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KATE TAKES EXPRESS: Kate Upton has been tapped as the brand ambassador for Express, the first celebrity spokeswoman to appear in the brand’s campaigns in the past decade. To kick off the liaison, Upton will host Express’ spring runway show at The Raleigh hotel in Miami Beach on Thursday. Upton’s ads for the retailer will launch in the fall.

This story first appeared in the March 12, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“The new partnership highlights the mutual admiration between Express and Kate and is the culmination of two iconic American establishments coming together,” said Michael Weiss, chairman and chief executive officer of Express, the 632-unit, $2 billion-plus chain.

This month, Express opened a three-level, 22,500-square-foot store in New York’s Times Square, with a billboard with a 9,000-square-foot LED screen, the biggest and highest-definition billboard in Times Square.

Upton was unavailable for comment.

Since launching her career in 2008, Upton, a Florida native, has quickly risen to fame. Known for her numerous cover appearances on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, the 21-year-old model and actress has appeared on the front page of such magazines as Vogue, Cosmopolitan, French Elle, GQ and Esquire. She will appear in the upcoming comedy film “The Other Woman,” which also stars Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann.

Express, which targets fashion-forward women ages 20 to 30, has stores throughout the U.S., Canada, Latin America and the Middle East. It also sells its merchandise on its Web site,

For the past year, Upton has been the face of Sam Edelman’s ad campaigns, and she will continue in that role in the fall. Upton was photographed by Craig McDean on a private beach in California for Sam Edelman’s spring 2014 ads.

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