The modeling career is one that one those that has no definite timeline on how fame could be achieved through it. For some, it could happen in an instant, and for others, it could take a gradual process (and sometimes may never happen). It is also intriguing how a model can also lose her value as swiftly as she may have gotten it if she doesn’t do enough to keep herself relevant; and to this end, you constantly see transitions in highest-paid model rankings. A good example of a positive and swift transition in the modeling industry is Kendall Jenner who made her debut appearance on the list of highest-paid models in 2015. The then 19-year-old model was worth only $4 million at the time. Fast-forward to five years later in 2020, this Kardashian sibling is worth a handsome $30 million – an amount that is still on the rise.
On the other hand, however, it is sad to note that the likes of supermodel, Gisele Bundchen, who was at the top of the list in 2015 when the former debuted on it, is today not named among the top 10 highest-paid models in the world. The same can be said of Doutzen Kroes, Natalia Vodianova, Miranda Kerr, and several other high earners during that time. We must agree that the world of modeling is quite dynamic. Let’s see who are the highest-paid models around the world today.
10. Emily Ratajkowski
Net Worth: $11.4 Million
The list of highest-paid models worldwide has Emily Ratajkowski at the tenth spot. She is not just a model but also an actress who has gained legendary status, thanks to her fashions sense and sex appeal. Her dreams as a growing child had always been to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. However, the young actress switched over to modeling after only two juvenile roles in the movies, since then, Emily has been one of the most sought after faces by fashion designers and beauty products.
In 2012, the American actress and model landed a role in the celebrated music video Blurred Lines. The video turned her into a sensation overnight and proved to be her big break in both acting and modeling. What followed can be best described as unprecedented – runway success, several photoshoots, becoming the cover girl of numerous top-notch magazines worldwide, top rankings in both fashion and beauty list, and even enviable big-screen roles which have always featured in her dreams as a child.
9. Adriana Lima
Earnings: $11.5 Million
Brazilian actress and model, Adriana Lima occupies the number nine position on the list of highest-paid models with earnings calculated in excess of $11.5 million as at 2020. Lima was still in elementary school when luck smiled on her as she was introduced into the glittering world of modeling. This proved to be a stepping stone with her delving fully into showbiz. From 2003 to 2009, the Brazilian damsel and former beauty pageant winner worked with Maybelline cosmetics as the company spokesmodel.
She earned additional recognition from her Swatch ad campaign. International magazines like Marie Claire and Vogue have featured her in several editions. Her runway career has seen her work with famous designers such as Vera Wang, Giorgio Armani, and Valentino. In 2000, Lima came on board as a GUESS girl, appearing in their ad campaign for fall the same year. She later moved on to greater height with brands like Versace, Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Armani. By 2012, The celeb model already appeared on the Forbes list for top-earning models at #4 position.
8. Rosie Huntington-Whitely
Earnings: $13 Million
Apart from being an English model, Rosie Huntington-Whitely earns huge paychecks as an actress and entrepreneur. Her work for the beauty product company Victoria Secrets speaks for itself and the British luxury fashion house, Burberry employed her services as the face of Burberry Body which is their brand fragrance; she has also worked with the likes of Ugg’s. Rosie owns a series of make-up, lingerie, and fragrances lines for department store Marks & Spencers.
Her appearance on the list of highest-paid models is not only due to her modeling gigs. The English model has also excelled in the movie world where she has several movie credits, winning multiple awards and nominations in the process. Her career earnings of $13 million notwithstanding, Rosie, who is married to British actor, Jason Statham, shares her husband fortune. Recently, Forbes magazine named her one of the world’s highest-paid models of our time.
7. Liu Wen
Earnings: $23 Million
The Chinese model has many firsts to her name. She is the first Asian model to appear on Forbes list of highest-paid models; the first model to wear an Apple watch on the cover of Vogue magazine; first Asian model to walk Victoria’s Secret runway, and many more. Liu was dubbed China’s first bona fide supermodel by The New York Times in 2012. Another first was recorded for the East Asian model was when she landed a contract with the Estée Lauder Companies working as their spokesmodel. Though she was the first to appear on the cover of Vogue sporting an Apple watch, Liu Wen was the second Chinese model to grace the magazine’s cover.
She earns very huge paychecks modeling for lingerie label like La Perla, and campaigns with Massimo Dutti, MO&Co, and H&M. Lui has also worked with the likes of Karl Lagerfeld, Viktor and Rolf, Hermes, and Chanel on the runway. The model who has made appearances on a handful of Chinese TV shows also earns from endorsements in her country. Liu is equally good in editorial work which she has done for big names like Oscar de la Renta, Dolce & Gabbana, as well as, Hugo Boss. The East Asian model is currently based in New York City where she is being managed by The Society Management.
6. Bella Hadid
Earnings: $25 Million
Isabella Khair Hadid is the younger sister of Gigi Hadi who gained popularity under the moniker ‘Bella Hadid’. Apart from appearing on the highest-paid models’ list, this American native is considered among the most talented and stylish models in the modern fashion scene. In 2016, she was named Model of the Year by Model.com, having kick-started her modeling career at a very tender age working on a Flynn Skye commercial project.
Established in her chosen path, Bella Hadid soared in her career, modeling for prominent designers in the fashion industry like Marc Jacobs, Diane von Fürstenberg, Balmain, Fendi, Chanel, and Tommy Hilfiger. Her photos have been seen on the covers of some of the most popular celeb magazines such as Elle, Seventeen, Tag Heuer, Bulgarie, Vogue Australia, and Teen Vogue. Bella seems to have good business acumen as she has since launched her fashion clothing line – Robert Riley’s.
5. Karlie Kloss
Earnings: $25 Million
One of the most striking fashion models in America, Karlie Kloss is an ex-Victoria Secret Angel who earns her pay as the face of Coco Noir Chanel fragrance. Needless to say that she gained the needed popularity from her gig with the top-notch perfume company which opened several inroads into other juicy deals. Her contract with Victoria Secret lasted for three years from 2011 to 2014 and she has since become the face of some major brands like Lancaster, Nike, and Donna Karan. She has also penned huge contracts with the likes of L’Oreal, Kate Spade, and Joe Fresh. In March 2015, the famous model graced the cover of Vogue with her BFF, Taylor Swift.
As an ardent coder, Kloss entered into a partnership with Code.org and Flatiron School to make available a scholarship program she called “Kode with Karlie” to young girls who share her like passion for software development. She also earned part of her $25 million fortune from her ventures as an entrepreneur, which means it comes as no surprise that she made the list of the highest-paid models.
4. Joan Smalls
Earnings: $26 Million
Joan Smalls graced the runway more times than any other model on the list and all that activity has earned her a place among the highest-paid models in the world. Besides, her increased activities have reflected on her earnings which have skyrocketed to $26 million as of 2020. More activity means more ads and Smalls has added quite a lot to her portfolio – Marc Jacobs, Joe Fresh Calvin Klein, to name a few. She also serves as Moschino fragrances ambassador. Together with the new additions, Smalls maintained her lucrative deals with H&M and Estée Lauder where she currently serves as the face of their products.
Working with many of the big-name beauty brands has exposed the model to even bigger deals – like the endorsement she has with W Hotels. The Puerto Rican model involves herself in philanthropy donating to Project Sunshine – an organization aimed at offering healthcare to children.
3. Cara Delevingne
Earnings: $28 Million
Cara Delevingne made her modeling debut at the tender age of 10 for Vogue Italia. The English model was already a teenager when she stepped into the glamorous world, signing a deal with Storm Model Management – a London based modeling agency. The ensuing years were quite productive for the English lady who moved on to achieve numerous feats in modeling: this includes emerging as a two-time Model of the Year at the British Fashion Awards in both 2012 and 2014 and being the 2011 and 2012 face of Burberry’s spring/summer campaigns.
Cara and her signature eyebrows have shown up in several shows for top-notch major fashion houses such as Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, Jason Wu, Moschino, Fendi, and Mulberry. She has also worked for YSL, Topshop, and DKNY, Cara Delevingne ranked #13 on the list of Most Desirable Women by AskMen. The popular model’s career earning is currently pegged at $28 million, thanks to her diversified sources which include acting, music, and social media. As an actress, she has starred in several movies which include Paper Towns, Pan, Kids in Love, etc. Cara has graced the covers of Vogue UK, i-D, Russh, Jalouse, and Love fashion magazines.
2. Gigi Hadid
Earnings: $29 Million
Taking the number two spot on the line-up the highest-paid models in the world is Gigi Hadid. The elegant model seems to be hot on the heels of Kendal Jenner as she is gunning to overtake the highest-paid title with lucrative deals with big names like Tommy Hilfiger, Maybelline, Topshop, and BMW. She launched her modeling career at the age of two with the popular American clothing brand Guess. Hadid has an ongoing deal with IMG Models signed since 2013 and the next year November saw her debut in the Top 50 Models ranking at Models.com.
The British Fashion Council named her International Model of the Year in 2016. All the famous model’s endorsements are with top-notch companies, and she has equally delved into the movie industry with a good number of movies and television series under her belt. In fact, Gigi is considered to be quite versatile with her career as she adds some music videos to her portfolio.
1. Kendall Jenner
Earnings: $30 Million
Kendall Jenner made her entrance into the fashion scene in 2014, launching her career with a gig for Rocker Babes. The youngster needed just a year before she made it to the league of highest-paid models. And thanks to her appearance on the KUWTK show which gained her much fame with a massive social media following, this Kardashian sibling is now among the preferred choice by fashion brands. Jenner graced the cover of Teen Vogue working and walking for Vera Wang, Donna Karan, as well as Victoria’s Secret. After appearing on several magazines cover, the beautiful model went into partnership with Proactiv as their spokesperson.
Jenner represents the likes of Fendi, Chanel, La Perla, Balmain, and Marc Jacobs. In addition, she has signed lucrative deals with Karl Lagerfeld, Givenchy, Pepsi, Estee Lauder, and Calvin Klein. The Insta-model is equally known as a media personality who rose to prominence on the set of the television show Keeping Up with the Kardashians. All these contributed to her current earnings of $30 million, giving her pride of place as the highest-paid model in 2020.