KATE UPTON got her first "Sports Illustrated" cover when she was 18 . . . and it was NOT a good experience. She tells "Elle" magazine, quote, "I felt terrible about myself for a solid month.
"Every single guy I met was either married or about to be married, and I felt like I was their bachelor present or something. I'm not a toy, I'm a human. I'm not here to be used. I am a grown woman, and you need to figure your [crap] out."
Kate also wants you to know she's NOT a dumb blonde . . . quote, "People deal with models like they are children. They think they can pull one over on you.
"It's actually funny. I'm always like, I'm about to pull something on you, and you're so focused on thinking I'm dumb you're not even going to know."
Kate also says she's not dating MAKSIM CHMERKOVSKIY from "Dancing With the Stars". But she stops short of saying they're not FORNICATING. She says, quote, "I really have never had a serious relationship in the industry.
"I'm just having fun. Obviously I have a very busy schedule at this time in my life, and I don't put relationships as a priority."