kate upton
Photo: Getty

Model and actress Kate Upton is the latest celebrity to join the #MeToo movement. In an exlcusive interview with Time magazine, released early this morning, the one-time Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore cover girl raised allegations of sexual harassment and body shaming against Paul Marciano, co-founder of fashion label Guess.

Upton first tweeted about her experience on 31 January 2018 and followed up just a week ago by reposting it on Instagram:

In her interview with Time, Upton details the years of sexual abuse that she faced through the years, starting when she was just 18 years old.

“After the first day of shooting the Guess Lingerie campaign [on July 25, 2010], Paul Marciano said he wanted to meet with me. As soon as I walked in with photographer Yu Tsai, Paul came straight up to me, forcibly grabbed my breasts and started feeling them — playing with them actually. After I pushed him away, he said, “I’m making sure they’re real.”” said Upton.

Related article: Models Share Stories of Sexual Assault in the Fashion Industry

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Upton in a Guess spring/summer 2011 ad campaign.

She went on to talk about the multiple times that Marciano would try to invite himself to her hotel room or to touch her inappropriately in “very dominating and aggressive” ways.

She also alleges that she faced retribution from Marciano by being fired many times, sometimes while she was on set of the photo shoot.

“Paul was reaching out to me constantly, always in communication about my next shoot. But I wouldn’t officially be booked until a few days before the actual shoot. It made me feel that if I cut off communication with him, I wouldn’t be booked again,” she said.

Related article: Model Cameron Russell Shares Horror Stories Of Sexual Harassment In The Fashion Industry

Thankfully, she was surrounded by friends such as photographers Yu Tsai and Ellen von Unwerth, who would make sure that Upton would not be alone with Marciano.

She recalled, “I talked to Yu Tsai about how scared I was and said I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t shoot anymore if this was how it was going to work. We came up with a plan that anytime Paul invites himself to my room, I would text Yu Tsai to be there so that I was never alone in a room with him. I was still very nervous and scared because clearly Paul was comfortable with touching me in front of him. But Yu Tsai assured me that he would look out for me, so that’s what we did.”

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Kate Upton with photographer Yu Tsai. Photo: Courtesy of Yu Tsai

Another incident involving photographer Ellen von Unwerth was another close shave, according to Upton.

“When we arrived at the hotel, Paul came right up to me, grabbed me hard by my arm and insisted he was taking me to dinner, just him and I, to celebrate the campaign. Ellen picked up on this, literally grabbed my other arm, and invited herself by saying she was so excited to celebrate the campaign with us. Paul told her she was not invited to dinner, and I felt like she saved me by pulling me away from him and jokingly walking me to the elevator, saying, “Well if I’m not going, Kate’s not going.””

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kate upton
Kate Upton photographed by Yu Tsai for Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore’s January 2016 issue.

In an exclusive email interview with Yu Tsai, one of the protectors Upton named, he told Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore, “I am proud of Kate as a powerful, strong and confident woman with the courage to share her story. My hope is that this will give strength to other women and men to speak up, especially those that have been coerced, manipulated, physically or verbally assaulted by people in power.”

He went on to add, “We, as part of a creative community, we need to hold ourselves accountable. Being silent is no longer an option. We need to keep the dialogue going, but not just in the West. The message needs to transcend across to the East as well to educate young aspiring models in Asia, and I hope Kate’s story will give voices to others that have been harassed to be brave, stand up and speak up.”

Stay tuned for updates as this story develops.