Photo courtesy of KC Montgomery
It was Memorial Day weekend about seven years ago, when Kate Upton was approached by Trump Model Management on the way home from the Memorial Day Classic horse show in Fort Worth, Texas.
She was only 12 at the time, but since then, Upton has found extraordinary success traveling all over the world modeling in exotic locations like Turkey, France, Germany and Italy.
“I always wanted to try modeling and was scouted at 12 years old by Trump Model Management, but my parents decided against it at that young of an age,” Upton says. “At 15 years old, I signed with Elite Model Management in Miami. I walked in and was signed that day. That Fall, I moved down to Miami and began going to castings, meeting clients and building up my portfolio. I am now signed with Elite in New York, which is where I am currently based out of. I am also signed with MGM in Hamburg, Germany and Chadwicks in Sydney, Australia.”
Although, modeling is now Upton’s current profession, her first love and true passion will always be showing horses.
“I started showing in 4-H when I was eight years old and took my first lessons from Katherine Kope in Melbourne, Florida,” Upton says. “A year later I started showing at APHA shows with Cedar Stone Acres and my horse A Tad of Scotch. That’s when we got my second horse, Too Shiny Forya, aka Roanie.”
“Roanie Pony,” as he was affectionately called, helped Upton achieve three APHA Reserve World Championships, in 13 and Under Western Riding, 13 and Under Horsemanship and 14-18 Western Riding. In 2006, the duo was named the 13 and Under Reserve All-Around Champion at the APHA World Championship Show. That same year, Upton ended up 3rd overall on the APHA youth Top Twenty.
“I had Roanie until I was 16 years old and then I sold him due to the demands of modeling,” Upton says. “Now, I show Zipped from the Heart in 14-18 events. We won 14-18 Western Riding and were top 5 in 14-18 Horsemanship and 14-18 Western Pleasure in 2009.”
Currently, Upton’s home base is in New York City, but most of her time is spent traveling all around the world to attend fashion, swimsuit and cosmetic photo shoots and campaigns.
“My first shoot was in Lima, Peru for a cosmetic line,” she says. “Since then, I travel frequently to Germany for one of my major clients, Bon Prix. I’ve worked for JC Pennys, Macys, Avon, Arbonne, Nordstrom, Target, Garage, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, RYGY swimwear, Lulu swimwear, and many others including companies from Turkey, France, Germany, and Italy. I shoot in places like Key Largo, South Beach, New York, L.A., Oregon, Idaho, Seattle, Dallas, New Jersey, Clearwater and others.”
In fact, Upton just recently returned from Sydney, Australia, where she spent a month living on the famed Bondi Beach, doing photos shoots for various Australian companies.
But don’t make the mistake that the life of a model is all jet-setting glamour and no hard work. Upton says a typical work day for her lasts anywhere from 10-12 hours and she is often flying in and out of different time zones with very little time off in between shoots.
Upton gave us an example of a typical two-week schedule.
- Photo shoot for Nordstrom in Seattle, WA
- Fly to Germany for a four-day shoot
- A couple of days off at home
- Fly to Hawaii
- Fly to Miami for a two-day shoot