A decade with Sports Illustrated Swimsuit is an accomplishment only a handful of women can claim. Kate Bock is the most recent model to join the 10-timers club. Since moving away from home as a teen to pursue her dream of becoming a model, the 34-year-old Canadian beauty has been unstoppable. Her first debut with SI Swim took her to the Easter Islands in 2013; her most recent photo shoot had her swimming with sharks in Belize.
As on-the-go as she is, the one constant in her life that has never wavered is her close relationship with her family and friends. “I think what I learned most of all is that the relationships you have around you are the most important, whether they’re near or far,” she says. “I left home at a really young age, and I'm still incredibly close with all of my cousins, aunts, uncles and friends. I have both sides of my family in a group chat every single day. I have different friends all over the place. Even though I’m the one who was never there for all the birthday parties or all the parties when we were in college; at the end of the day, I stayed in touch with everyone, maybe even closer because I was never there.”
With SI Swimsuit, she has grown to love a new family, one that has afforded her to unforgettable travel experiences and new business ventures. Below, Bock opens up about the last 10 years with SI and what she hopes the next decade will entail.
The Arena Media Brands, LLC and respective content providers to this website may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.
More from SwimLife
Looking back, did you ever imagine you’d be with the brand for 10 years?
“I think I knew that that was something I would have always wanted, but not necessarily something that I ever thought was a possible option. Every year I get nervous or wonder what might happen. You never know for sure that you’re back. And it’s always such an honor to be asked.”
Do you have a favorite SI location or moment that stands out?
“I think there was something about Bali [Bock visited there for the 2020 Swimsuit Issue]. The feeling for me on set, I just felt so good in my body. I was happy. I felt confident. My hair was extra glowy that year, whatever it was. All the little things just felt like they were all coming together. And the team, I just had the best trip. I don’t know; I think every year there’s been something special and something magical about each one. The fact that they’re all different and that I’ve gotten to go so many places all around the world with these people is a dream. It’s so lucky that I get to keep working with the same people again and again. I love them so much.”
Over this past decade, how have you changed in terms of being on set?
“I’ve gotten all these opportunities to really learn and grow with Sports Illustrated. I started coming to shoots with mood boards. I think it helped me kind of hone in on my creativity because every year is a little bit different based on the location, the photographer or just the weather and the vibe that we have, the swimsuits. It allowed my creativity and understanding of this industry to really flourish. I think every year I become more comfortable with myself and with my body. And they also know me so much better. I’m more comfortable asking questions. I now get to use what I’ve learned in so many other projects.”
And you have a bunch you are working on! What would you say you are most passionate about?
“I definitely notice more and more that I have a very clear aesthetic that I hadn’t realized before. My mom’s like, ‘What are you talking about? You always made mood boards in your room. You were always very specific about what color ski jacket you could wear. Everything had to match. You had a very clear image and aesthetic for what you wanted things to look like.’ I think figuring out how to use that and verbalize it and be able to explain to a brand or to a person what you want creatively out of something has really grown throughout my years of modeling.”
Let’s take it back to Cattura Jewelry!
“That was my first personal business venture and was something that I started doing years ago because I liked them and wanted those pieces. [SI] kind of helped me move forward with that and ended up shooting the jewelry in the issue. That was the first step I took into entrepreneurial life beyond modeling.”
And your collaboration with Bond-Eye Swim was a natural progression from modeling swimsuits…
“For this project in particular, I got to creative direct. I got to pick the colors, the design. I got really involved in the whole thing and hired the photographer, did the editing and put together mood boards.”
Pompette was a venture that came organically from working with SI…
“Pompette did a partnership with Sports Illustrated, and they were gifting it to the girls to do a little PR press package. I tried it, and the packaging was so aesthetically me. The product was clean, gluten-free, sugar-free, and it's low in calories. It tasted great, and the flavor profiles were so nice. I was like, ‘O.K., this is very me. How do I get involved?’ Rather than just trying to get involved by doing an influencer-type of post, I really got involved with the brand and started working with them from the inside out. I’m their chief brand officer. I’m really involved, and it’s been such a cool learning experience and something so different than modeling.”
