Kate Upton is that rare breed of supermodel who, in just a few short years, has become a household name well outside of the fashion industry. She’s covered two of Sports Illustrated’s world-famous Swimsuit Issues (and even posed in zero gravity for the mag!), appeared in big-name glossies like Vogue Italia, Vanity Fair and CR Fashion Book and even graced the silver screen in last year’s rom-com The Other Woman—all before turning 22. Most recently, Upton snagged a huge gig as Express‘ new brand ambassador—making her the retailer’s first celebrity campaign face in over a decade.
Yesterday, I had the chance to not only preview Upton’s very first campaign for Express—the first image from which you can check out above!—but also chat one-on-one with the supermodel about her swimsuit shopping tips, all-time favorite jeans, dorky dance moves and tried-and-true advice for overcoming self-consciousness. Read on!
Lucky: Your new Express campaign is all about denim. What’s your personal favorite way to style a pair of jeans?
Kate Upton: With a cute t-shirt and a bright lip.
Do you remember the first pair of jeans you ever owned?
I don’t, actually! I rode horses growing up, and so I’ve been wearing jeans ever since I can remember. I was also the third child in my family, so I got lots of hand-me-downs!
Any denim disasters you can recall? Botched DIYs, jeans that fit terribly…?
I had one pair of completely destroyed jeans—they actually started out naturally distressed, but I basically wore them to pieces. Every time they ripped a little more, I just thought that made them cooler. It got to the point where people were like, "You have to get rid of those!"
Do you still have them?
Oh, yeah. And I still wear them!
You obviously know how to wear a bikini like none other. Any tried-and-true tips for finding a great suit for summer?
I think it’s so important to have a swimsuit with ties on the sides [Editor's note: We told you so!], so you can adjust them to fit you perfectly. I think buying a size smaller offers you more support and comfort, too.
Really? I wouldn’t have guessed.
Yes. Buying a swimsuit that’s too big is a huge mistake—my sisters do that all the time. They think it makes them look skinnier, but it’s just not a good look.
You’re obviously gorgeous, but you’ve encountered your fair share of body-shamers over the past few years. How have you overcome that type of criticism? Have you ever felt insecure with any part of your body?
I think every person has insecurities while growing up—even now, I have them myself. But it’s about overcoming them and not letting them take over your life. Real confidence is about getting through those insecurities—not never being insecure, because every woman is at some point or another.
That’s a great point. To that same end, what’s your own favorite physical feature?
My legs. I love showing them off in form-fitting jeans. I have long legs, so I figure, why not?
What are some things you’ve been living in so far this summer?
I’m loving a jumpsuit right now—it lets me be chic without burning up in the heat—and I’m also a fan of head-to-toe white in the summer.
Any favorite party tricks?
Well, if I find one good joke that works at a party, I’m that person who won’t leave until every single person there has heard it. I like to get a laugh from everyone in the room! I also think that awkward dance moves are always a good icebreaker if you’re OK with having people laugh at you a little. It gets the crowd warmed up. I’ve got a nice little shoulder bump I like to break out… [Demonstrates, laughing]
Dance moves always work. Speaking of which—care to cast a vote for 2014’s official Song of the Summer?