Not content with scooping People’s 2014 “Sexiest Woman Alive” title, Kate Upton also took to the skies in a bid to become the hottest in the universe. To make sure she got noticed, then, the model adopted a new tactic: parading her curves in zero gravity. And it’s safe to say that the results – captured on camera for the benefit of those of us back on Earth – are out of this world.
Upton’s weightless experience began with an idea by Sports Illustrated magazine – which, in addition to featuring sports news, is also known for photographing bikini-clad babes by the bucketload.
But rather than fly Upton to some tropical beach in order to get that perfect shoot, the magazine decided instead to send her to Cape Canaveral in Florida, a place renowned for its space launches.
There the hottie linked up with Zero-G, the only company on the planet to offer flyers the chance to feel the weightlessness more typically experienced by astronauts in orbit.
After boarding a customized Boeing 727 in little more than her swimsuit, then, a remarkably calm-looking Kate was told to “face [the] camera” when the plane began its steep descent – a move known as a “parabola.”
And as the aircraft climbed, a few final touches were made to Upton’s admittedly already killer look before she lay down and waited for the weightlessness to take hold.
However, the loss of gravity apparently caught Kate slightly unawares, as she quickly rose to the top of the aircraft and bumped her head. It wasn’t long, though, before she snapped back into assured professional model mode.
“You’ve got it honey, you’ve got it,” shouted one of the crew as Kate floated from one pose to another. “Keep that face pretty, sweetie!”
And Upton did so effortlessly, her confidence apparently growing as she got used to the sensation of weighing nothing.
This was pretty impressive, too, considering how many photographers were also floating around in front of her. “It’s like swimming in a school of fish,” one of the crew said.
Each parabola lasted approximately half a minute, and when gravity returned, Kate naturally hit the aircraft’s floor once more. Ouch.
Still, weightlessness was quickly restored thanks to some skilful maneuvering by the pilot – the cue for Kate to adopt new breathtaking poses.
And though queasiness is a common side effect for weightless flyers, this didn’t seem to affect the model in the slightest – although it’d be totally understandable if she hadn’t wanted that captured on camera.
The same strength of stomach couldn’t be said of some of the crew, however. “I’m not doing so well,” one of the guys said, “but I think Kate’s doing amazing.”
And perhaps it wasn’t just the weightlessness taking its toll. After all, anyone witnessing Upton strutting her stuff is bound to need a lie down, even if they’re helping to orchestrate proceedings.
What is more, while some members of the crew may have been feeling a little under the weather, others decided to get creative – that is, two in particular who, with syringes in hand, started squirting water droplets at an airborne Kate.
Then after Kate indulged in some more swimming through the air, floating somersaults and gravity-less handstands, it was pretty much a wrap. The crew burst into a round of applause while looking pretty happy with themselves – as well they might.
“One small step for Swimsuit,” one of them said, “one giant leap for mankind.” Though as the stunning images published in Sports Illustrated’s 2014 Swimsuit edition demonstrated, Upton certainly didn’t have to step much at all.
It’s true, though, that the shoot was something of an event. After all, it’s not every day that a swimsuit model is photographed while bouncing around weightlessly at high altitude.
Indeed, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit senior editor MJ Day said that the experience was “really exhilarating,” adding, “We have been almost everywhere in the past 50 years with SI Swimsuit, but we have never done anything like this. It was certainly the most out-of-the-box shoot.”
For Kate, meanwhile, the weightless shoot and the stunning photos that resulted from it almost certainly confirm her status as the planet’s – nay, the universe’s – sexiest woman.