The 20-year-old model looked strikingly beautiful for the front page shoot and was chosen by editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman for her refreshing versatility.
"When I decided to shoot Kate for our first cover of 2013," Miss Shulman wrote in her editor's letter. "It was to kick off the year with a young women who is not a stereotypical fashion model - although, let's face it, she's hardly a heffalump!"
"It's very rare for a girl; to move from one area of the business to the other, largely due to the fact that fashion models are almost without curves, whereas swimwear girls are celebrated for them,"
Vogue's feature fashion director Sarah Harris also praised the young Upton, adding, "Growing up, she idolised Cindy Crawford, Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum. In the flesh, this all-American beauty resembles a young Anna Nicole Smith or Marilyn Monroe; her face is very pretty and perfectly symmetrical (with the exception of that mole, so exquisitely placed to the right, it looks like it might have been drawn on by the modelling gods). She also has the ability, with the slightest of expressions, to flit with ease between girlishly wholesome and full-on sex. All things considered, it's a knockout formula."