You also work with your fiancé Kevin [Love] on something as well…
“Abby’s Better Butter is something that came to us. Kevin’s manager actually first found her. She was at [NBA All-Star Weekend], and they saw the product. Abby was then a 15-year-old girl who couldn’t find healthy, low-sugar, low-calorie snacks. A lot of packaged goods have so many weird ingredients in them that aren’t necessarily good for you but sort of promote themselves as though they are, so she started making nut butters at home and was selling them at farmer’s markets. Now they’re all over the place. They’re doing so well, and Kevin and I both are involved in the company. We’re really both always looking for healthy alternatives and healthy snacks, and we’re huge nut butter fans. They now have squeeze packs, which we were really pushing for. I bring them on shoots with me, literally have them in my bag all the time. It’s just an on-the-go snack. That was just another really natural fit that has been such a fun time to work with.”
It seems the trick is to align yourself with products and brands that you believe in?
“I think that the world has kind of gotten to a weird place with influencing being a job. I’ve been really careful. My space is clean, sustainable, healthy, health and wellness, fitness. I’m trying to keep everything that I’m involved with or invested in or the face of within that umbrella.”
What have you learned about yourself as a businesswoman?
“I have learned that I’m very opinionated and feel very clear about how I want something to look or to be and that I need to figure out how to work or how to find people that understand my vision.“
What is a helpful tip you learned for future entrepreneurs or young girls like Abby, who have a vision?
“Just ask questions. That’s something that I’ve done my whole life. I was never shy. I will put my hand up or I will approach someone. Just try to learn from anyone you can. You never know if it’s someone at the airport, someone at a meeting or someone at a Sports Illustrated event who might introduce you to a brand that has nothing to do with swimsuits that turns out to be something you’re really interested in! Just express what you love, what you’re passionate about, and talk to people about it.”
As you get older, how have your priorities shifted?
“I feel like I have no free time, and I am constantly running around, but maybe that’s what I’ve gotten used to in this industry. I do remember when I first started, and I’ve always been sort of an A-type person that loved a calendar and being organized and knowing what’s coming up next and how to prepare myself. Now in this industry, you just never know. Maybe tomorrow I’m flying somewhere, and I don’t even know yet. There have been multiple times when I’ve had to get on planes to foreign countries three hours after getting the call. I think just being O.K. with chaos is what I’ve learned and that everything works out. As long as you feel good and you know that you’re always responsible and taking care of yourself so that you can be ready to just jump on the go, everything’s going to be fine. And life is such an adventure—what a lucky job I have that I might be going to Italy tomorrow and I don’t even know it yet.”
Your passport always has to be current! Do you have an essentials bag always ready to go?
“My cosmetics bag is basically always packed and a few snacks. My Abby’s are always in the bag. I always have instant oatmeal, so you just add hot water and Abby’s. If I’m on a plane or a train or whatever, I have a healthy meal that’s going to be satisfying, that’s good. And I get a banana at the airport because airports have the worst food ever. I don’t understand that, but that’s just where we are. And yes, have your passport ready. I think it’s just being able to go with the flow. You can just function and just be all over the place, and it’s fun and it’s an adventure. I think there’ll be a time that I’ll look back and wish that I had done even more.”
Thinking about the next 10 years, what do you envision for yourself?
“I am still trying to just be comfortable with not knowing anything because with my career and with Kevin’s career, we really have no control over most of it. We don’t really know where we’re going to live or for how long or what that might be like. We’re working on a lot of new projects right now, different kinds of collaboration lines. It’s one of those funny ones where I know we can’t really say too much before it comes out, but I do have a lot of exciting projects. I’m trying to spread my time between and give all my attention to all of them, which is a little bit difficult, but I’m really passionate and excited about all of them. My future, I hope I find more success in business and more success in balance.”