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SHE has just done a photoshoot so sizzling it could melt the polar ice-caps – even though Kate Upton felt more blue with cold than red hot.

The stunning American model braved frostbite and temperatures of minus 20°C when she stripped off in Antarctica.

At times Kate wore nothing but a wispy scarf and boots on the photoshoot for the famous cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue.

 Kate Upton

Upton oh-good … Kate looks great on Antarctic shoot
Kate Upton

Boot-iful … Kate Upton covers her modesty with just a scarf
Derek Kettela/Sports Illustrated/Contour by Getty

And these saucy snaps are bound to set temperatures soaring.

Curvy Kate, voted as having the world’s best bum by Sun readers, is now a singleton. She had been dating baseball star Justin Verlander, a pitcher with the Detroit Tigers, but it seems they have now gone their separate ways.

“No, I don’t have a boyfriend,” reveals the 20-year-old blonde. “And that’s just perfect the way it is.”

Any blokes who fancy their chances should start flossing now. Asked what is most attractive in a man, she replies: “Well, I think it is all in his smile. I’m not sure what else.

“I think confidence is the sexiest thing about a woman. If you’ve got confidence you are naturally sexy.”

Kate Upton

Kate Upton

Kate Upton

Dressed to impress … the American model arrives at TV studios in New York last week

It certainly required a lot of courage for her to go naked in the snow for Sports Illustrated. Earlier this week Kate revealed she suffered frostbite on the trip.

The freezing temperatures affected her boobs, her eyesight and her hearing.

Of the photoshoot itself, she says: “When you go to Antarctica you know you’re going to be freezing and half-naked and I was very nervous as I grew up in Florida and don’t do well in the snow even when I’m fully dressed.”

But despite the discomfort, it really was a trip of a lifetime.

Kate says: “When I first got on the ship, the expedition leader advised me to spend as much time outside as possible because no photograph compares to what it is actually like.

“It is spiritual with the pink mountains and the huge icebergs.”

Kate Upton

Cold snap … the model poses in just a white bikini in Antarctica
Derek Kettela/Sports Illustrated/Contour by Getty

The antics of the wildlife also helped take her mind off the cold.

Kate recalls with a smile: “The penguins were the only thing that kept me going. They have huge personalities and are fearless.”

Since she first appeared in Sports Illustrated in 2011, Kate has become a mega star in the modelling world. She has featured in advertising campaigns and glossy mags everywhere, become the face of Accessorize and graced the cover of Vogue.

In a recent shoot she looked strikingly similar to another famous blonde bombshell, Marilyn Monroe.

But modest Kate says: “Oh my gosh, I would never compare myself to Marilyn. She was so wonderful, she was so beautiful.

“If I have half the success she had, that would be amazing.

“It’s a compliment that you would even think I am just a little bit like her.”

Kate Upton

Peak condition … Kate Upton’s sexy Sports Illustrated photoshoot in the mountains
Derek Kettela/Sports Illustrated/Contour by Getty

Unfortunately, as her fame has grown, she has increasingly become a target for critics. The racy TV advert she did for Mercedes-Benz, shown during this year’s Super Bowl, outraged US campaign group Parents Television Council.

In it, Kate, wearing tight shorts and a low-cut top, appears in slow motion, distracting a group of gawping American football players while washing a Mercedes car.

The PTC said it set a bad example to women because “this ad reinforces for millions of wives, daughters and sisters across the country that you use your sex appeal to get what you want”.

Kate Upton

Cover girl … Kate Upton’s recent SI photoshoot
Derek Kettela/Sports Illustrated/Contour by Getty

Kate, who can drive but does not own a car, let alone a Mercedes, is not bothered by the occasional frosty comment.

She says: “It’s been a big change becoming a public figure. But I am loving my life and wouldn’t change a thing.”

Doing that first swimwear issue two years ago made her into a celebrity over night.

Kate says: “It changed my life completely. It turned it upside down and shook it. It started the moment I was in that issue — even being inside gets you so much attention. So many things opened up, so many opportunities came my way. People suddenly knew me, knew my name.”

Those opportunities included small acting roles in the films The Three Stooges and Tower Heist. So it’s not surprising she has no regrets about quitting school at 16 to be a model.

Growing up in Florida, horse-mad Kate dreamed of being a riding star. She even competed at national level in the American Paint Horse Association riding championships.

She says: “I don’t compete any more — I don’t have time. But I still have a horse in Florida at my parents’ house.”

Her philosophy is to take each day as it comes. She says: “I don’t have a plan. I’m just seeing where this all takes me.

“It’s been so much fun and so exciting. I want to keep going and see what happens.”

Clearly, her success so far is just the tip of the iceberg.

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Kate Upton

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