Kate Upton poses in the Victoria's Secret catalogue

A few years ago–before anyone knew the name Kate UptonVictoria’s Secret Angel Candice Swanepoel was photographed at a press event for the brand, looking dramatically thinner than ever before. There was public outcry–Victoria’s Secret does, after all, set the standard for big, cheesy, wholesome femininity–so they picked up a Guess campaign face named Kate Upton and patted themselves on the back for hiring a hot, tan, blonde, buxom teenager to model underwear.

Then, of course, Kate Upton got real, real famous and–just as her meteoric rise was starting to demand people use the term supermodel–her old employer, Victoria’s Secret, said some really nasty, demeaning things about her. On record. To the New York Times. You’ll recall:

“We would never use” Ms. Upton for a Victoria’s Secret show, Ms. Neophitou said by telephone last week from London. And, while Ms. Upton has, in fact, modeled on occasion for the company’s catalog, her look, said Ms. Neophitou, is “too obvious” to be featured in what has become the most widely viewed runway show in the world..

“She’s like a Page 3 girl,” Ms. Neophitou said, referring to the scantily clad voluptuous women featured in The Sun, a London tabloid. “She’s like a footballer’s wife, with the too-blond hair and that kind of face that anyone with enough money can go out and buy.”

First of all, please take a deep, heady moment to laugh at the idea of Victoria’s Secret turning up their noses at a model for being “too obvious.”

Anyway. Since the Times piece, Upton’s proved surprisingly versatile and become even more famous than her fellow less obvious Angels (how many of them have landed the Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover twice–with a solo American Vogue and a solo Italian Vogue cover on top?).

So, Victoria’s Secret, possibly looking to tap back into Upton’s rocket fuel, recycled an old photo from one of her early shoots for the current catalogue. Buzzfeed noticed the old photo–prompting the New York Post to get some quotes from an anonymous source:

A source says Upton is also unhappy that VS never gave her a heads-up they were using the pictures now. The VS photos of Upton in a black bra surfaced yesterday, and buzz spread that the blond babe could be the next Angel, joining Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio. But, “The pictures are from 2011,” sniffed a source. “Kate’s not currently contracted to work with Victoria’s Secret, and they didn’t contact her before they used these images.”

Upton has every right to be irritated–what with the brand publicly negging her to the Times and all.

…Then again, she’s definitely getting the last laugh here.

(Buzzfeed, NYP)