It's almost unfair to be outrageously gorgeous and outrageously rich. Yet those two properties are connected for the fortunate few women who combine their looks with a solid work ethic (and a bit of luck) to reach supermodel status and then apply business acumen to build their fortunes.
To see who has cashed in on their looks and skills the most, here are the eleven top-earning models as listed in the Forbes 2015 list for the world's highest-paid models. (With apologies to Spinal Tap...our list goes to eleven.) The list compiles pre-tax earnings for models that receive most of their income from modeling and related endorsements, excluding other entertainment performances (acting, singing, etc.)
1. Gisele Bündchen – Add being married to a handsome wealthy professional athlete, and the perceived unfairness goes off the scale. However, Bündchen (pictured below) has rightfully earned her spot far above the other models on the list through her own lines of sandals and lingerie, as well as endorsement deals including Chanel, Balenciaga, and Under Armour. Her $44 million in earnings are actually down from last year's $47 million.
2. Cara Delevingne (tie) – Her acting career and friendship with Taylor Swift give Delevingne an increasingly high profile, leading to multiple ad campaigns including DKNY and Topshop. Her income shot up from $3 million in 2014 to $9 million in 2015, earning a tie for second place on the Forbes list.
2. Adriana Lima (tie) – Lima (pictured below) has been associated with Victoria's Secret since 2000 and also boasts endorsement deals with Marc Jacobs and H&M — not to mention a memorable Kia advertisement during the Super Bowl. Lima also raked in $9 million in 2015.
4. Doutzen Kroes – The Frisian beauty (pictured on top) has business relationships with L'Oréal, Tiffany & Co., Samsung, and Calvin Klein and also offers a line of cashmere sweaters. Her 2015 earnings were $7.5 million.
5. Natalia Vodianova – Among other endorsements, the Russian supermodel represents Calvin Klein and Guerlain. Endorsements and her line of lingerie through Etam earned her $7 million in 2015.
6. Miranda Kerr (tie) – A recent split with husband Orlando Bloom didn’t stop Kerr (pictured below) from banking $5.5 million in 2015 through relationships with Wonderbra, Swarovski, and Escada. Kerr's KORA Organics cosmetics line rounds out her income.
6. Joan Smalls (tie) – Smalls puts in enormous time on the catwalk while raking in endorsement money from Estée Lauder, Joe Fresh, and Marc Jacobs, among others. Her $5.5 million 2015 income ties for sixth place.
8. Lara Stone (tie) – Stone joins Kroes as the Dutch contingent in the highest-paid list, with contracts including L'Oréal, Calvin Klein, Tom Ford, and Stella McCartney. $5 million in 2015 income earns Stone a tie for eighth place.
8. Alessandra Ambrosio (tie) – Most of Ambrosio's $5 million income comes from her work with Victoria's Secret, but she supplements that income with clothing and swimwear lines as well as contracts with Schutz and Dafiti.
10. Candice Swanepoel (tie) – The South African beauty (pictured below) joins the $5 million club thanks to business arrangements with Max Factor, Versace, Victoria's Secret and Givenchy.
11. Karlie Kloss (tie) – Another FOS (Friend of Swift), Kloss is no longer associated with Victoria's Secret but is doing just fine at $5 million in income thanks to deals with the likes of Chanel, L'Oréal, Joe Fresh and Kate Spade.
These eleven models all topped the $5 million mark this year, and while Gisele was the only one to crack a double-digit income, don't be surprised if she is joined next year by one of the other ten on this list — or any of the other up-and-coming models.
Doutzen Kroes photo ©iStock.com/EdStock | Gisele Bundchen by Lili Ferraz (Lili Ferraz) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons | Miranda Kerr by Ahmad Fauzi Abdullah (originally posted to Flickr as DPP_0145) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons | Adriana Lima by Georges Biard [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons | Candice Swanpoel by By Photobra, Adam Bielawski (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons