and excited to be there and when she’s working she misses them, but she’s also really talented at what she does and is able to put her focus there and do a good job.
One Small Thing that makes me healthier/better/more sane:
I write everything down. My entire schedule. I have it in my phone, but I write it down and it helps me remember it a little better and stay a little bit more on top of things. For some reason writing it down puts it in my brain rather that typing it in and so I have double reminders. If I don’t jot things down I won’t be able to sleep.
Brianna Steinhilber is an editor at NBC News BETTER.