Daisy Dumas July 20, 2012
Kate Upton, in her new incarnation, covering Sunday Times Style.
We have to hand it to Kate Upton - clearly not one for being pigeon-holed as a bikini model and a bikini model only, she is proving to be something of a style chameleon.
The buxom blonde, known less for the clothes she models than the body to which they cling, has overcome fashion industry criticism to land herself on the cover the most recent edition of the Sunday Times' Style magazine.
It seems that the 20-year-old may be well on the way to proving Victoria's Secret creative head, Sophia Neophitou, wrong.
Neophitou told the New York Times last year that she would never cast Upton in the glitzy, glamour-filled televised show because her face is "too obvious". The Victoria's Secret brand, let us remind ourseves, is built on lingerie.
The harsh judgement didn't end there. Upton was described as "a page three girl ... like a footballer’s wife, with the too-blonde hair and that kind of face that anyone with enough money can go out and buy."
But the Sunday Times has other ideas, proving that the worlds of both commerical and high fashion modelling are well within Miss Upton's grasp.
Breaking free from the swimwear model moniker, Upton wears a variety of jackets - with little on the bottom half - and, of course, heels.
And, to compound her rise to something other than lads' mags fodder, she recently featured in a US Vogue profile, dressed in fur-trimmed coat, long boots, cap - and not an inch of flesh on display. It was hot on the heels of a much-coveted ticket to the Met Ball and then came a foray into Spanish Vogue.
Her portfolio has certainly come a long way since covering Sports Illustrated's swimsuit edition last November - a splash that saw the Florida-local's career skyrocket overnight.
Credited with being the "Jayne Mansfield of the internet", Upton has played social media to her absolute credit - she now has around 466,300 Twitter followers, bringing an army of supporters to each and every publication whose pages she graces. Add to that Terry Richardson's Cat Daddy, a raunchy YouTube video of the blonde which went viral, and the ingredients for a very modern sort of success seem all in order.
Not one for holding back on the food front, Upton has in the past garnered attention, and respect, for being too curvaceous on the runway - a stage that reportedly saw the model's friends interject with some (possibly unnecessary) slimming advice.
That she's left her scantily-clad viral YouTube videos and campaigns for Guess denim and Beach Bunny far behind is a given, but her ambitions don't end here: The girl next door has superstardom squarely in her sights.
She told the New York Times: "For a long time, fashion has been going to celebrities.
"Celebrities are on the magazine covers, and nobody wanted models. But why not have a model celebrity? ... People told me I couldn’t be fashion, that I’m just an old-fashioned body girl, only good for swimwear. But I knew that I could bring back the supermodel. What can I say? I’m relatable."
From viral videos to Vogue, Neophitou may want to eat her words. After all, as Upton hinted to the glossy, just months ago: "I enjoy fashion so much but I don't think people realise it because I'm always in a bikini."