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.”

Post by:
Filed under: Celebrity • Showbiz
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. deb

    If you look at her face – she is a cross between Cindy Crawford and Christie Brinkley. She's a cute girl. Congrats.

    February 15, 2012 at 7:10 am | Report abuse |
  2. Truthman

    Wait until you find out she is gay. As around about her "roommate".

    February 15, 2012 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. Edwin

    Looks buck toothed. Like a hot spongebob.

    February 15, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. Name*Andy

    She's okay, nothing special. Cute face, body is no big deal, photo not good at all. Would not have put her on cover,

    February 15, 2012 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bill C

    I am sure her daddy is proud. I have a 19 year old daughter. I would cringe if she did this (which she would not.)

    February 15, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • harrison

      Would you cringe if she was pulling down a couple million a year? Nothing wrong with this, she is a beautiful girl who has a promising career and after it is over she can go on to do anything she wants.

      February 15, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • HZ

      The thoughts people have when they look at another person whether that other person is naked or clothed is on the person having the thoughts. That's why if a nude person were to walk in front of a cow the cow would not think anything about it, unless the person had some hay or carrots: the cow is not imagining anything extra. This is supported biblically too. King David danced naked in front of a bunch of people and some self-rightous types said he was wrong. God said he did nothing wrong at all.

      February 15, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      She is so hot!

      February 15, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • yo mama

      Your daughter could not be a model for Purina much less Sports Illustrated. So don't worry old man, no need to get your bowels in an uproar.

      February 15, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frida

      Really? Yet I just bet your daughter wears pretty much the same thing when she goes to the beach. Be kind or , pls just be quiet.
      I wish for just one day, people would refrain from anything that hints of being negative. And, no, my name is not Pollyanna. Just an old woman who's grown weary of needless negativity.

      February 15, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • frontgate

      Yeah, I'm sure your daughter doesn't have the rack that Kate has. Or does she? Let's see some pics pop.

      February 15, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • You'd be surprised

      I know somebody that was rapped by a cow.

      February 15, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. No Headroom

    I would have chose to put her undercover....

    February 15, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  7. boyamidumb

    And we wonder why young girls today are walking around dressed like street corner strutters for hire.

    I think the "womens' movement" failed.

    February 15, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Grey

      Sadly, its the womens movement that has driven the entire direction the exploitation of women has taken. What they may want to do is actually spend some of their time and money on correcting the issue. Men are not going to do it.

      February 15, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  8. JustMe

    Wow! Another blonde girl with fake boobs! Genius!

    February 15, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • w@tch3r

      not fake, gloriously real

      February 15, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Markey-mark anderson

    ya id rather see girls in swimsuits than 3rd grade boys wrong demographic thats catholic preists and their alter boys I love Si swimsuit and just to say shes hot and has boobs so ya id rather see her nude than a third grade boy

    February 15, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  10. Turk

    I just dont think she's that hot....looks like 1,000,000 other women out there.

    February 15, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • jim

      I haven't seen many of that million in rural Virginia

      February 15, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. @ ANN WEST

    Hate men much?

    February 15, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  12. BobbyBill

    Saw her on Letterman last night. What a little brat with her ponies that "most of us don't know about"
    Nice rack, but otherwise far from attractive.

    February 15, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • horseyak

      I agree.

      February 15, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Huh??

    Um...married, happily, three children...which category do I fall into, you being the expert and all?
    It's amazing and scary that people like you exist...more frightening actually than the people you envision in your own fantasy world...

    February 15, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Really


    February 15, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. chief

    lots of places you can get counseling at.....

    February 15, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5