Credit: Jacob Andrzejczak/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated Photo: Sports Illustrated's 2012 Swimsuit Issue Cover Girl Kate Upton

Last year blond beauty Kate Upton became an overnight sensation, but just how did the 19-year-old model land her place in the spotlight?

Born and raised in Michigan (her uncle is a Republican congressman in the state), Kate signed with Elite Model Management in 2008 and then with IMG Models after moving to New York City. She made quite the splash in the 2011 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and she’s also posed for Guess, Beach Bunny swimwear, and Victoria’s Secret. If sex sells, she’s sellin’ it; her boobs featured prominently in a July 2011 commercial for Sobe, and she had a small role in the 2011 comedy Tower Heist (as a mistress).

But what really launched her star in 2011 was a viral video of her doing the Dougie at an L.A. Clippers game in April:

Credit: YouTube Photo: Kate Upton Does the Dougie at an April 2011 L.A. Clippers Game
Credit: Terry Richardson/GQ Photo: Kate Upton on the July 2012 Cover of GQ

This year is shaping up to be the Year of Kate. So far she’s covered the 2012 Swimsuit Issue, gotten downright nasty with a burger in a Carl’s Jr. commercial, filmed an ad for Zoo York that even Adult Swim and MTV refused to air, played an underdressed nun in The Three Stooges, and titillated guys everywhere with her July 2012 GQ cover (left) and photo spread. Of her ability to walk/blur the fine line between wholesome and uber-sexy, she tells GQ"It's like any job. You find your strengths and play them up."

As for her love life, Kate was rumored to be gettin’ cozy with Kanye West last April, and now she may (or may not) be dating smokin’ New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez. She's also been linked to Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander.

Watch a few of her hottest ads:

Credit: YouTube Photo: Kate Upton Stars in Racy Carl's Jr. Ad (VIDEO)
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Credit: Extra Photo: Kate Upton Stars in Banned Zoo York Commercial (VIDEO)
Credit: YouTube Photo: Kate Upton Stars in Sexy SoBe Ad

Totally random fact: Before she was a model, Kate was an equestrian who competed on a national level with her horse Roanie Pony.

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