Kate Upton Praises 'Sports Illustrated' Swimsuit Director for Confidently Posing in Her Bikini on Instagram

By

While Kate Upton is celebrating her third time on the cover of Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit issue, she's also praising the magazine's director, MJ Day, for her bold bikini snap.

After the release of the 24-year-old supermodel's three seriously sexy SI covers, Day posted a video to Instagram of herself in a black bikini, encouraging all women to share their swimsuit snaps. "I've been producing the annual Swimsuit issue for 19 years, but today I’m the one in a bathing suit, and here’s why,” she explained. “This year’s issue will showcase the widest diversity of women in SI history. Women of all ages, and shapes, and from many different backgrounds.”


PHOTOS: Sexy Ladies of the 2017 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

Upton was thrilled to see Day's video and reposted it to her own Instagram account. "Thank you @mj_day for always leading from the front and helping to spread the message of confidence, strength, beauty and body diversity!" she wrote. "Honored to have you as a dear friend #preach."

Thank you @mj_day for always leading from the front and helping to spread the message of confidence, strength, beauty and body diversity! Honored to have you as a dear friend #preach 🙌🏻 #repost @mj_day with @repostapp ・・・ Deep.Breath. If I'm going to talk the talk I am going to walk the walk. Please consider participating. It was equally terrifying and liberating for me. Funny how I have spent my life on a beach since childhood and I have never truly felt comfortable in a swimsuit. Even at my thinnest. We need to love ourselves in the present. No matter what. I invite you all to do so. 😱🙏🏻❤#50shadesoftan Repost @womenirl with @repostapp ・・・ Introducing the #WhatIModel campaign, a partnership with @SI_Swimsuit and @healthmagazine. This year's Sport’s Illustrated Swimsuit issue is the most inclusive ever and features women of various ages, backgrounds and body types. We’re celebrating this vision of beauty and confidence on our feed… in our swimsuits. Because you should feel beautiful no matter what you wear, and we’re ready to love our swimsuits again. Meet @mj_day, the editor of SI Swimsuit, and find out what *she* models. Then, upload your own video (in your suit) and tag it #WhatIModel & #LoveYourSwimsuit for the chance to be featured here. Stay tuned all week for inspiring messages about body confidence and authenticity. #womenirl

A post shared by Kate Upton (@kateupton) on

Day -- who teamed up with @WomenIRL to persuade others to share their swimsuit snaps -- admitted that she was initially nervous to post the video. "Deep.Breath. If I'm going to talk the talk, I am going to walk the walk. Please consider participating. It was equally terrifying and liberating for me," she captioned the bikini-clad post, adding the hashtags #WhatIModel and #LoveYourSwimsuit. "Funny how I have spent my life on a beach since childhood and I have never truly felt comfortable in a swimsuit -- even at my thinnest."


EXCLUSIVE: Bianca Balti Spills on How Shooting the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Actually Works

Day added, "We need to love ourselves in the present. No matter what. I invite you all to do so."

Supermodel and Leonardo DiCaprio's girlfriend, Nina Agdal, also participated in the campaign, and shared a video of herself in a bikini. "I model swimsuits because it's my job, but I also model health and happiness, which I believe go hand-in-hand. It all starts within," she said. "Everyone is different and everyone is beautiful in different ways."


WATCH: Hannah Jeter Flaunts Killer Bod in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue -- Weeks After Finding Out She’s Pregnant

In addition to Upton and Agdal, Chrissy Teigen, Ashley Graham are featured in SI's 2017 swimsuit issue, as well as newcomer, Hunter McGrady. "I want to thank @MJ_Day for an opportunity like this and for being a force in this industry," McGrady said, praising the magazine's director. "Beauty is not a number. It has no limits. I have never felt sexier than I did in this shoot."

This is a surreal moment for me. You guys I have been bursting to tell you all about this! I want to thank @MJ_Day for an opportunity like this to do the SI model search and for being a force in this industry and everyone at @si_swimsuit for promoting that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Beauty is not a number. It has no limits. I have never felt sexier than I did in this shoot. Thank you to @joannegair and team @therealmarissajade and @trendytribals for working your magic on my body. These women painted this suit for 12 hours and I never wanted to take it off. Women, for anyone who has ever felt uncomfortable or insecure because of rolls, or stretch marks, or cellulite, or acne, or felt like you didn't measure up because you weren't represented in the magazines--THIS IS FOR YOU! You are beautiful. You are STRONG. You are powerful and together we need to lift eachother up and inspire one another. There's too much going on on this world to let eachother fall by the wayside. Shot by another incredible woman- @josie_clough amazing sexy beach hair by @adammaclay thank you to my agents @uralucky1 @marissamuscari @ginabaronedirectorofficial @jaimegoldberg_ @wilhelminamodels for being such hard working and dedicated team! We did it ! 😜 #breakingboundaries #siswim

A post shared by Hunter McGrady (@huntermcgrady) on

She added, "Women, for anyone who has ever felt uncomfortable or insecure because of rolls, or stretch marks, or cellulite, or acne, or felt like you didn't measure up because you weren't represented in the magazines --THIS IS FOR YOU!"

Here's a look at Tiegen's sexy photo shoot with the SI, below:

Related Gallery