After winning the Internet, Kate Upton takes SI’s swimsuit cover
Kate Upton, 19, is the cover model of Sports Illustrated's 2012 swimsuit issue, which hit stands Tuesday.
February 14th, 2012
05:33 PM ET

After winning the Internet, Kate Upton takes SI’s swimsuit cover

It’s not like Kate Upton wasn’t noticed before That Dance on the interwebs. The teenage model’s career was setting up nicely with her first appearance on the inside pages of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue last year - the magazine named her rookie of the year - and photo shoots with Guess and Victoria’s Secret.

But after her SI debut, she became an Internet sensation, fueled in part by buzz from the 2011 edition and social media - and, yes, by the YouTube video that has taught about 3 million people how to do her version of the Dougie.

Upton, 19, is now on the cover of SI's 2012 swimsuit edition, which hit stands Tuesday. As The New York Times has noted, her quick path to one of modeling's coveted achievements seems to have been facilitated by the fame she achieved in short order on the Web.

Exhibit A is the Dougie video, which hit the Web last spring, just weeks after her first swimsuit issue appearance. Upton was in the stands at a Los Angeles Clippers game when the Cali Swag District song "Teach Me How to Dougie" started playing. With writer Arash Markazi manning a camera, Upton started dancing in her seat.

In an interview with last year, she recalled that she knew the song from working out to it, but a friend had just showed her a way to dance to it the previous night.

"The song came on, I did it and I didn't even plan on it being on Twitter. And so to see it being that big of a hit, I said, 'Oh wow, I must do it really well,'" Upton told's Jimmy Traina.

Well enough to catch the attention of millions of new fans, apparently. Markazi posted the video to TwitVid, collecting a modest 364,000 hits. The video made it to YouTube on April 3, and has since gotten 3.2 million views.

Ivan Bart of IMG Models said he signed Upton shortly after the video appeared, despite concerns from others at the agency that she "wasn't 'fashion' enough," The New York Times reported. Her profile has continued to rise with further modeling jobs. Last month, AskMen put her at No. 2 on its "Top 99 Most Desirable Women of 2012."

Upton's deft use of Twitter (did you see her spat with hockey pro Sean Avery?) and the proliferation of her provocative pictures through the same outlet (and Tumblr) also has helped her take the fast road to fame.

Upton, born in Michigan (she's a niece of Michigan’s U.S. Rep. Fred Upton) but raised in Florida, was a former competitive equestrian who says she started modeling seriously after she turned 15, when someone signed her after an open call in Miami.

Making the swimsuit edition’s cover is “unreal,” she told SI.

“To me it means so much, because I grew up looking at all the Sports Illustrated models and admiring all of them, being in a sports-fanatic family,” she said in a video posted after the cover was released. “I know everyone talks about how it’s such a boost to your career, but it means a lot to me, personally.”

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Filed under: Celebrity • Showbiz
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. Forrestal

    She wouldn't be my first choice

    February 14, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Forrestal

    People who go to soft-side stories and complain that they're not important enough are lame. If its not to taste, do go here. This is an extensive website. I'm sure there is something that interests you.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. endpoliticalparties

    And her talent is......??? Oh, she likes to show her boobz, let's make her rich! What a country!! Grow Up America!!

    February 14, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris Synfield

      She displays her boobs, politicians act like boobs. I'd rather she'd get rich from her talents than pols getting paid in any way for their "talents". Fair is fair.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Forrestal

      She models sportswear.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Yeah because great looking women have never made a living off thier looks in any other country in the history of civilization.

      February 14, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Convoluted

    her talent is being pretty and nineteen...most woman are at 19...then come the kids and of luck and hopefully this won't be a double edged sword...

    February 14, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. rkdres

    I can't stand when people say "interweb"

    February 14, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • JonWNC

      Can't stand when people say Interweb... It's Interwebs, InterwebSSS!

      February 14, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • mehh

      I can't stand people who correct peoples spelling on made up words.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. C

    Maybe I'm getting old....but is anyone else kinda weirded out by the fact she's only 19? I mean, that's barely a women and barely legal!

    February 14, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Boy

      Yep, you are def old!

      February 14, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • aj

      Yep, you are ancient. Evolution was kind to her.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mc

      yes haven't your read? America is the new Sodom and Gomorrah....And I hear the priests like them young too....sick country and world this has become.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • C

      What's even worse is that I'm the same age as her. -_-

      February 14, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • rfa1231

      I agree, I had no idea she was that young! Eesh I wonder if she was even 18 when she posed for victorias secret

      February 14, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • C

      She had to have been barely 18. That's icky. I wonder what her parents think. . .or do they just see $$$

      February 14, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dood

    Enjoy it while you can, kid.

    February 14, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Me

    Cute girl..

    February 14, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lopaka

    c'mon.....where da coconut girls ?

    February 14, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Lopaka

    All that time , money, effort. Just for some photos.
    Don't forget we get to see the video " the making of an SI model " lol... gee, can't wait. I just go outside and cruise my beaches... mo bettah.

    February 14, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Forrestal


      February 14, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. nickp91

    from S.I. Rookie of the Year to cover girl

    February 14, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. raven

    Aw...pretty kid....hope she makes the best of it...I wish her well.

    February 14, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Nate

    This is News?

    February 14, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Forrestal

      People who complain about soft-side news are lame, Nate. Go somewhere else. You'll find hard news on this site.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Forrestal

    It's completely off topic, spammer.

    February 14, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Paul

    smart career manager and smart chick who can lie about the fame came to be just right down straight with a smile on her face...

    February 14, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
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