It is somewhat of a coup for Upton. She was also the cover model for the 2012 version of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. It is also the 50th anniversary of the magazine's swimsuit issue, making it a still bigger coup.
In the leaked image, Upton is seen posing for Sports Illustrated's 50th anniversary swimsuit issue wearing a fur parka and white bikini bottoms, and nothing else. However, the position of her arms both serve to hide much of her breasts while at the same time accentuating their appearance.
The photo is almost certainly one that was taken on her Antarctica shoot. You might recall that Upton was seen in one of those Antarctica photos wearing nothing but a swimsuit -- and presumably freezing her ass(ets) off -- while snuggling up to a man dressed in an Oreo costume.
It's still unclear what that cookie image was for and if it will appear in the issue.
Among the other things spotlighted in the leaked cover image: SI will have pictures of Hannah Davis, girlfriend of Derek Jeter, too. There was speculation that Davis might be the 2013 cover model, but apparently those rumors were false.
Also noted on the cover: 'Bama bombshell Katherine Webb will appear, which we already knew, but it's nice to see that SI knows enough to spotlight it on the cover.
Fans of body paint will probably be happy to hear that Upton, in addition to going "polar bare," will appear in body paint, too.
The 2013 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition will hit retail on Tuesday, Feb. 12. The cover announcement, which may be a little less exciting now that a leak has occurred, will be on Monday, Feb. 11 on "The Late Show with David Letterman" at 11:35 p.m. EST. The cover model (Upton) will then return to the show to be interviewed on Tuesday.