From the Runway to the Office: When Models Take on the Business World

You may recognize these faces from the runway and countless magazine advertisements, but don’t be fooled. These ladies are so much more than pretty faces. Not only have these models made some smart and very lucrative business decisions over the years, but many of them also use their platforms for meaningful charity work.

Ashley Graham, Kate Upton, Bella Hadid, Cara Delevingne
Ashley Graham, Kate Upton, Bella Hadid, Cara Delevingne. Photo By Kristina Bumphrey/StarPix/Shutterstock / Broadimage/Shutterstock / Shutterstock / Chelsea Lauren/Shutterstock

A modeling career may only last for a few years, but good business ventures can last a lifetime. From designing clothes and jewelry to producing popular television shows, these models have proved that flawless genes and a business mindset are a great combination.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s take a look at our list of supermodels who are taking over the business world!

Lady Amelia Windsor

Estimated Net Worth: $1 million

The daughter of the Earl of St. Andrews and Prince Harry’s third cousin, Lady Amelia, sure has made a name for herself. She signed as a model with Storm Management and quickly formed quite the modeling portfolio. Lady Amelia was featured on the covers of Tatler and Vogue Japan and even walked for Dolce & Gabbana at the 2017 Milan Fashion Week.

Lady Amelia Windsor
Lady Amelia Windsor. Photo By Anthony Harvey/Shutterstock

She then paired up with Penelope Chilvers to release a line of shoes in 2018. The two donated 20 percent of their sales to War Child, a British charity that helps children in war-torn countries. Lady Amelia has also interned for BVLGARI, worked for Chanel, and is a contributing fashion editor for Tatler’s online publication.

Winnie Harlow

Estimated Net Worth: $3 million

Winnie Harlow has skyrocketed into stardom for being a model and spokesperson with vitiligo. Harlow got her start on the 21st season of America’s Next Top Model after Tyra Banks discovered her on Instagram. While she wasn’t crowned winner, Harlow’s career took off.

Winnie Harlow
Winnie Harlow. Photo By John Photography/Shutterstock

She has been featured on the covers of Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Vogue Italia, and modeled for the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Besides her successful modeling career, Harlow is also very open with her experience with bullying and teasing because of her rare skin condition. She spoke about her past struggles with vitiligo at a TED Talk in 2014 and was also chosen as one of BBC’s 100 Women in 2016.

Lindsay Ellingson

Estimated Net Worth: $4 million

Model Lindsay Ellingson has quite the portfolio. We don’t even know where to start! She has walked in several shows for designers such as Oscar de la Renta and Chanel, graced the covers of Vogue and GQ, and worked on campaigns for Dolce and Gabbana and Tommy Hilfiger (just to name a few). Ellingson got her start at Victoria’s Secret in 2007, where she walked runways for seven straight years.

Lindsay Ellingson
Lindsay Ellingson. Source: Shutterstock

The model earned her “wings” in 2011 and is currently listed as one of the brand’s 12 “supermodels.” In 2015, she helped launch the luxury beauty brand Wander Beauty and has been serving as their creative director ever since. The Victoria’s Secret Angel married her long-time boyfriend, Sean Clayton, in 2014 and gave birth to her son, Carter, in May 2020.

Riley Keough

Estimated Net Worth: $5 million

Although she is the eldest granddaughter of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley, Riley Keough prefers to keep her lineage on the down-low. After her parent’s divorce, Keough lived mainly with her dad in Hawaii, far removed from a life of glitz and glamor. Keough started her modeling career with Dolce & Gabbana when she was only 15 years old.

Riley Keough
Riley Keough. Photo By Shawn Goldberg/Shutterstock

After walking for Christian Dior and being featured on covers for Vogue and Elle Japan, Keough turned to acting. She was cast in films such as Magic Mike and Steven Soderbergh’s The Girlfriend Experience, for which she received a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series.

Ashley Graham

Estimated Net Worth: $10 million

Ashley Graham took the world by storm when she appeared in Sports Illustrated’s annual Swimsuit Issue in 2015. She made history the following year by not just appearing in the issue but becoming the first size 16 model to grace the cover.

Ashley Graham on the red carpet
Photo by Gregory Pace / Shutterstock

Since her cover, Graham has released a memoir, served as a backstage host for Miss USA and Miss Universe parents, and given TED talks about body positivity. She has been praised by women all around the globe for going against the grain by uploading untouched photos of herself to Instagram. The Nebraska native married videographer Justin Ervin in 2010 and gave birth to her first child, Isaac, in January 2020.

Sara Ziff

Estimated Net Worth: $1-5 million

When Sara Ziff is not walking for Prada and Balenciaga, she is advocating for different causes, particularly pertaining to workers’ rights in the modeling industry. She is a known advocate for poor working conditions in the modeling world, which she says is “an overlooked frontier of women’s rights and workers’ rights.”

Sara Ziff, 'Russian Winter' film premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, New York, America 
Sara Ziff. Photo By Broadimage/Shutterstock

In 2012, Ziff created the Model Alliance, which is a nonprofit organization in New York that campaigns for maximum working hours, basic labor protections, and educational requirements. Ziff is also known for her involvement with Save the Children, a British organization that provides relief to children in developing countries.

Alexa Chung

Estimated Net Worth: $12 million

Like many other models, Alexa Chung is known for her work in various business ventures. After starting her career as a teen model for Elle Girl and Urban Outfitters, Chung starred in the scripted reality show, Shoot Me. The British “It girl” is known for her distinctive style and is a regular model for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

Alexa Chung, Fashion For Relief, Arrivals, Spring Summer 2020, London Fashion Week, UK
Alexa Chung. Source: Shutterstock

In 2009, Chung became a contributing editor for British Vogue, interviewing designers such as Christopher Kane and the late Karl Lagerfeld. Besides hosting various gigs and writing a book, Chung also has her own fashion label, Alexachung, which was launched in May 2017. Chung’s most recent work was co-hosting the Netflix fashion competition, Next In Fashion, alongside Queer Eye’s Tan France.

Kate Upton

Estimated Net Worth: $20 million

After being crowned Rookie of the Year in the 2011 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Kate Upton went on to become one of the publication’s most well-known models. Upton went on to grace the magazine’s cover in 2012, 2013, and again in 2017. She was also photographed by world-renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair’s 100th-anniversary cover.

Photo by Matt Baron / Shutterstock (left and right)

Other than being a superstar in the modeling world, Upton also works as an actress, appearing in films such as The Other Woman and Tower Heist. In 2014, the model was the centerpiece of a $40 million campaign for the mobile game Game of War: Fire Age. Upton married professional baseball player Justin Verlander in 2014 and gave birth to their daughter, Genevieve, in 2018.

Molly Sims

Estimated Net Worth: $20 million

Like many models, Molly Sims launched her career after appearing in several Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues in the early 2000s. After appearing in the 2006 issue wearing a $30 million bikini made of diamonds, Sims became a CoverGirl model. The model also appeared as Delinda Deline in NBC’s drama series Las Vegas.

Molly Sims, 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, Arrivals, Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, USA 
Molly Sims. Photo By Christopher Polk/People/Shutterstock

Sims has also speared in numerous comedy films such as The Benchwarmers, The Pink Panther 2, Yes Man, and Fired Up! In 2004, the model turned actress launched her own jewelry line and has been a guest on talk shows such as The View. Sims is also the Global Ambassador for the Five & Alive program, which brings awareness to diseases that affect children under the age of 5 in developing countries.

Bella Hadid

Estimated Net Worth: $25 million

Daughter of real-estate developer Mohamed Hadid and Dutch model Yolanda Hadid and sister to supermodel Gigi, of course, Bella Hadid has made quite the name for herself. After walking for Desigual at the 2014 New York Fashion Week, the 23-year-old is now one of the industry’s highest-paid models.

Bella Hadid on the catwalk
Bella Hadid on the catwalk. Source: Shutterstock

The model has walked and posed for almost every designer in the fashion world, many times alongside Gigi. The two sisters are often compared to one another, as each has their own distinct look. Hadid has also been featured in several editorials for major publications, such as Glamour UK, W Magazine, and Vogue. Hadid is also an ambassador for Dior makeup, Tag Heuer, and Bulgari’s accessory lines.

Chrissy Teigen

Estimated Net Worth: $26 million ($75 million combined with John Legend)

Besides from her hilarious tweets and relatable posts on social media, Chrissy Teigen is a model, TV personality, and author. After appearing as a substitute model for Deal or No Deal, Teigen appeared on the cover of Maxim’s 2007. She was named Rookie of the Year in Sports Illustrated 2010 Swimsuit Issue.

Chrissy Teigen
Chrissy Teigen. Photo By Matt Baron/Shutterstock

Since then, the model has graced the cover of Cosmopolitan and has appeared in editorials for Glamour and Vogue Italia. Teigen has recently taken a step back from modeling and dove headfirst into the cooking world. She filmed a cooking special, Cookies and Cocktails, for the Cooking Channel and released her own line of cookware, as well as two cookbooks.

Sofia Vergara

Estimated Net Worth: $180 million

Fans may recognize Sofia Vergara as the hilarious Gloria from modern family, but before she made it on TV, she was a bikini model in Mexico. She was spotted on the beach by a photographer when she was just a teenager and was quickly offered several modeling and televisions gigs. Her first TV appearance was for a Pepsi commercial when she was 17.

