Sex sells. Anybody who would claim that to be a misogynistic or inaccurate statement is living in denial, and such a person would need only speak to the women who make up the 11 highest paid models in the world for 2015 to learn this. These women rake in no less than $5 million a year, in part because they make jaws drop and knees weaken due to their looks. As Natalie Robehmed of Forbes perfectly put it when listing the highest paid models in the world today, the supermodels who are featured in this piece are cashing in after having hit “the genetic lottery.”
You can be sure that one Gisele Bundchen takes no personal offense in the fact that she is largely known because of her beauty. Bundchen, according to the Forbes piece, made over $40 million before taxes over a period of 12 months. That is not too shabby for a woman who is supposedly walking from the runway for good. While fellow supermodels Cara Delevingne and Adriana Lama are making journeys up lists of the highest paid models in the world, both have a long way to go before they are even close to catching up with Bundchen as it pertains to finances.
Social media websites such as Twitter and Instagram have changed the modeling industry, likely forever. The previously-mentioned Delevingne is just one example of a model who has wisely used this medium to expand her fame and her brand. She first appeared in the Forbes list of the highest paid models in the world last year, but she is already near the top of the 2015 edition in part because she has nearly 20 million Instagram followers as of the posting of this piece. Such a massive following makes Delevingne and others like her a dream advertising partner for companies.
T8. Karlie Kloss: $5 Million
Those who know next to nothing about supermodels and fashion may still be aware of Karlie Kloss because of her publicized friendship with music superstar Taylor Swift. Kloss may be one of the most famous “Swifties” out there, but she would probably be doing just fine all on her own. The 23-year old elected to leave Victoria’s Secret earlier in 2015 to enroll in NYU and to pursue other business opportunities. Such opportunities have, in the past, included partnerships with Kate Spade and L’Oreal. The Daily Mail reported in September 2015 that Kloss was set to earn roughly $299 for every step that she took during London Fashion Week.
T8. Candice Swanepoel: $5 Million
Some people have all of the luck of being in the right place at the right time. That was the case for Candice Swanepoel years ago, when modeling scout Kevin Ellise spotted her at, of all places, a flea market when she was just 15 years old. The 26-year-old native of South Africa is now one of the highest paid models in the world. This has not, however, always meant that life has been without flaws for Swanepeol since Ellise made his discovery. She took a nasty spill at New York Fashion Week in September 2015, but Swanepoel did well to pick herself up and complete her walk.
T8. Alessandra Ambrosio: $5 Million
The first ever supermodel for the Victoria’s Secret “PINK” line equaled her earnings from a year ago, according to the Forbes story. The 34-year-old Alessandra Ambrosio, a mother of two, has a history appearing as herself on modeling television shows, and she made her official television acting debut in the soap opera Verdades Secretas. Those hoping to see Ambrosio on the big screen will not have to wait much longer. She is scheduled to be part of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sequel. That movie is currently scheduled to be released in early June of 2016.
T8. Lara Stone: $5 Million
Lara Stone has been in the headlines for reasons that have little to do with her modeling career or the amount of money that she has made. Her divorce from David Walliams, an English comedian and actor, reportedly took about one minute to finalize. The Dutch supermodel will find herself rather busy moving forward with multiple projects, including being part of the H&M Revival Collection and also her current deals with Calvin Klein and L’Oreal. Stone, first discovered when she was just 12 years old, has been linked with some massive names as Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel, Prada and Stella McCartney.
T6. Joan Smalls: $5.5 Million
Joan Smalls is known for, among other things, being the first Latina supermodel to represent Estee Lauder. Interestingly, Smalls once described while speaking with Kate Waterhouse of The Sydney Morning Herald that she envisioned her life going much differently. “I love animals–I wanted to be a veterinarian and I grew up on six acres, so we had every animal you can think of, and I love taking care of animals,” she described during that interview. Needless to say that life outside of a vet office has worked out rather well for Smalls, who has been featured in ads for brands such as Marc Jacobs and Calvin Klein.
T6. Miranda Kerr: $5.5 Million
Forbes reported that Miranda Kerr made $7 million in 2014. Odds are that she is not noticing the difference in pay from a year ago all that much. Kerr, who has traded Victoria’s Secret in for Wonderbra, has additional deals with companies such as Swarovski and Escada Joyful Fragrance. Along with those business endeavors, Kerr is also credited with being a co-founder of KORA Organics. Those who do not follow supermodels or the fashion industry may recognize Kerr from her relationship with actor Orlando Bloom. They are now divorced after having separated in 2013, and they have one child together.
5. Natalia Vodianova: $7 Million
Natalia Vodianova has come a long ways since the days of her youth. The Russian supermodel did not always have millions of dollars in the bank, as she was a product of a single-parent home that included a disabled sibling. Vidianova was a teenager when her life was forever changed and when she found herself dining in some of the finest restaurants in the world, but she never forgot from where she came. She is the founder of the “Naked Heart Foundation,” an organization with the mission to “ensure that every child has a loving family, and a safe and stimulating place to play, the two things essential for a happy, fulfilling childhood.”
4. Doutzen Kroes: $7.5 Million
You know life is going well as a supermodel when you find that you are just too busy to be bothered working with Victoria’s Secret anymore. Doutzen Kroes can afford to pick and choose her projects, as she had deals with Tiffany & Co., Calvin Klein and Samsung. The 30-year old also serves as an ambassador for the “dance4life” organization, one that: “Empowers and educates young people. We provide them with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to protect their health and promote safe sexual choices.” Kroes has been an ambassador for the dance4life movement since 2009.
T2. Adriana Lima: $9 Million
The 34-year-old who is tied for second among the highest paid supermodels in the world has been linked with Victoria’s Secret since 2000, making her the longest-running Angel in the history of that brand. It is, when you see how much money she makes, no wonder that Adriana Lima has remained with the brand for so long. Whether you are walking through midtown Manhattan or watching Super Bowl commercials, you seemingly cannot see a group of fashion advertisements without noticing Lima. Deals with Marc Jacobs, H&M, Maybelline and other companies makes Lima one of the most successful models in the world.
T2. Cara Delevingne: $9 Million
It would not be a stretch, all things considered, to say that Cara Delevingne is the top rising star of the industry. At just 23 years old, Delevingne is either equaling or outdoing peers who have long histories in the business. Delevingne, who was making $3.5 million a year ago according to Forbes, has had relationships with over a dozen brands, but those who have not yet been introduced to her could soon know her name. She will be in the Suicide Squad movie that will also star stars such as Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margo Robbie and Viola Davis. That movie is set to be released in the summer of 2016.
1. Gisele Bundchen: $44 Million
Gisele Bundchen is married to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, arguably the greatest QB in National Football League history who has, to date, won the Super Bowl on four separate occasions. Brady will, according to Spotrac, make about $14 million from his NFL contract in 2015. His wife has made $30 million more than that over the past year. Along with being financially successful, Bundchen is also respected for her philanthropy. She has, over the years, supported the Zero Hunger program in Brazil, the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters and other charitable organizations.