LOS ANGELES – Kendall Jenner topped a list on Tuesday (Nov 21) of the world’s highest paid models, edging Gisele Bundchen out of the No. 1 spot for the first time in 15 years in a ranking that reflected the growing power of social media influencers.
Ashley Graham became the first plus-size woman to make the annual Forbes list of top earning models, ranked in 10th place with an estimated income of US$5.5 million (S$7.4 million) between June 1, 2016, and June 1, 2017.
Jenner, 22, the half sister of Kim Kardashian, earned an estimated US$22 million for the year thanks both to her runway fashion jobs and an 84-million-strong Instagram following that helped her launch her own clothing line and win deals with the likes of Adidas and Estee Lauder, Forbes said.
Brazil’s Bundchen, 37, who has held the top spot since 2002, was ranked second this year with an estimated US$17.5 million, Forbes said.
Chrissy Teigen joined the Forbes list for the first time, taking the no.3 spot with estimated earnings of US$13.5 million. Teigen, 31, the wife of singer John Legend, is also prolific on Twitter and Instagram and has deals with brands like Smirnoff to boost her earnings from fashion.
Graham, 30, an outspoken advocate for body activism, in 2016 became the first size 16 model to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Her fashion lines with Dressbarn, H&M and Swimsuits For All helped get her on the Forbes list for the first time in her 16-year modeling career.
“With social media, there are more opportunities to create your own content and use your voice,” Ivan Bart, president of IMG Models told Forbes. “The stars are using it.”
Forbes said that the world’s 10 highest-paid models banked a cumulative US$109.5 million for the year, before taxes and fees. It estimated earnings from income from cosmetics, fragrance and other contracts based on interviews with managers, agents and brand executives.
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