Despite the critics, Kate Upton has firmly established herself among modelling's elite.
Kate Upton has been named model of the year and will pick up the prize at the 10th annual Style Awards that kicks off New York Fashion Week on Wednesday (September 4, 2013), according to the Los Angeles Times.
The 21-year-old rose to fame as the buxom bombshell with the icy blue eyes, though has been turning heads in the high-fashion world too, gracing the cover of American Vogue as well as Elle and now Vanity Fair's 100th anniversary issue.
The decision to have her on the cover of the fashion bible made headlines worldwide and left Victoria's Secret red-faced. The company's stylist Sophie Neophitou had previously spoken out about the American model, saying she was "too obvious" a choice to appear in the annual catwalk event.
"We would never use [Upton]. She's like a Page 3 girl," she told the New York Times. "She's 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." However, the tide soon turned and Upton was furious when Victoria's Secret used images of her in one of its catalogues.
Aversion to Upton's dinstinct style was commonplace during her rise up the fashion ladder. During an interview with Vanity Fair, the model recalled, "I'm not going to name names, but one agency told me, 'You're too American, and everybody knows American women are lazy. I was so offended! I've never been so offended! I was like, 'You know that you're in America, right?' And it wasn't 'American models' - it was 'American women are lazy,' period! I feel like a lot of women would disagree with that. A lot!"
To Upton's credit, her PR over the past couple of years has been near perfect. She's now the curvaceous model from Florida who eschewed the accepted codes and conventions of being a high fashion model - choosing instead to embrace her image.
Fashion designer Nicole Richie will host Wednesday's event, with honors also going to stylist Rachel Zoe, designer Zac Posen, and the New York Giants wide receiver turned designer Victor Cruz.
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