Landing the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is a sure-fire way to boost your wealth and status as a model. Negotiating a lucrative contract with Victoria’s Secret will also get you there. But the millionaire models on this list didn’t just sit and look pretty for the camera. They’ve hit the catwalk during Fashion Week, became the trusted face of major brands, and started their own fashion and cosmetic lines to buffer their bank accounts. Find out how much the richest models in the world are worth today.
Alessandra Ambrosio: $80 Million
Victoria’s Secret model Alessandra Ambrosio began modeling when she was just 15-years-old. The Brazilian beauty has consistently made Forbes’ list of highest-paid models with an annual salary of $6.6 million.
She was first selected as a Victoria’s Secret Angel in 2004 and remained an Angel until 2017. Ambrosio has also modeled in advertising campaigns for top brands including Oscar de la Renta, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Calvin Klein, Fendi, and has appeared on numerous magazine covers.
Paulina Porizkova: $80 Million
Czech-American model Paulina Porizkova became the first Central European woman to grace the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue at just 18 years old in 1984. The issue was so popular, that she was brought back again as the cover girl for the same issue the following year, making Porizkova the second woman to take the swimsuit cover for two consecutive years.
In 1988 she secured the highest-paying modeling contract in history, signing with Estee Lauder for $6 million dollars.
Naomi Campbell: $80 Million
Hailing from London, Naomi Campbell is one of the most recognizable models on the planet and one of the few women of her generation that were named a “supermodel”. She made a name for herself walking the runway for Versace in 1991 and appearing as Michael Jackson’s love interest in his music video for “In the Closet”.
Her career has also been riddled with controversy. In 1993 she was fired from the modeling agency she had been with since 1987 for her bad behavior. On another occasion, Campbell showed up to serve her community service sentence wearing a $300,000 Dolce & Gabbana gown.
Tyra Banks: $90 Million
Tyra Banks made her massive $90 million fortune in the modeling industry in a few different ways. In the early 2000s, she became one of the world’s top-earning models and appearing on the cover of GQ and Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue.
She rose to fame as a Victoria’s Secret model before becoming the creator and host of America’s Next Top Model competition television series. Banks is one of just seventeen models to be named a Legendary Supermodel by MODELS.com.
Elle Macpherson: $95 Million
Australian model Elle Macpherson has built her $95 million fortune from a combination of magazine covers, runways, and advertising campaigns for top names. She’s landed the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue a total of five times!
She started her modeling career in 1982 and rose to fame in the ’80s, appearing on the cover of top magazines including GQ, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar. Macpherson has also walked the runway for Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, Christian Dior, and others.
Adriana Lima: $95 Million
Brazilian model Adriana Lima’s net worth of $95 million was earned modeling for Victoria’s Secret, appearing as the face of Maybelline cosmetics, and starring in a commercial that aired during the Super Bowl.
Lima is one of the highest-paid models in the world and earned $10.5 million in 2016 alone. In April 2006 Lima appeared on the cover of GQ and it became the highest-selling issue of the magazine for the year. Everything she touches seems to turn into gold.
Sarah Murdoch: $100 Million
Sarah Murdoch began her successful modeling career as a runway model, walking for top designers including Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel, Givenchy, Valentino, and Oscar de la Renta.
She’s also been on the cover of major magazines including GQ, Glamour, Elle, Vogue, and more. From there, Murdoch appeared on TV as a temporary host of Today and co-starred in the romantic comedy Head Over Heels. She’s married to the eldest son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
Lydia Hearst-Shaw: $100 Million
Born into the wealthy Hearst family, Lydia Hearst-Shaw had a leg up when it came to making connections in the fashion industry which proved to help her career tremendously. She rose to fame as a cover girl for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, GQ, and others, working with top photographers in the industry.
Hearst has also appeared in advertising campaigns for major brands including Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Sephora. Today her main focus is on her fashion and lifestyle blog– she certainly doesn’t have to worry about her income!
Iman: $100 Million
Fashion model and widow of iconic musician David Bowie, Iman became a muse for top designers including Calvin Klein and Gianni Versace. Iman didn’t have an easy path to success, growing up in Somalia and Egypt. She was “discovered” while attending college, and moved to the US to pursue modeling.
Her unique look and style inspired fashion designers and led to her become a fashion icon. When accepting a lifetime achievement award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Iman playfully thanked her parents “for giving me a neck longer than any other girl.”
Christie Brinkley: $100 Million
Christie Brinkley is another model who rose to fame after appearing in several Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues. Beginning her modeling career in 1973, Brinkley became well recognized as a CoverGirl model, a lucrative contract she held for 25 years.
Brinkley worked hard to earn her fortune, appearing on more than 500 magazine covers! She also negotiated contracts with major companies including MasterCard, Nissan, and Diet Coke. She’s also proven that she has a knack for acting and smart business ventures, as her financial holdings are worth an estimated $80 million.
