Who Are the 7 Richest Female Supermodels?
Less than a decade ago, supermodels were restrained to those who were signed with large agencies like IMG Models, Ford Models, and Elite Model Management. Increasingly today, celebrities who got their start in television or are successful entrepreneurs have also parlayed to become models.
As the supermodel job description expands to social media influencing and modeling, they aren’t just found on the runways and covers of magazines anymore. They appear on TV, in movies, in music videos, and at football games.
In this article, we'll explore the seven richest supermodels in the world. All of them started as models, but since modeling work might only last 10-15 years, these women have created sustainable businesses to prolong their earnings power. And it's that business savvy that makes these women the seven most successful female supermodels in the world today.
7. Tyra Banks
Tyra Banks was one of the first African-American supermodels. Since posing for the covers of GQ and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, Banks has also walked hundreds of runways, been in Victoria’s Secret fashion show, and appeared in movies and on TV.
Non-fashionistas will recognize Banks either from her wildly successful TV show "America’s Next Top Model," which has aired 24 seasons or from her popular talk show "The Tyra Banks Show." Banks doesn’t spend all her time earning money; she also founded the charity called Tyra Banks TZONE, which is aimed at helping teenage and preadolescent girls with their self-esteem and body image. Tyra Banks has an estimated net worth of nearly $90 million.
6. Christie Brinkley
Almost 30 years after that famous cameo in "National Lampoon’s Vacation," Christie Brinkley is still going strong. Brinkley's big break came in 1976 when she began her decades-long spokesperson contract with CoverGirl. She was on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition for three consecutive issues.
Brinkley has supplemented her income with numerous acting roles, books, and a skin-care line. However, the majority of her net worth is from real estate investing, including in The Hamptons. Brinkley's real estate holdings are estimated to be $60 million, while her overall net worth is estimated to be $100 million.
Iman is a Somalian-American model who made it big for designers including Versace, Calvin Klein, and Donna Karan. Discovered by an American photographer while she was in college at the University of Nairobi, Iman went on to become a famous model in the U.S. Designer Yves Saint-Laurent once called Iman his "dream woman," and her tall and slender features, along with her dark skin, made her extremely successful.
Later in life, Iman married English musician David Bowie and started her makeup company IMAN Cosmetics, which has collections for women of color with darker skin tones. She also went on to design clothing, appear in various movies (including "Star Trek VI"), and focuses heavily on charity work targeting poverty in places like East Africa. Her net worth is estimated at $100 million.
4. Cindy Crawford
Cindy Crawford, the engineering student-turned-model, has been active in the industry since her teen years. Cindy gained popularity with her Pepsi and Clairol campaigns.
After appearing on countless magazine covers, exercise videos, and runways, Cindy now spends her time designing and promoting her furniture and home accessories business. In 2015, Cindy wrote a book about her story called "Becoming," which was published by Rizzoli International Publications. Cindy Crawford's net worth is estimated to be more than $100 million.
3. Heidi Klum
Heidi Klum won a modeling contest in her native Germany in the early 1990s. Following her win and subsequent modeling contract, she appeared on multiple magazine covers including the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, a publication of Time (TIME). She also has runway experience as one of Victoria’s Secret's most famous Angels.
Klum graduated from runways and cover shoots to work as a spokesperson, actress, and designer. Young people today likely recognize her from her stints as a host on "Germany’s Next Top Model" and "Project Runway" as well as her role as a judge on "America’s Got Talent." Heidi Klum has an estimated net worth of $120 million.
2. Kathy Ireland
Kathy Ireland is among the richest supermodels in the world. After a successful modeling career and three famous Sports Illustrated Swimsuits Edition covers, Ireland turned to public speaking, exercise videos, acting, reality TV, and endorsements.
Ireland amassed her fortune by lending her name to thousands of products created by Kathy Ireland Worldwide (kiWW), a multinational design company with more than $1 billion in annual sales. Ireland's company has products in every industry covered, including media, furniture, toys, jewelry, and books. According to the latest estimates by Forbes, Kathy Ireland has an estimated net worth of $360 million, which makes her one of the richest female models in the world today.
1. Gisele Bündchen
Gisele Bündchen is arguably the most famous supermodel of our time. Originally from Brazil, Bündchen allegedly created the “horse walk” runway step, which is performed by walking while raising your knees and kicking out. For nearly a decade in the 2000s, Bündchen was the highest-paid model in the world.
Aside from magazines and runway shows, Bündchen—who's married to NFL quarterback Tom Brady—also earns money as a spokesperson. Gisele gives back by being involved in numerous charities in Brazil and the United States. Gisele Bündchen's net worth is estimated to be nearly $400 million, making her the richest supermodel in the world.