Top 10 Highest-Paid Models in the World

Kendall Jenner attending the 71st Cannes Film Festival Andrea Raffin / Shutterstock.com

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. Doutzen Kroes

Doutzen Kroes@doutzen via Instagram

Yearly earnings: $8 million (£6.3 million)

After a year-long hiatus, Dutch supermodel Doutzen Kroes returned to the rankings with a lucrative L'Oréal endorsement and the launch of her cashmere jumper line. A staple name in the fashion industry, Kroes is focused on using her voice to help endangered species. In 2018, she partook in Tiffany & Co’s Save the Wild campaign alongside supermodel Naomi Campbell. Through the campaign, Tiffany has pledged to donate 100% of profits from the Save the Wild collection to the Wildlife Conservation Network, which includes the Elephant Crisis Fund.

 

8. Joan Smalls (tie)

Joan Smalls@joansmalls via Instagram

Yearly earnings: $8.5 million (£6.7 million)

Joan Smalls, a psychology graduate from Puerto Rico, decided to pursue a modelling career when she moved to the Big Apple in 2007. The real estate connoisseur did just that, successfully making a name for herself by walking in all the high-end catwalks and eventually being dubbed the Catwalk Queen. Her 2018 shows, as well as her contracts with Estée Lauder and Moschino, have helped her tie in eighth place with one of the most popular models in fashion, Bella Hadid.

 

8. Bella Hadid (tie)

Bella Hadid@bellahadid via Instagram

Yearly earnings: $8.5 million (£6.7 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 2018, including the likes of Alexander Wang, Dior, Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors, and has appeared on numerous magazine covers, but her biggest achievement was walking the Victoria’s Secret runway. With over 18.6 million Instagram followers, she has a great platform to talk about world issues.

 

7. Gigi Hadid

Gigi Hadid@gigihadid via Instagram

Yearly earnings: $9.5 million (£7.5 million)

The second half of the powerhouse sisters has gone from a model to A-list celebrity through a number of endorsements. After having completed collections with Tommy Hilfiger for two years running (this year marking her last) 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 Reebok and was featured in the ever-popular Moschino x HM collection that sold out in a matter of minutes this autumn.

 

5. Gisele Bündchen (tie)

Gisele Bündchen@gisele via Instagram

Yearly earnings: $10 million (£7.9 million)

After 15 years of being in the number one spot, Gisele Bündchen hung up her wings and left the Victoria’s Secret show, making the long-time supermodel rank further in the list of the world’s highest-paid models. Although she’s 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 and recently published an autobiography, Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life.

 

 

5. Cara Delevingne (tie)

Cara Delevingne@caradelevingne via Instagram

Yearly earnings: $10 million (£7.9 million)

Triple-threat Delevingne has been in the limelight since 2011 and has walked all the top runways and graced the covers of some of the world’s most influential fashion magazines. But just as her career was soaring, Delevingne decided to take a break from modelling and set her sights on her true passion: acting. After appearing in Anna Karenina (2012), Delevingne landed leading roles in Paper Towns (2015) and Suicide Squad (2016). Although the films weren’t box office hits, she continued to push boundaries and moved into sci-fi territory when she appeared in Valerian and the City of Thousands. In autumn 2018, she returned to the catwalk in the Balmain show and even posed with lions in the Tag Heuer campaign.

 

3. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (tie)

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley@rosiehw via Instagram

Yearly earnings: $11.5 million (£9.1 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.

 

3. Chrissy Teigen (tie)

Chrissy Teigen@chrissyteigen via Instagram

Yearly earnings: $11.5 million (£9.1 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. As well as her numerous ad appearances, including for Smirnoff and Vita Coca, the domestic goddess has focused on developing her very own cooking empire – she currently has two published cookbooks (Cravings: Recipes for all the Food You Want to Eat and its sequel Cravings: Hungry for More) and released a cookware line earlier in 2018 through Target.

 

2. Karlie Kloss

Karlie Kloss@karliekloss via Instagram

Yearly earnings: $13 million (£10.3 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. After losing bookings due to a weight-gain, she now focuses 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.

 

1. Kendall Jenner

Kendall Jenner@kendalljenner via Instagram

Yearly earnings: $22.5 million (£17.8 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. She also managed to secure her dream job of walking in the Victoria’s Secret show in 2018. 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, two years in a row – 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.

 

This list was adapted from Forbes’s list of the World’s Highest-Paid Models 2018. Currency conversions are based on rates supplied by XE.com on 20 December 2018.

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This article is an updated version of a previous article originally published on 9 August 2018.