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. yo mama

    Something tells me your a bitter, lonley, unattractive sort of Big Boned girl. I'm sorry that you judge men by what your father did to you however with the right help you can learn to function in society like the rest of us. Jesus loves you ...have a nice day.

    February 15, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. goobernut

    @ann west – You've been drinking too much estrogen kool-aid, there are men who are happily married (over 26 years) with kids. Please don't be a clone of the estrogen rhetoric.

    February 15, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    Ah, Ann, yesterday your deleted comment was about fourth-grade boys...and I'll say again what I said then...
    Oh, yes, your jealousy of this young lady is showing, too.

    February 15, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy© need to take your medication as scheduled...

    February 15, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jame Gumb

    Are you a great, big fat person?

    February 15, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. marv

    I hope she gets horrible disfigured in some sort of accident. Then we'll see what she's really made of!

    February 15, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mb2010a

    Isn't PhotoShop wonderful...

    February 15, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. frontgate

    Why can posters use words like rack and boobs but not the T word?

    February 15, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. mb2010a

    Never have figured out what the "Swimsuit Issue" has to do with sports...

    February 15, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Who Cares!

      It's good to fap to!

      February 16, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. j-son

    she looks like an overdeveloped child. big deal

    February 15, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. bitter

    I think she's ickey and has cooties.

    February 15, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dougie

    I did her. Or, she did me, anyway.

    February 15, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. BOMBO ©

    I hope she makes enough money to remove that thing from her face.

    February 15, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • InsanityPlea

      can anyone say "GuacoMOLLLLLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEE"

      February 15, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • UniBrow

      Her eyebrows look like my brother's.

      February 16, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • JailBait

      She's 19? More like 13... Stop looking pedo.

      February 16, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • marckoart

      And yet all of you clicked on the article. You all act like she's not all that. You all lie. You know she's gorgeous. You just cant get anyone like her so you bad mouth her. Losers.

      February 16, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • ben

      she is really hot, i think anyone who hates on that is stupid. but she is not a woman, shes 19, shes still a girl. and also the dougie is a terrible song, her dance was cute but nothing noteworthy. if her chest was smaller she would not be that special. but it isn't, so i will drool over her. however, we have no idea what she is like as a person or what character she has. she has never had a bad day in her life, she comes from an affluent family, was a horseback riding champion, and is tall, blonde, and curvy and beautiful and started modeling at fifteen. When she hits a rough spot then we'll know how good of a person she is. also, on letterman she made some sarcastic remark about "how hard it is for models to make friends." she sounded really stuck up. which she probably is, but who cares, shes a model, no one in america cares about personality any more, right?

      February 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jesse dez

    she is an.....a model !

    February 15, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jakey

      wow she is so average, funny video clip but thats all....15 minutes are OVER !!

      February 20, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jim

    I am not sure where you guys find all these girls, however, if it wasn't for Izabel Goulart, your Swim Suit Edition would have been a wash. Go back out and find more like her.

    February 16, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Flippity Flappity

      She is too skinny.

      February 21, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
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