This month, Cicilia Brognoli looks into the ranking of the highest paid top models.
Being a model seems just a matter of good-looking presence, healthy celery shakes, and regular exercise. However, being one of the highestpaid supermodels of all time goes well beyond that. Awakenings at dawn, long journeys, and the constant gaze of thousands of people are just what characterise top models’ lives, and it is easy to let go if you are not extremely determined.
If there was a Walk of Fame for models, it would surely feature the famous Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, and many other renowned catwalk goddesses. All these models have transformed the essence of this profession. They are no longer just wonderful bodies wrapped in the new mastery of the most renowned designers, but they are real worldly celebrities with millions of followers and virtual flatterers. If in the ’90s Gianni Versace celebrated the beauty, and above all the personality, of his then novice muses, now the web idolises young and charming girls who have conquered the hearts of stylists and fans.
In the ’90s Linda Evangelista stated, “I don’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day”. This claim was reported by many tabloids, spreading all around the globe in zero time. The implications of this statement were undeniable, but they paved the way for a new era, the supermodel era. Entrepreneurship, talent, and bold personality characterised the success of the “Big Five”, the world-famous Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, and Claudia Schiffer. These models dominated the ‘90s fashion scene, flawlessly posing for hundreds of magazine covers. Their photogenic looks, however incredible, struggled to keep up with their always magnetic personality. Although some of the Big Five are still out and about in the fashion scene, in general, they left the scene to the new generation of models, the so-called Instagirls.
These charming muses are entrepreneurs in all respects, capable of grasping the best opportunities in the world of fashion, exploiting their fame to defend and promote their ideals. It is certainly not their social and environmental commitment that makes them famous, but certainly, their altruism says much about their personality.
A busy life marked by endless castings and hairstyled between an interview and a green shake can lead to really extraordinary earnings.
Recently many young models populate the web as much as the catwalks. These Instagirls are the icons of many young people who increasingly idolise these style icons through a continuous spread of Instagram likes.
Among the highest-paid muses of all time, there are certainly some wellknown faces of the Big Five. Naomi Campbell has £47.9 million worth of assets, while Linda Evangelista’s thoughtful awakenings brought her a fortune of about £31.9 million.
With no doubts, the most remunerated model is the Brazilian Gisele Bündchen whose net worth has skyrocket to £380 million. This amount makes her the uppermost paid model of all time. Her unique charm and slender figure have always helped her in becoming the most appreciated model for both magazines and runway shows. In her teens, Gisele aspired to be a professional volleyball player, and at the age of 13 she was discovered by an agent in a fast food restaurant in São Paolo.During her career, Gisele Bündchen was a Victoria’s Secret angel from 2000 until mid-2007. She revealed that her contract with the famous lingerie brand made up almost 80% of her annual income. She was for 15 years in a row the most profitable model. Besides her modelling career, she is a vivid supporter of praiseworthy causes regularly shared on her Instagram page.
The latest Forbes ranking of highestpaid models is the 2018 one and still features Gisele Bündchen with her 2018 income of £7.9 million. However, she is now surpassed by other Victoria’sSecret Angels and younger ladies who climbed the road of success in a blink of an eye.
Doutzen Kroes – yearly earning £6.3m
This Dutch supermodel owns a lucrative L’Oréal endorsement and she recently launched her cashmere jumper line. She is one of the big names of the contemporary fashion scene and she uses her notoriety to share her commitment to helping endangered species. Indeed, in 2018 she took part in Tiffany & Co’s Save the Wild campaign together with Naomi Campbell. This iconicVictoria’s Secret Angel is particularly fascinated by elephants.
Joan Smalls – yearly earning £6.7m
Joan is a Puerto Rican top model with a degree in psychology. Back in 2007 she decided to take her first steps in the fashion industry, moving to New York. Her magnetic gaze and her sensual stride defined her as the Catwalk Queen. In 2018 the many shows she took part in and the contracts with Estée Lauder and Moschino assured her a spot in the moneymaking model ranking.
Bella Hadid – yearly earning £6.7m and Gigi Hadid – yearly earning £7.5m
The Hadid sisters are now the icons of many teenagers. Although their career started just a few years ago they have already stolen the hearts of many designers, and Donatella Versace is for sure one of them. In 2018 Bella achieved her biggest success so far, she featured in the Victoria’s Secret annual fashion show and she shared her accomplished with her 18.6 million Instagram followers. Gigi’s passion for fashion is not only linked to modelling, as she created different collections beside Tommy Hilfiger. Her established name in the fashion scene brought her to be one of the faces of the annual special H&M collection, in 2018 the H&M x Moschino.
Cara Delevingne – yearly earning £7.9m
Cara began her career in fashion at the age of 17 and within a few years, she walked the most prestigious catwalks. One of her first big jobs was a campaign for Burberry. The talented Brit has always shown a strong interest in acting. She took a short break from fashion dedicating herself to her acting career.
Cara Delevingne became one of the most sought-after models becoming the favourite of Christopher Bailey, Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney, and Karl Lagerfeld. The model’s favourite animal is the lion, and one of the many awarenessraising activities in which she took part is the fight against the hunting of lions.
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley – yearly earning £9.1m
Rosie is another UK-made beauty with a passion for acting. Like her compatriot Cara, Rosie alternated her modelling career with acting in various films.
She took part in many luxury brands catwalks, as well as being the face of many campaigns for commercial brands. From 2006 to 2010 she took part in the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show, becoming an angel in 2010. In 2015 she was named the most beautiful woman in the world by People magazine.
Chrissy Teigen – yearly earning £9.1m
Chrissy is an American model, TV personality, and author. She made her modelling debut in 2010 taking part in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Chrissy has appeared in editorials of well-known magazines and some music videos. Her husband John Legend dedicated the song ‘All of Me’ to her and she participated in the music video.
Her activism is mainly political and in defence ofthe family and migrant rights.
Karlie Kloss – yearly income £10.3m
Karlie Kloss started her modelling career at the age of 14 by posing for the cover and editorial of Scene Magazine in Chicago, her hometown. In 2008 she started to model in the Big Four Fashion Weeks. Since then her career has taken off making her the face of advertisements for Yves Saint Laurent, Elie Saab, Dolce & Gabbana, and many other well-known brands. Like many other top-ranked models she has walked for Victoria’s Secret. Karlie is passionate about computer programming. In 2015 she set up a scholarship in her name in collaboration with a New York school. Karlie’s goal is to allow young girls to thoroughly develop their passion for computer science and software engineering.
Kendall Jenner – yearly income £17.8m
Kendall Jenner tops the list, her notoriety began with participation in the reality show Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Her career in fashion immediately began with bookings for major brands such as Givenchy, Chanel, and Fendi. In 2018 she secured a place in Victoria’s Secret fashion show, thus making one of her dreams come true.
Kendall is a true celebrity of social media. She is one of the main social influencers with 126 million Instagram followers and an average of 5 million likes per photo.
Being a model in the digital age is not just parading wearing the most stylish clothes or posing for flamboyant advertising campaigns. As already stated by the Big Five in the ’90s, top models aren’t just slender and attractive bodies, they are young entrepreneurs with strong charisma. Now more than ever the top models are constantly followed by their online amateurs, and many of them expertly leverage their celebrity to perpetrate noble humanitarian and environmental causes.
You can read more of Cicilia’s work on ciciliabrognoli.weebly.com. All images via respective models’ Instagrams