BATD ON Mar 20, 2014 AT 3:22 pm

by Annie Vischer

Kate Upton: How Social Media Made A Megastar

Kate Upton: How Social Media Made A Megastar.

Kate Upton is undoubtedly one of the girls of the moment. But she’s not an A-list movie star (yet), she’s not the latest young thing from RADA, she’s not a 14 year old model discovered outside Topshop and she’s not any form of rising-star-in-music nominee. What exactly is she? She’s a model, but so far primarily for ‘lads mags’. She’s dabbled a little in movies, the latest being a small-ish part alongside Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann in upcoming comedy The Other Woman though as enjoyable as we’re sure it will be, it’s not exactly a fame earning role of the Lupita Nyong’o calibre. How exactly has this blonde bombshell been catapulted from the small town country existence she started out with, to landing the cover of Vogue?

The answer? Well it all begins on YouTube in 2011. Sitting innocently in the seats at a Clippers game, Cali Swag District’s ‘Teach Me How to Dougie’ kicks off over the loudspeaker. Her friend picks up her phone and films Kate beguilingly yet inexpertly jigging around to the tune. There’s nothing special about it. Unless you count her bouncing blonde hair, her bouncing…other things, girl-next-door smile and on-the-mark sense of rhythm. To quantify it, the video has nearly 3 million hits. (Scroll down to watch the video).

Kate Upton's first IMG polaroid alongside her US Vogue cover.

Kate Upton’s first IMG polaroid alongside her US Vogue cover.

Terry Richardson cashed in on her YouTube appeal too. This time, predictably, in a far more obvious way. There’s another mainstream dance-gimmick song in the background, namely the Cat Daddy. Kate wears a smaller-than-small bikini and gets dipping and undulating to the beat. It’s undoubtedly sexy, and in true Terry Richardson fashion, teetering on the brink of crossing the line. She quits the dance once she feels everyone’s seen enough, bringing her arms shyly over her bikni top, pushing the camera out of the way as she laughs. All at once she’s back and her girl-next-door wholesomeness returns. This video (perhaps thanks to the bikini) is currently standing at nearly 20 million hits.

Kate’s an intelligent girl and she knows her appeal. She knows that, despite her height and lean build, her cup size makes fashion and editorial modelling work a no-no. Her aim was to get on the cover of Sports Illustrated. This was not, what some have judged to be, a careless and fame-hungry form of ambition, but a knowing girl’s awareness of her own looks and abilities. Her looks were niche and she knew how and where she wanted to use them in order to pave her path to celebrity. And she did it in the right way. She didn’t get cheap portfolio shots done at the first opportunity, she didn’t fling herself in the path of famous sportsmen, she didn’t hunt down the paparazzi. Instead she cold-called the IMG desk for weeks, her persistence finally paying off when she got a meeting with a scout, and then the agency’s senior vice president. She shook Ivan Bart’s hand, saying that she really wanted to be a part of his company. Her determination and professionalism was evident, and she was on the agency’s books in an instant.

Kate Upton on the cover of Carine Roitfeld's Fashion Book.

Kate Upton on the cover of Carine Roitfeld’s Fashion Book.

She’s an avid tweeter and knows how to keep her Twitter followers hooked. Rarely a day goes by when her feed isn’t updated at least three times. And when Vine made it big? Kate knew her video popularity and took to it with a smile. When talking about Twitter (she has 1.29 million followers and counting), Kate told US Vogue ‘It’s just me sharing my life, I like it if it’s authentic and in the moment and happening. I didn’t buy the magazines that had models on the covers [when I was younger], because I didn’t know them. So I think this kind of gives me, as a model, a personality that people can connect with’. So that’s what social media gave her. A personality behind the face, that bridged the gap between her appeal to men visually, and her appeal to women as a successful, gorgeous curvy girl.

She has been snubbed by the likes of Victoria’s Secret, but has won over the fashion world with grace and poise. Carine Roitfeld turned the tables on everyone’s perception of Kate Upton when she put her on the cover of her CR Fashion Book, fully clothed in a sweater, holding a group of ducklings over the assets that had fuelled her modelling career thus far. Kate knew the significance of this shoot, and thanked Carine for being the first editor to put her on a cover in clothes.

Since then Kate has appeared on the cover of Vogue, Vanity Fair, Elle and Harpers Bazaar. Pretty good going. Refreshingly whatever the weather, Kate always seems to be smiling and happy with herself. A rarity nowadays when every up and down of a star’s life and wardrobe is captured in the press, it’s a quality to be admired. We’ll certainly be giving her a follow on Twitter. @KateUpton.

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