Amanda Hearst: $100 Million
Another heir to the Hearst family fortune is Amanda Hearst. She dropped out of Boston College and signed with IMG modeling agency. From there she appeared on the cover of Town & Country, Cosmopolitan, and International Harper’s Bazaar.
Her modeling career is rather short-lived and she’s better known in the fashion industry for co-founding ethical luxury retailer Maison de Mode. She’s married to Norwegian film director Joachim Rønning and has an estimated net worth of $100 million.
Heidi Klum: $160 Million
Heidi Klum needs no introduction! The bubbly model started her career in 1991 and became the first German Victoria’s Secret Angel in the late ’90s. Like many of the other models on this list, her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover propelled her career forward in 1998.
Klum became the host of Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows for many years and has appeared in commercials for McDonald’s, Carl’s Jr., and Braun. Forbes named her the highest-paid model in 2008 with a reported annual income of $16 million. Today she’s worth $160 million.
Sofia Vergara: $180 Million
Sofia Vergara became the highest-paid actress in 2013 and incredibly held onto the spot for seven consecutive years. She was first “discovered” while on a beach in Colombia and landed her first commercial with Pepsi at 17-years-old.
Vergara went on to become a Univision TV host before taking on acting roles. She began appearing in CoverGirl advertisements in 2012 and is a brand ambassador for Head & Shoulders. In 2014, Forbes named Vergara the 32nd most powerful woman in the world.
Tamara Ecclestone: $300 Million
Tamara Ecclestone is following in her mother’s footsteps as a professional model. Her father is the former chief executive of Formula One and Ecclestone started her career with F1 magazine.
The British socialite has modeled for Armani and has her own self-titled television show. She has her own line of beauty products and regularly works with charities. Although she’s mostly worked as an on-camera personality, Ecclestone is also one of the richest models with a net worth of $300 million.
Paris Hilton: $300 Million
Heiress to the Hilton family fortune, Paris Hilton started modeling for a talent agency at 19-years-old and made a name for herself as a socialite in the late ’90s. She became known for her lavish lifestyle and eye-catching outfits. Hilton and her sister Nicky were even deemed “the littlest socialites in town” by The New Yorker.
She’s appeared on the cover of Vogue and walked in New York Fashion Week as well as several advertising campaigns for brands including Prosecco Italian sparkling wine.
Petra Ecclestone: $400 Million
Petra Ecclestone’s estimated net worth is slightly higher than her sister Tamara’s. She’s also dabbled in modeling but knew from a young age that she wanted to become a fashion designer herself.
At the young age of 19, Ecclestone started the menswear label FORM and has raised her net worth to $400 million. She once owned the largest house in Los Angeles County, which she sold in June 2019 for $119.7 million, the highest sales price of any home sold in California history.
Gisele Bündchen: $400 Million
Brazilian model Gisele Bündchen has reigned as one of the highest-paid models in history since 2001 and topped the list of Forbes highest-earning models in 2012. Her contract with Victoria’s Secret is a large factor of her wealth, as Bündchen secured the largest contract in the history of the brand.
A hard worker, Bündchen has appeared on more than 1,200 magazine covers and is credited with inspiring a new look for models of her generation, reflecting health and wellness.
Cindy Crawford: $400 Million
Cindy Crawford is one of the most popular supermodels of her generation, raking in a net worth of $400 million today. She started modeling in high school and dropped out of college (where she had an academic scholarship!) to sign onto the Elite New York modeling agency.
She’s graced the cover of more than 500 magazines and walked the runway for major designers including Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Christian Dior, and Chanel. Today she’s married to former model Rande Gerber and both of their children are models, too.
Kathy Ireland: $500 Million
Kathy Ireland was named “The Greatest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover Of All Time” for appearing on a cover in 1989. She didn’t just stick to modeling, however. Ireland has appeared in both television and film, and competed on Season 9 of Dancing with the Stars.
Modeling and acting aren’t the only ways she’s built her $500 million fortune. Ireland wisely created her own fashion and home furnishing lines with major retailers including Kmart, generating $2 billion in retail sales. British Vogue named her the world’s richest model in May 2012.
Kylie Jenner: $700 Million
Like a few of the other ladies on this list, Kylie Jenner was born into a wealthy family. She was first introduced to the world in 2007 on her sisters’ show Keeping Up with the Kardashians. She soon became one of the most influential figures of her generation and garnered a massive Instagram following where she posts her modeling photos.
She and her sister Kendall modeled their own collections with PacSun and Steve Madden. What really sent Jenner’s net worth soaring is her beauty brand, Kylie Cosmetics, valued at $800 million.
Kim Kardashian: $900 Million
Coming in one spot ahead of her younger sister and number one on the list of richest models is Kim Kardashian. The reality TV star first became famous working as a stylist for her friend Paris Hilton, where she gained the reputation as a socialite.
Like her sister Kylie, Kardashian has mastered the art of social media, making between $75,000 and $300,000 for each endorsement she makes on her accounts. Her wealth also comes from her beauty line, KKW Beauty and KKW Fragrance.