Model Kate Upton took home the Maxim Top 100 crown on Thursday, earning the top position on the magazine's annual list.
The 26-year-old Upton stunned in the accompanying photo shoot in the Israeli desert.
"You know, I work really hard on myself: on feeling good, working out, being strong," Upton told the magazine. "Being number one on the Hot 100 is a little reward for all of the hard work."
Upton's career is a case of hard work paying off, even if it had a surprising start. She did not expect to become a model.
"I was a horseback rider, so growing up around the barn, you don't really think of yourself being in the fashion industry," she said of her childhood.
Upton was born in St. Joseph, Michigan and is the great-granddaughter of Frederick Upton, the co-founder of Whirlpool and the niece of U.S. Rep. Fred Upton. Her family moved to Florida in 1999, and it was there that a modeling scout spotted her after a horse show.
According to the Roanoke Equestrian, Upton was found by a Trump Model Management scout, but her parents waited until she was 15 to start her modeling career. She started at Elite Model Management.
"It seemed very glamorous," she told Maxim of her early modeling career. "You know, being able to travel and meet new people and experience new things." Those adventures still inspire her to this day."
Surprisingly, Upton still has new experiences in her career. The Maxim shoot was her first time to Israel, which she called one of her "bucket list trips."
"Israel is such a new country, but obviously with such old, rooted history," she said. "I went to Jerusalem and to the Dead Sea and floated around; my mom came with me."
The Maxim honor comes eight months after marrying Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander. She told Maxim she was lucky enough to marry her best friend, calling him an "amazing man" who inspires her every day.
Upton also broke into
The supermodel also recently accused Guess co-founder and former CEO Paul Marciano of sexual misconduct. She first accused him on social media in February, then discussed it in a TIME Magazine interview.
"Paul used his power to make me feel insecure and powerless, but I’m not going to let him intimidate me anymore. These men think they are untouchable, but times are changing," Upton told TIME.
Maxim started the annual Hot 100 in