With her horse "Roanie Pony," she won three APHA Reserve World Championships, in 13 and Under Western Riding, 13 and Under Horsemanship and 14-18 Western Riding and named the 13 and Under Reserve All-Around Champion at the APHA World Championship Show giving her a total of five championships.
In addition, Upton ended up 3rd overall on the APHA youth Top Twenty. With a second horse Zipped, she won 14-18 Western Riding and were top 5 in 14-18 Horsemanship and 14-18 Western Pleasure in 2009.
In 2008, Kate Upton attended an open casting call in Miami for Elite Model Management and was signed the same day. Upton eventually moved to New York City, where she signed with IMG Models. Kate first modeled for Garage, then Dooney & Bourke. She is the 2010-2011 face of Guess. In 2011, Upton appeared in the SI Swimsuit Issue. She was featured in the body-paint section and eventually named "Rookie of the Year" for the issue. She has since modeled for Beach Bunny swimwear and Victoria's Secret.