Kate Upton - the Sports Illustrated cover girl and one of the world's most famous models - had to pay $25,000 of her own money to attend this year's Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The Met Ball has long been the most sought-after invitation on the New York social calendar, but Upton was not originally on the list. Vogue editor Anna Wintour approves every invitee, and it took a visit to Vogue's Times Square offices by Upton to gain approval. A source told the New York Post, "She told Anna she would really like to attend.Then she offered to pay for her own ticket. Kate then whipped out her check-book and paid the $25,000 for her seat. Anna took the check on the spot". The fund-raising dinner helps to finance the Costume Institute's annual expenses, and was attended by the likes of Scarlett Johansson, Carey Mulligan, Emma Stone and Beyonce. According to insiders, Upton is scheduled to feature prominently in a forthcoming issue of Vogue, in a "makeover" themed article.

In the end, Upton's sparkly Michael Kors gown for the prestigious evening was slammed by fashion critics. Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton said, "You're such a pretty girl, Kate.Next time, $ave your money".