Kate Upton on Her First Sports Illustrated Cover: ‘I Felt Terrible About Myself’

She may be the most lusted-after woman in the world, but supermodel Kate Upton doesn't always love being the object of everyone's affection.

Shockingly, it was what came after she'd landed the coveted cover of "Sports Illustrated's" Swimsuit issue in 2012 — an honor she repeated in 2013 — that both made the 21-year-old a household name and brought out a darker side to being the new "It" girl.

[See More Photos of Kate Upton From Elle's September Issue]

"After my first Sports Illustrated cover, I felt terrible about myself for a solid month," Upton tells Elle in its September issue. "Every single guy I met was either married or about to be married, and I felt like I was their bachelor present or something. I'm not a toy, I'm a human. I'm not here to be used. I am a grown woman, and you need to figure your shit out."

And while the Michigan-born, Florida-raised beauty didn't confirm (or deny!) the rumors that she's romantically involved with "Dancing With the Stars" pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy, she did divulge a bit a of her current approach to dating.

[Check Out Kate Upton's Hottest Red Carpet Looks]

"I really have never had a serious relationship in the industry. I'm just having fun. Obviously I have a very busy schedule at this time in my life, and I don't put relationships as a priority."

Being seen as a sexpot isn't the model’s only lament. Upton, who'll appear alongside Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann in "The Other Woman," out next year, says she also bristles at the assumption that she's just a dumb blonde.

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"People deal with models like they are children," she notes. "They think they can pull one over on you. It's actually funny. I'm always like, I'm about to pull something on you, and you're so focused on thinking I'm dumb you're not even going to know."

Upton even tells the mag the small cross tattoo she sports on the inside of her right middle finger was inspired by someone who dared to pass judgment on her while she was on the job.

[Best Swimsuit Moments in Pop Culture History]

"I was at a photo shoot and I was wearing a cross necklace that my mom bought me, and somebody made a joke like, 'Why are you wearing a cross? Like you would be religious.' And then they took [my necklace] away. I was really affected by that. The whole thing made me realize that I do want [a cross] with me, at all times."

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