Posted on: 01/28/2013

Kate Upton"s model career is shaping up nicely

Usually, the world is buzzing right about now over who will grace the cover of the 2013 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. But last year"s chosen one, Kate Upton, is still in the spotlight � and is turning out to be the most profitable model the magazine has ever churned out. This week, Upton will be unveiled as the new model for Sam Edelman in a campaign with photographer Sebastian Faena, a source tells us. Ivan Bart, senior vice president and managing director of IMG, which reps Upton, tells Confidenti@l they knew they had something special "the minute she walked in the door" on her 18th birthday. "I would try to get her in front of famous photographers, even though she was a voluptuous swimsuit model, and her personality would change that conception of her," Bart tells us. "If we saw resistance, we would say, "Just meet her" and she would change their minds. She"s hilarious and she makes you feel good. Brands know that value." Upton, 20, has done campaigns for Guess, Dooney & Burke, Skullcandy, SoBe and the swimwear company Beach Bunny. She has had roles in "Tower Heist" and "The Three Stooges" and photo shoots featured in Italian Vogue, Harper"s Bazaar, V, GQ and Esquire. She"s flaunted her curves in commercials for Mercedes-Benz and Carl"s Jr., and that"s only a small slice of her resume, which has rocketed her to multimillionaire status in under a year. Irina Shayk, SI"s 2011 covergirl, has not been as successful as Upton. Brooklyn Decker, 2010"s face, has transformed into a successful actress. "It"s really only the beginning for (Upton)," Bart says. "Kate"s only beginning to first realize the power that she has. Last year to this year it was still a lot of building blocks, now brands want to up their value. A lot of products are now approaching us because she"s accessible and women are captivated by her. Last year it became very clear in my mind that she was a supermodel like Cindy Crawford." Upton"s agent, Lisa Benson, says Upton"s next foray will likely be in acting � but that she"s taking it very seriously. "She has so many roles offered and network TV calls every single day with something," she says. "What"s kept her apart is she"s doing the homework and studying, and should she make that transition, she"ll be ready. She is waiting for the right role that she will be good at." Benson adds that Upton is certainly not shedding that bikini any time soon, though. "Right now, she wants to focus on modeling because it is lucrative for her," she says. YOUR SERVE, SUSAN Susan Sarandons table-tennis hotspot, Spin, is being franchised. The New York-based social club, now open in Los Angeles as a private social club with Andre Balazs, also has locations in Toronto and Milwaukee. "She is franchising it and she"s opening many more locations across the country in the next few years," a friend of the actress tells us. More beer. More pong. Never a bad thing. KATY GETS WAXED She"s been nominated for nine Grammys and won two AMAs, but now Katy Perry"s been honored in a way she can really wax poetic about. The 28-year-old pop star was immortalized in wax over the weekend at the Las Vegas Madame Tussauds museum. On Saturday, Perry posed for the unveiling of a life-sized sculpture whose look was inspired by the blue "do she sported during her 2011 California Dreams tour.