Being a successful model—getting paid to look glamorous, traveling the world, and receiving adoration from fans—can feel like the ultimate dream, but setting such a high bar for beauty comes with an expensive toll. Fashion is known as a cutthroat industry rife with incidents of emotional and physical abuse, to say nothing of financial exploitation. Facing these constant pressures is exhausting and can be reason enough for models not to stay in the industry for long.
Since Charles Frederick Worth first introduced the concept in the 1800s, models have been helping boost fashion sales, particularly women's clothing. Even today, fashion caters heavily to women. Women's fashion brings in $790.9 billion worldwide compared to $499.8 billion for men, according to Statista. Its outsized value is why some estimate female fashion models can earn two or three times more than male models and why this list is dominated by women.
Gender bias isn't the only issue plaguing fashion. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement and increasing awareness of social issues, the industry has strived to become more inclusive. More and more plus-size, transgender, and nonbinary models are being seen in fashion shows and magazine shoots. In 2020, plus-size model Jill Kortleve walked for Chanel's Paris Fashion Week show. In 2021, actress and model Leyna Bloom made history when she became the first trans cover star to appear in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue. This fall, a record-breaking number of trans and nonbinary models walked the runway wearing Prada. Overall, there's been a push to redefine what beauty looks like and to push for more diversity in fashion, with brands answering the call to feature more models of color.
As the fashion world continues to grapple with its issues, however, models aware of the industry's intense pressures are wisely venturing beyond the catwalk, parlaying their fame into more stable financial success, which many on the following list have done. Stacker created a list of the richest models in the world as of Nov. 15, 2022, using Celebrity Net Worth data and including a model's annual salary where available.
This list isn't solely focused on supermodels but also includes celebrities who have modeled and those who are wealthy outside of their fashion income. Consequently, there are a few surprising omissions, including Kate Moss, Joan Smalls (the first Latina spokesmodel for Estée Lauder's global campaign), and Liu Wen (the first Chinese model to grace the cover of American Vogue and the first Asian model to be a Victoria's Secret Angel).
Read on to see which models have sashayed their way to prosperity.
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