The beautiful Jessica Pérez spoke with Fox News Latino about appearing in the pages of Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Edition.

The 49th edition of the magazine’s most anticipated issue of the year, which hits stands today, features the gorgeous Costa Rican among the bevy of beauties.

Even though the cover was leaked last night, showing that Kate Upton had won the coveted spot, Pérez and the rest of the models appeared on last night’s Late Show with David Letterman to officially reveal the cover.

After winning the magazine’s 2011 model search, Pérez is quickly making a name for herself in the modeling world.

Growing up in Costa Rica, the SI rookie said the trip to do the issue’s pictorial in Panama was “the best I have ever taken for work.”

She also felt a great “sense of pride for getting to do (her) first Sports Illustrated shoot in Central America.”

Having also worked with Victoria’s Secret, Pérez says she loves to work with them and Sports Illustrated because they are “so positive about women with curves,” which Pérez considers to be her best asset. 

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For Pérez, growing up in Latin America has helped her grow as a person because “you see a lot of things that you aren’t exposed to” in the U.S.

Living in different countries, including Honduras and Ecuador, has helped Pérez adapt more easily. 

The curvaceous model talked about times growing up when her house didn't have electricity. That made Pérez very conscious about the privileges she enjoys.

“Living in Latin America helps you realize the world isn’t perfect, life is complicated," she said.

Her advice to young Latinas who want to pursue modeling may surprise some. 

Aside from working hard, Pérez thinks education is very important and that her own decision to go to college before pursuing modeling was the best one she has ever made.

Pérez quoted her father, who always told her that “education is the only thing that no one can take away from you.” 

Pérez feels her education gives her a sense of security that allows her to take more risks in her career.

Pérez believes the best thing anyone can do is go with their instinct.

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While Pérez has a boyfriend, her mind is more on the SI Swimsuit Edition than anything else. 

When her boyfriend asked her what they were doing for Valentine’s Day, Pérez told him, “Valentine’s Day? Who cares about Valentine’s Day? It’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit watch!”

Still, she promised to step up the romantic gestures, saying maybe this time “I’ll get him flowers.”

While Pérez misses her family in Latin America, she feels that in New York, the “possibilities of things you can do are infinite.”

You can contact Kacy Capobres vía Twitter: @kacyjayne 

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