PHOTO: Kate Upton Lands Coveted 'Sports Illustrated' Swimsuit Edition Cover

The 19-year-old Florida native is the succesor to such beauties as Brooklyn Decker, Bar Refaeli, Tyra Banks and Elle Macpherson

Kate Upton, a relative newcomer to the modeling scene, has been revealed as the cover girl for the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. The 19-year-old Florida native poses in a microscopic red-and-brown bikini on the magazine cover, which has been graced in the past by such high-profile models as Brooklyn Decker, Bar Refaeli, Rebecca Romijn, Tyra Banks and Elle Macpherson.

"This means so much to me personally," Upton told People magazine of appearing in the coveted cover spot. "This has always been my dream."

Upton signed with a major modeling agency when she turned 18 last year, and immediately landed two high-profile gigs: a Guess lingerie campaign, and the 2011 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. (For her first SI appearance, the curvy model did one photo shoot wearing only body paint, and was voted "Rookie of the Year.") Since then, she's made regular appearances in the Victoria's Secret catalog, and has struck sexy poses in the pages magazines like Esquire and Complex. But she says she doesn't want to be modeling bras and bikinis forever.

"If I get pegged as a bikini girl, that's fine, and that can still translate into acting or other areas," she's said.

Upton's acting career is already off to a decent start; she had a cameo in last year's Tower Heist and appears in the upcoming Three Stooges movie. But Upton's best-known role may be a viral video taken in the seats of a Clippers game, in which the model does a goofy-but-sexy version of "the Dougie." Taken on a friend's cell phone, the video has more than three million hits on YouTube. Watch it below and decide for yourself: Does Kate Upton have what it takes to go from magazines to movies?

 

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