Socialites are people who have, undoubtedly, one of the strangest jobs in the world. They are, essentially, paid to socialise – to associate with the rich elite, to attend social and charity events in the world’s major cities, and to make appearances at the newest, hippest spots. The key to being a socialite is to be popular as well as a savvy networker. Typically, famous socialites have been born into wealthy families and have inherited large fortunes and very useful names.
Many people use the word ‘socialite’ in a derogatory sense: To some, this job description implies someone who simply got lucky and gets paid for a whole lot of, basically, nothing. However, keeping the money rolling in does require a team of supportive, savvy business people; behind every socialite is a clever agent, at least one marketing specialist and a famous face who knows how to conduct themselves in the smartest, most universally acceptable and popular way possible.
Like it or not, by utilising their people skills, their connections and often the power of social media and tabloid journalism, socialites propel themselves to the top. Although their methods for staying in the headlines may be questionable, they have the tenacity and determination needed to make it big. The following list takes a look at some of the richest socialites alive today, and elucidates how they gained their elevated social status.
10. Nicole Richie $5 million
Nicole Richie was born in 1981 to a struggling family. Her parents were friends of the music legend Lionel Richie, who adopted Nicole when her parents could no longer afford to care for her. She was officially adopted at age nine and soon afterwards, Lionel split from his wife. Nicole herself has stated that her adoptive parents began to spoil her after their divorce. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Richie stated that “their way of making me happy was to say, ‘yes,’ to everything I wanted”. Richie has lived a charmed life, gaining fame from starring in the reality TV show The Simple Life with Paris Hilton. Apart from her stint on reality TV, Richie hasn’t really done much except socialise in Hollywood – but she’s managed to stay in the headlines. Recently, however, she has shown an interest in philanthropy.
9. Allison Melnick – $7.5 million
Allison Melnick hails from Queens in New York. Aged just sixteen, she started working as a club promoter in nightclubs. She frequented the nightclub circuit in New York for many years, and she eventually met Paris Hilton. She went on to become Paris’ ‘BFF’, and starred in her reality TV show ‘The World According to Paris.’ Melnick essentially just socialises at parties, but she did recently open up her own bar named the Apple Lounge. “I started working at clubs as a door girl when I was 16 in NYC and turned it into a career for myself. Yes partying is a career haha.” Seems like she’s right – Melnick is worth a staggering $7.5 million.
8. Dorothy Wang – $10 million
Dorothy Wang, the daughter of American-Chinese billionaire Roger Wang, is the epitome of trust fund princess. Wang is known for little else than her spending habits and her appearances on the nightclub scene. Dorothy appeared on E! network’s The Rich Kids of Beverly Hills, which focuses on her incredibly blessed existence. Wang has never been coy about her luxurious lifestyle. In reply to a question about how people react to her flaunting her wealth, she replied, “But this is our life. We are not necessarily flaunting it, but it is going to be the backdrop of our life.”
7. Tinsley Mortimer – $35 million
Tinsley Mortimer was born Tinsley Randolph Mercer in 1975 to a wealthy family of real-estate moguls and interior designers. After studying at Columbia University, Mortimer moved to New York and became one of the city’s most popular socialites. After her high-profile marriage to the very wealthy Robert Livingston Mortimer, Mortimer became one of the most noticeable socialites around. She was known for her love of the spotlight and her daring approach to fashion, which shocked her more conservative elitist friends. However, Mercer’s popularity has taken a nose dive since her divorce from Mortimer: It’s rumoured that the two split due to infidelity issues.
6. Brandon Davis – $55 million
Brandon Davis is the super-rich heir to a massive oil fortune. Despite the hard work of his ancestors, Davis spends his days in Hollywood partying, socialising and occasionally running into trouble with the law. Davis can often be seen hanging out with other famous socialites, such as Paris Hilton and Nicky Hilton. He is known for flashing his cash like wildfire – he reportedly offered an employee $1000 for a doughnut at 7-Eleven.
5. The Kardashians – $80 million
Kardashian is one of the most well-known names in Hollywood these days. However, despite the immense fame of the Kardashian sisters – Kim, Khloe and Kourtney – and their entire family, some might claim their fame really only rests on one event: Kim once made a sex tape with her then boyfriend Ray-J, which leaked onto the internet. This launched Kim into the spotlight, and her entire family soon followed her. Soon, E! had launched a series, ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’, which focused on their lavish lives. Their strong presence on social media only proved to boost their fame. Now that ‘Kimye‘ are a thing, the Kardashians are more famous than ever before.
4. Sale Johnson – $100 million
Sale Johnson was born to a well-off family in St. Louis. Sale is best known for her marriage to Woody Johnson, who is the heir of the billion dollar Fortune 500 company Johnson & Johnson. Sale pursued a career in modelling, but she made her money through her divorce with Johnson (she received a $100 million settlement). These days, Sale spends her days socialising in some of America’s most expensive cities. In 2010, her daughter Casey Johnson passed away due to complications with diabetes.
3. Sabrina Guinness – $100 million
Sabrina Guinness is the 49-year-old heiress of the Guinness family fortune. The Guinness family gained their wealth thanks to popularity of their stout, which is now one of the most famous alcoholic drinks in the world. Sabrina is known for little else than her high profile relationships. She has dated Mick Jagger and was linked to Prince Charles in the past, but she recently married Sir Tom Stoppard, a renowned British playwright.
2. Paris Hilton – $100 million
Paris Hilton is undoubtedly the most well-known socialite of all time. An heiress of the Hilton hotel empire, Paris became well known amongst Hollywood’s elite at a very young age. She quickly became an expert in self-marketing, and is largely referred to as the first person who “became famous for being famous”. Hilton and her ‘BFF’ Nicole Richie hit the headlines after the success of their reality TV show The Simple Life, and Hilton has lived her life in the public eye since. Hilton has dabbled in various fields, from fashion design to music. but none of Hilton’s business endeavours have ever brought her as much attention as her extravagant spending habits, her leaked sex tape and her party-hard lifestyle.
1. Caroline Luel-Brockdorff – $400 million
Caroline Luel-Brockdorff is one of London’s most prominent socialites, but this extremely wealthy lady actually hails from Denmark. Luel-Brockdorff is a member of the Danish royal family, which means that her wealth is estimated at a cool $400 million. Luel-Brockdorff is known for her high-profile relationships. She was once married to Rory Fleming, the son of the creator of the James Bond series. Afterwards, she became engaged to Arsenal player Nicklas Bendtner, but the pair split just a few weeks after Luel-Brockdorff had given birth to their child.