From Model to Mogul

Models and Ex-Models Who Run Empires

From Model to Mogul
May 29, 2015

Stunning good looks, a sense of style — and business smarts underneath it all. It seems the rise of supermodels in the 1970s and 1980s also launched a rise in supermodel-moguls. Not content to live off their modeling fortunes, these ex-models have become savvy businesswomen and preside over successful enterprises.

These ladies have made some of the most successful transitions from modeling to the business world, although some still bring in most of their income from modeling.

  • Kathy Ireland – Ireland built her empire through merchandising on her name, but instead of focusing on glitz and glamour, Ireland targeted the average woman by attaching her name to everyday clothing and general consumer products. Starting with a line of socks, she eventually built her portfolio into one that outsells Martha Stewart and includes everything from furniture to ceiling fans. Her net worth is estimated at $350 million.

  • Gisele Bundchen – Mrs. Tom Brady actually outearns her Super-Bowl winning husband. Aside from a continuing modeling and endorsement income, Bundchen (pictured above) owns the Palladium Executive hotel in Brazil and launched a successful line of designer sandals. Her net worth is estimated at around $320 million. Bundchen is likely to overtake Kathy Ireland as the ex-model with the greatest net worth once her modeling career ends.

  • Tyra Banks – Banks went the entertainment route through the creation of America's Next Top Model, currently airing on the CW network, and her own talk show. She also authored the young adult book Modelland, a New York Times best seller. Her net worth stands at approximately $90 million.

  • Elle Macpherson – Macpherson is known for her highly successful lingerie line, although she has also had success in skincare products, workout videos with corresponding fitness wear products, and maternity outfits. The model once dubbed "the Body" by Time magazine has an estimated net worth of $45 million.

  • Iman – The iconic Victoria's Secret model branched out to form Iman Cosmetics that cater to women of color, as well as the Global Chic line of clothing and accessories that can be found on the Home Shopping Network (HSN). Her approximate net worth is $8 million.

  • Cindy Crawford – Crawford, known for her iconic beauty mark, has a successful line of beauty products. However, she is also following the Kathy Ireland path with the Cindy Crawford Home Collection line of home furnishings through J.C. Penney. Her net worth is estimated at $100 million.

  • Christy Turlington – The former face of Calvin Klein, Turlington's business emphasis outside of modeling is on yoga and corresponding active wear. The longtime yoga practitioner and advocate has a net worth of approximately $18 million.

  • Kate Moss– Moss is as much known as a celebrity as a model. Her non-modeling business interests predictably include clothing and handbag collections, but they also include a line of car phone accessories. Her total net worth is estimated at $75 million.

Other models have a significant net worth, including Miranda Kerr ($35 million) and Karlie Kloss ($6 million), and they will be forming the next generation of moguls. Kloss has already begun her path to business success with a line of healthy cookies and a line of denim products for very tall women (wonder how the 6'1" Kloss came up with that idea?).

As you notice the next generation of cover girls on various magazines and runways across the world, don’t think of them as the current generation of models — think of them as the next generation of successful businesswomen. Not all will succeed in business, but we will enjoy watching them try to climb up the ladder.

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mary | 10.04.15 @ 15:16
Iman was not a Victoria secret model. It was Tyra Banks
$commenter.renderDisplayableName() | 11.27.20 @ 17:20