Kate Upton was running on all cylinders Thursday morning at Copper Fit’s New York showroom.
After numerous photo-ops, showing off fall designs and a hearty amount of glad-handling, the brand’s newest ambassador spoke about her on-the-run life with spouse Justin Verlander, a Houston Astros pitcher. Expecting her first child, Upton has been catching the spring collections digitally, but she shared her thoughts about favorite collections and diversity on the runway. While her MLB pitcher husband is vying for a World Series title, Upton has her own in-this-lifetime dream — skydiving.
In what seems to bolster Upton’s fronting lavender-infused leggings and other Copper Fit products, she launched “Strong4Me Fitness” Thursday, a 12-week, at-home workout program. Guests in the Empire State Building showroom were invited to hit the juice bar stocked with San Francisco-made libations and snacks from Urban Remedy, another health-oriented label the model works with.
Speaking of her role with Copper Fit, Upton said, “They are an amazing lifestyle brand that takes you through all day long, whether you’re working out in the gym, traveling or relaxing at home you have options for everything. Being so technology-forward and innovative in their fabrics, gives you that extra edge whether it’s in recovery, anti-odor, or wick-resistant if it’s raining. I love the leggings because I love how many ways it helps you to kind of skip a step in your life. With moisture-based leggings, you don’t have to put on lotion. Or the anti-odor which helps you to be a better gym partner, and not smell as bad.”
Upton’s new workout program targets women with busy lives, who are strapped for time. “I like to find easy ways to fit in my workouts in the day, so they’re 30-minute workouts that you can do at home or anywhere you are with very limited equipment,” she said.
The model and pro athlete husband-and-wife team aren’t exactly gym buddies. “We don’t really go to the gym together. I work out more for the lifestyle. I like bringing friends along, I like talking, I like staying active in my life. His is definitely work-focused and is very targeted in his weight training. He is very serious in the gym and he doesn’t want any part of this chatty person over here [gesturing toward herself.]” Upton said.
And Verlander isn’t doling out athletic advice. Upton said, “He tries, but he’s learned. Men and women need to work out differently, because I think women are very nervous to weight train due to [fear of] bulkiness. It’s the same weight training but it’s targeting different areas, so that you’re working out and burning your metabolism.”
Asked about the concept of companies taking a stance on social justice and other issues such as Nike’s support of NFL free agent Colin Kaepernick, Upton said, “I think you have the platform and you’re getting information out. And the brands are doing that in a way that makes sense for their brand, then I think everyone should speak their minds and influence and use the marketing that we have.”
Solely in New York for work purposes, the three-time Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover star has been following the spring collections from afar. “It’s more in a sad way, because I’m like, ‘Wow, I can’t fit in any of that being pregnant. But I have been looking at everything. Everything looks great — I’m excited for brighter colors. I always love Zimmermann, Jason Wu, Michael Kors and Brandon Maxwell.”
In light of the greater diversity on the runways and in fashion advertising, Upton was asked if she sees that as longstanding. “It’s definitely a trend right now, but I hope it is longer-standing. It also has created inspiration for designers to start designing for all body types. That is where I personally disagreed with. Because you’re only having one body type on the runway, you’re only designing for one body type. Now we’re able to get shapes and styles that are flattering for all body types,” she said.
Part of the incentive for working with Copper Fit was to encourage women “to really put yourself first and feel confident with yourself by being healthy,” she said. Given the pressures of social media, “and always comparing yourself to somebody else’s best, when maybe you don’t feel yours,” she said her biggest goal is to try to reach people who are struggling with their confidence, “to encourage them to get out, be active and put themselves first and get back to the place of loving themselves.”
As a model with The Lions, Upton is friendly with model and activist Cameron Russell who used her Instagram account to post anonymous on-the-job sexual assault and abuse stories alleged by models. [In February, Guess’ cofounder Paul Marciano stepped down after Upton, who had worked for the brand, alleged sexual harassment.] “In every workplace, you have unpleasant experiences. I was very verbal about the difficulties that I experienced with certain brands. But I think that’s what’s so exciting about women speaking out. We’re able to get to the place of a safer environment where everyone is being treated equally in the workplace. That should have been obvious but it’s taken until now.”
Looking ahead, Upton said skydiving is high on her list of things to do. “There are a lot of thrill things that I want to do. Being pregnant, I feel very limited. I made a terrible promise to my husband that I would wait for him to go skydiving and now I have to wait for his contract to be over. His contract says that he can’t skydive.”
As is, that will take a few years. “But I might break the promise — it might be worth it.” Upton said. “I’ll just say, ‘I want to test it out for your safety.’”