The fashion and modeling industry are as lucrative as ever. Fashion United values the yearly gross of the global apparel market at $3 trillion, accounting for 2% of the world’s GDP. There’s a wealth of income to be made from the fashion market and right at the top of the list are the supermodels.
All of these women are beautiful and popular, but this does not discredit the tremendous amount of hard work they put in and the dedication to their craft. Being a top-paid supermodel is a combination of looks, work, determination, and connections. Let’s explore the 7 highest paid models and how they got to be where they are.
1. Gisele Bundchen ($44 million)
Gisele is on top of the modeling world and it’s not even close. Born in Brazil, she started modeling in the late 90s and has worked her way up to landing huge contracts from Chanel, Under Armor, Pantene, and Carolina Herrera.
She’s appeared in over 550 ad campaigns and graced the cover of over 2000 magazines. With over 800 fashion shows under her belt, Gisele works harder than anyone else to stay on top of the modeling world.
2. Adriana Lima ($10.5 million)
The longest running Victoria’s Secret Angel is doing pretty well for herself. She also represents Maybeline and has previously worked for reputable brands like Armani, GUESS?, Louis Vuitton, and Marc Jacobs.
Adriana’s instantly recognizable to millions of people around the world. In 2012, a Turkish Clothing company hired her to be the spokesmodel for their brand. In one fiscal quarter, sales increased by 50% and online traffic on their site increased 20%. Adriana continues to land huge, lucrative contracts and she will be on this list for years to come.
3. Karlie Kloss ($10 million)
American-born Karlie Kloss is 24 years of age and has rapidly ascended to the upper echelon of the modeling world. She started off at an early age and eventually modeled for Abercrombie and Victoria’s Secret. She’s also walked the runway for famous designers Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton.
Karlie’s career really took off in 2011. She made her debut at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show and renewed her contract with Christian Dior. Modeling for Chanel, Nike, and Swarovski, Karlie will be continue to be on the upward trend.
4. Kendall Jenner ($10 million)
At 21 years old, Kendall has been one of the fastest-rising models in the industry. She got her start on E! TV’s Keeping Up with the Kardashians alongside her famous family. She’s been able to translate her early popularity into an immense social media following: Models.com lists her social media totals at over 121 million followers across Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Top brands like Estée Lauder and Calvin Klein have invested big money into signing Kendall hoping to capitalize her huge social media influence. She’s also become a viral sensation and her Pepsi commercial was one of 2017’s biggest conversation starters. As she continues to model for the top fashion companies, Kendall will surely be a mainstay on the highest paid list.
5. Rosie Huntington-Whitely ($10 million)
Much like Gisele, Rosie Huntington-Whitely supplements her modeling income with her own line of fashion products. Her earnings from the department store Marks & Spencers made up the majority of her take last year. In addition, she continues to model for names like Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, DKNY, Versace, and Vera Wang.
Rosie is a former Victoria’s Secret Angel and has also appeared in movies like 2011’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Her diversified success continues to be the perfect example of how an up-and-coming model can maximize their earning potential.
6. Gigi Hadid ($9 million)
LA’s own Gigi Hadid is another one to keep an eye out for because of her rapid ascent and social media following. She’s active on Instagram, with over 35 million followers on the platform and daily updates that are enthusiastically shared by her fans. Maybeline signed her to a lucrative contract to be one of their brand ambassadors and she also works with companies that lead their own industries in Evian and BMW.
Gigi’s appeared on numerous magazine covers including Vogue, Allure, W Magazine, Elle Canada, and Paper Magazine.
7. Cara Delevingne ($8.5 million)
Cara is a wonderful example of how a model can successfully transition away from modeling full time and still be a top earner. She largely retired in 2015 from the catwalk because of stress and a desire to pursue her acting opportunities. Although, she continues to endorse Burberry and Tag Heuer products.
She made a splash in the Hollywood blockbuster scene by starring in 2016’s Suicide Squad. Her performance was well-received by critics and she’ll be appearing in more films over the next few years. On top of it all, she is a budding fashion designer herself and has made collections for DKNY and Mulberry.