Being a model is one thing, but being able to turn modelling into a lucrative, long-term career (i.e make it into the richest model category) is a completely different game.
Supermodels like Gisele Bündchen, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Kate Moss might have spent their early days on the runway, but have managed to take their success beyond that to attain enormous personal wealth.
In a similar vein, younger models like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid have managed to make social media their main selling point, and count brand deals and endorsements as their prime moneymaker.
Scroll down for the world’s wealthiest models, based on their individual net worth, and estimates from CelebrityNetWorth.com, in ascending order.
Linda Evangelista: USD$40 million
One of the most recognisable faces of the ’90s, Linda Evangelista once famously said: “I don’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day.” Therefore, it’s no surprise the eternally iconic It-girl has amassed a net worth of USD $40 million.
Christie Turlington: USD $40 million
Turlington was also an industry darling in the ’90s, and is still one of the most recognisable women in the industry. Despite the occasional runway appearance (i.e. at Marc Jacobs‘ autumn/winter ’19 show), Turlington has retired from the limelight to spend time with her actor husband, Edward Burns, and raise her two children.
Kendall Jenner: $45 million
Twenty-four-year-old Jenner has become the most famous of a new generation of social media models, and has attained a sizeable $45 million fortune—even if it pales in comparison to her younger sister Kylie Jenner’s billion-dollar beauty empire.
Kate Moss: USD $70 million
It’s been many years since ‘Kate the Great’ was first scouted at JFK Airport, at the age of 14—and it didn’t take long for the girl from East London to become one of the world’s most famous models, starting off with some rather memorable (and occasionally very controversial) campaigns for Calvin Klein.
Alessandra Ambrosio: USD $80 million
Ambrosio experienced her breakthrough through lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret, and has walked in practically every show for the brand since attaining the prestigious ‘Angel’ status.
Naomi Campbell: USD $80 million
Few other models have the experience, success and industry reputation that Naomi Campbell does—and at the age of 48, the British supermodel still often walks the runway.
Tyra Banks: USD $90 million
Banks was famously rejected from five different modelling agencies before being signed in the early ’90s, but once she was, the rest was history. The 45-year-old might have walked for Chanel and had her own fruitful Victoria’s Secret career, but creating and hosting America’s Next Top Model is what helped her attain household name status.
Adriana Lima: USD $95 million
Like Alessandra Ambrosio, Lima has become one of Brazil’s most famous modelling exports, juggling an illustrious Victoria’s Secret career with working as a television host, and countless brand endorsement deals.
Elle Macpherson: USD $95 million
After growing up on Sydney’s North Shore, Macpherson’s life completely changed when she decided to pursue modelling work in New York City as another way to pay her bills. Aside from a madly successful career, she’s released a highly successful series of workout videos, as well as her own fashion, swimwear and wellness labels.
Christie Brinkley: USD $100 million
Brinkley is one of the most well-known Sports Illustrated models of all time, and famously married Billy Joel after she appeared in his ‘Uptown Girls’ music video. However, at 65 years of age, Brinkley experiences a whole new level of fame for her youthful visage (she’s barely aged a day since the ’90s).
Heidi Klum: USD $160 million
Klum first appeared on the Victoria’s Secret runway in the late ’90s (and became a certified ‘Angel’ not long after), but it’s her television career that’s helped increase her fortune—having hosted shows like America’s Got Talent and Project Runway.
Iman: USD $200 million
Somalia-born Iman is often thought of as the world’s first true supermodel of colour, and has been an industry mainstay since as early as the mid-’80s. She’s also known for her notoriously private marriage to the late David Bowie, and the couple share a daughter, Lexi Jones, together.
Gisele Bündchen: USD $400 million
Bündchen was discovered at 14 years old while eating at a McDonald’s restaurant in São Paulo, Brazil, and is remembered as one of the most iconic Victoria’s Secret models of all time. She topped Forbes‘ annual list of the world’s highest-paid models from 2002 to 2017, until Kendall Jenner nabbed the top spot.
Cindy Crawford: USD $400 million
While her 21-year-old daughter, Kaia Gerber, has been on the path to It-girl status in recent years, Crawford earned her supermodel status a long time ago—and has amassed a staggering net worth. In the words of designer Michael Kors: “Cindy changed the perception of the ‘sexy American girl’ from classic blue-eyed blonde to a more sultry brunette with brains, charm, and professionalism to spare.”
Kathy Ireland: $500 million
Ireland might be the dark horse of this list, but her enormous wealth makes her the richest supermodel in the world. Since appearing in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue for 13 consecutive years, she’s gone on to become a best-selling author, and owns her own marketing company, kathy ireland Worldwide, which counts a yearly turnover in the billions.