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. Phattee

    Am I the only one who thinks this waxing fad has outlasted its welcome?

    February 14, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phattee

      er, overstayed its welcome, I mean.

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

      yup. only one.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Forrestal

    She looks a little to baby-doll for my taste. But there are smart people who pick SI cover models, and they must know who their readers want to see.

    February 14, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeffc

      ...Maybe I am getting old but...Having a 19 year old on a cover of this magazine seems a bit creepy.

      February 15, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. leeintulsa

    i'm sure she'd press charges...

    February 14, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Forrestal

    She'd have nothing to do with a guy from Tulsa.

    February 14, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. MentalGiant

    She must appeal to the youngsters

    February 14, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Billy Z

      Yep and the dirty old men who think that somehow they could land a 19 y/o girlfriend!

      February 15, 2012 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  6. leeintulsa

    there's a video?! might have to get on the computer..

    February 14, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael J.

      Aren't you already there now, typing this?

      February 14, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      @michael j: phone, actually.. and can't see video

      February 14, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jen

    Okay, I know I am officially old because she looks like a baby! Cute girl, not putting her down, just sayin'!

    February 14, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • leelanau

      She is a baby. She is 19 years old. Part of the pedophilication of our society by media.

      February 15, 2012 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  8. alva puddin

    She is beautiful but the bikini that she is modeling is ill fitting and not at all flattering and the angle of the photo is unappealing as well. They chose a great model but other than that, the cover is bad.

    February 14, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris


      February 14, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • real model

      I agree. The swim wear wears her. The photo is not flattering to her. Where is this girl's waist anyway? At 19 most women look like that. At 19 I looked better than that! Media has for so long slapped bare girls in front of us constantly. There is nothing left to see. Meaning: I really do not care.

      February 15, 2012 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
  9. Bert Bigdongle

    And then to my bedroom. The cycle is complete.

    February 14, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©


      February 14, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Creepy middle aged guy

    Yea, that's what I'm feeling like right now.


    February 14, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. 3fingeredjack

    A friend just pointedly observed that she was young enough to be my which I replied: "Yes, but she's NOT!!!!

    February 14, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. banasy©


    February 14, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. raven

    Hey, it's a bit OT, but what does this € symbol mean? Or this ¥ ? Anybody??

    February 14, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liberal Arts grad

      Euro and Yen.

      February 15, 2012 at 6:16 am | Report abuse |
  14. Rockitman

    she's closer to my grandson's age than mine. i feel like a pervert BUT I'M NOT

    February 14, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jaynicia

    Wow...that 'kini is kinda scant...

    February 14, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
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