• kate upton black dress clevage reuters.jpg

    January 14, 2014. Kate Upton arrives for the 50 Years of Beautiful broadcast special show celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, California.Reuters

The world first fell in love with the lovely Kate Upton when she graced the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2011. Since then, the 21-year-old has moved onto acting. Perhaps it was her winning smile that captured our hearts? Whatever "it" is, Kate's got it.

Find out five things you didn't know about the Michigan native.

  • 1. Dedicated to her craft

    Reuters

    While Kate might look comfortably cool on the cover of her 2013 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition, the actress revealed she almost died at the Antarctica shoot.

    "When I came back [from the shoot] I was losing hearing and eyesight because my body was shutting down, it was working so hard to keep warm," Upton said on the "Today" show.

    Out of a dozen or so photos in which she appears, the cover shot "is the most clothes I'm wearing in the whole issue," she said. "It was a sort of I-love-you from the editor: 'I'll let you wear a coat for this one.'"

    Boy are we glad Upton found a way to warm up.

  • 2. Kate's other talent

    Before pursuing a modeling career at age 15, Upton was a competitive equestrienne who won 4 championships. Kate channeled her love for horses when a video leaked online of her riding a horseback in the nude.

  • 3. Whirlpool heiress

    Reuters

    Kate's great-grandfather is a co founder of the Whirlpool Corporation. Michigan brothers Frederick Stanley Upton and Louis Upton first founded the Upton Machine Company in 1911 with their uncle Emory. In 1950, the company was renamed to Whirlpool Corporation and today is a billion dollar company.

  • 4. Acting debut

    Upton currently stars in "The Other Woman" alongside Leslie Mann and Cameron Diaz. But this isn't the star's first time in a major film.

    She had a tiny part in Ben Stiller's "Tower Heist" in 2010 and can be seen as a the sexy Sister Bernice in 2012's "The Three Stooges" in the clip above.

  • 5. Family resemblance

    AP/Reuters

    Kate isn't the first Upton to make the news. Her uncle is Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI).

    The model even spent her 21 birthday with the Republican congressman.

    "I hung out with my uncle at a Republican convention," she told Jimmy Kimmel when asked how she celebrated the big 2-1.