Being a model might seem like an easy gig. You simply need to watch what you eat, exercise regularly and look fabulous 24/7. But when it comes to it, there’s a lot more that goes on behind the scenes than meets the eye.
From super early wakeups, constantly being on the road and being endlessly scrutinised by critics and fans alike, it’s hard not to go out of your mind in such a self-conscious world.
But these ladies have left their mark on the fashion industry – transforming it in the process and using their status as a platform to become more relatable. It, therefore, is no surprise that they managed to prove their worth and bag themselves a spot among the top 10 highest paid models in the world.
10. Ashley Graham
Yearly Earnings: $5.5 million (£4.16 million)
Plus-size model Ashley Graham has had a whirlwind of a career since starting out at the age of 13, when she began appearing in adverts and catalogues. She’s appeared on the covers of Vogue, Elle, Glamour and Harper's Bazaar and has recently expanded her career to the New York Fashion Week where she walked in the S/S collection for Michael Kors. With over 7,000,000 Instagram followers, this respectable model is changing the stigma of the fashion world and is showing women of all sizes that they are beautiful, too.
9. Bella Hadid
Yearly Earnings: $6 million (£4.54 million)
Bella Hadid has taken the world by storm, after following in her older sister Gigi’s footsteps, and has become one of the most powerful models seemingly overnight. She’s walked the runways of nearly all the popular shows for Spring/Summer 2018, including the likes of Alexander Wang, Dior, Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors, and has appeared on numerous magazine covers. With over 18.6 million Instagram followers, she has a great platform to talk about world issues.
8. Liu Wen
Yearly Earnings: $6.5 million (£4.91 million)
This Asian beauty is becoming one of the most in-demand models in the world. From having walked the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show to becoming the first Chinese model to grace the front cover of Vogue, she’s definitely made a mark on the fashion world.
At the age of 18, she decided to enter into a modelling competition for the opportunity of winning a computer, and then moved to Beijing to become a tour guide. She later ditched that idea when photoshoots started flooding in, which eventually led to her landing her first runway show in 2008 for Burberry. Wen’s story shows that no matter where you come from, you can achieve global success if you work hard.
7. Karlie Kloss
Yearly Earnings: $9 million (£6.81 million)
This supermodel and entrepreneur was first discovered in 2005 and has been walking the runways for the world’s leading designers ever since, becoming a popular choice for Victoria’s Secret from 2011 to 2014. She is now focused on her project Kode with Klossy, which empowers girls between the ages of 13 and 18 to learn to code. What’s great about her programme is that it’s entirely free, so it gives young girls a chance to make a real change in their lives. Her generous philanthropic work was honoured in Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People list in 2016.
6. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
Yearly Earnings: $9.5 million (£7.19 million)
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley not only has her very own lingerie line with Marks & Spencer, but also stars in popular movies like Mad Max: Fury Road and Transformers: Dark of the Moon – all while she continues to dominate the catwalks in her spare time. With over 15 years in the industry, she’s still going strong and building her very own empire with her new beauty website Rose Inc.
5. Gigi Hadid
Yearly Earnings: $9.5 million (£7.19 million)
The second half of the Hadid sisters has gone from a model to celebrity status through a number of endorsements. After having completed collections with Tommy Hilfiger for two years running and being a popular choice for all the high-end brands, it’s evident that she’s established a name for herself in the world of fashion. Hadid has deals with Maybelline and was named Woman of the Year in the 2017 Glamour Awards.
4. Adriana Lima
Yearly Earnings: $10.5 million (£7.94 million)
This Brazilian bombshell has been in the limelight for over a decade and is Victoria’s Secret’s longest running Angel (since 2000). She’s been the face of brands such as Maybelline, Desigual and Amazonia. As a runway model, she has walked for every designer possible from Guess to Giorgio Armani and Prada. At the age of 37 (which is considered old in modelling – crazy, right?!), there’s no stopping her.
3. Chrissy Teigen
Yearly Earnings: $13.5 million (£10.21 million)
Married to singer John Legend, Chrissy Teigen is best known for her hilarious Instagram posts and for currently hosting Lip Sync Battle with LL Cool J. She started off as a Sports Illustrated cover girl, and has since appeared on the covers of Glamour, Elle, Cosmopolitan and Esquire. She has also appeared in numerous ads, including for Smirnoff and Vita Coca, and has even published her own best-selling cookbook Cravings.
2. Gisele Bündchen
Yearly Earnings: $17.5 million (£13.24 million)
After 15 years of being in the number one spot, Gisele Bündchen has been dethroned as the highest paid model in the world in 2018. Having retired from the runway, this bona fide supermodel still makes a huge paycheque through campaigns with some of her favourite brands. She’s currently the face of Carolina Herrera's 212 VIP Rosé fragrance, as well as shoe company Arezzo and Brazilian jeweller Vivara. She is also a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme.
1. Kendall Jenner
Yearly Earnings: $22 million (£16.65 million)
Reality TV star turned supermodel Kendall Jenner started off at the age of 14 with the help of her celebrity family, having appeared on the cover of Teen Vogue and since becoming one of the most in-demand models in the world (despite a couple of setbacks, namely the controversial Pepsi ad she appeared in).
She’s campaigned with all the top brands, including Fendi, Adidas and La Perla, and is currently the face of Estée Lauder. With over 92.1 million followers on Instagram, it’s obvious why she’s made it to the number one spot of this list as the richest model in the world – an ad campaign shared by this social media influencer will typically reach more views than any other outlet.
Being a model in today’s digital age comes with added pressures of showing your personality to the world, models aren’t just pretty faces anymore; they have a voice and a platform to use it, which is what each and every one of these ladies does! You go, girls!
Who else do you think deserves to be on this list? Join the conversation below and let us know.