Photo by Matt Baron / Shutterstock

After modeling swimsuits in Mexico, the Colombian-American landed a job co-hosting two shows for Univision, which led to her lucrative acting career. Since becoming an actress, Sofia has been the face of CoverGirl, designed clothes for Kmart, and became an ambassador for the shampoo brand, Head & Shoulders.

Gigi Hadid

Estimated Net Worth: $29 million

At only 25 years old, Gigi Hadid is one of the highest-paid and most in-demand models in the world. The now pregnant model has walked for almost every high fashion designer under the sun and has been featured on 35 international Vogue covers. In 2016, Hadid was awarded the International Model of the Year by the British Fashion Council, and she officially became a Victoria’s Secret Angel.

Photo by Kristina Bumphrey / StarPix / Shutterstock

She has also been the face of several designer brands, such as Prada, Tommy Hilfiger, Burberry, and BMW. In 2018, Hadid teamed up with Reebok to release a line of shoes and apparel. The model almost broke the Internet in April 2020 when she announced her pregnancy with former One Direction member and on-again-off-again boyfriend, Zayn Malik.

Cara Delevingne

Estimated Net Worth: $28 million

At 17 years old, model Cara Delevingne signed with Storm Management, one of the largest modeling agencies in the UK. It didn’t take long for her career to take off. In 2012 and 2013, Delevingne walked in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which helped cement her career as a model. After befriending the late Karl Lagerfeld and walking for several designers, Delevingne put her catwalking on the back burner so she could focus on something else: her acting career.

Cara Delevingne
Cara Delevingne. Photo By Richard Young/Shutterstock

The model turned actress made her on-screen debut in 2012 after taking a minor role in the film Anna Karenina alongside actress Keira Knightley. Delevingne has also written and recorded two albums, designed fashion collections for Mulberry and DKNY, and become a novelist with her young adult fiction novel, Mirror, Mirror.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

Estimated Net Worth: $30 million

Model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is best known as a former Victoria’s Secret Angel and the face of Burberry’s 2011 fragrance for women, Burberry Body. The British model has since walked for several designers such as Balmain and Versace and has appeared in advertising campaigns for Levi’s and Tommy Hilfiger.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Photo By Anthony Harvey/Shutterstock

Huntington-Whiteley ventured into acting after replacing Megan Fox in the third installment of the Transformers series, alongside Shia LeBeouf. While her acting skills weren’t well-received by critics, Huntington-Whiteley was still cast as The Splendid Angharad in the 2015 film Mad Max. The British native has been in a relationship with actor Jason Statham since 2010, and she gave birth to their son in 2017.

Christy Turlington

Estimated Net Worth: $40 million

Like many of the models on our list, Christy Turlington is more than just a pretty face. She is a charity founder and campaigner, as well as a filmmaker. In 2013, Turlington was named one of Glamour’s Women of the Year and made it onto TIME’s list of 100 most influential people the following year.

Christy Turlington
Christy Turlington. Photo By Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock

The 51-year-old founded the nonprofit organization—Every Mother Counts, in 2010, which focuses on raising awareness for safe childbearing practices. The idea for the nonprofit came from Turlington’s time directing her documentary, No Woman, No Cry, which focused on pregnant women and their caregivers in Tanzania. Turlington has been married to director and writer Edwards Burns since 2003, and the couple have two children, Grace and Finn.

Karlie Kloss

Estimated Net Worth: $30 million

At only 17 years old, Karlie Kloss was named as one of the “top 30 models of the 2000s” by the prestigious Vogue Paris. Although the model signed with Victoria’s Secret the following year, she took a break to study at New York University. Besides an interest in fashion, Kloss also has an interest in computer programming.

Karlie Kloss
Karlie Kloss. Photo By John Photography/Shutterstock

In 2015, she launched Kode with Klossy, a two-week coding camp for teenage girls who are interested in software engineering. The model and entrepreneur also collaborated with Teach for America to extend the coding camp to 25 cities across the United States. Kloss also teamed up with New York’s Milk Bar to create Karlie’s Kookies, using its proceeds to help hungry children around the world.

Elizabeth Hurley

Estimated Net Worth: $50 million

Known as Hugh Grant’s girlfriend in the ‘90s, Elizabeth Hurley has since made a name for herself. The British model and actress is best known for her association with the beauty brand Estée Lauder. The makeup company gave Hurley her first modeling job when she was 29 years old, and she has since become an ambassador and model for their perfumes.

Elizabeth Hurley
Elizabeth Hurley. Photo By Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock

Hurley has also appeared in a handful of films such as Bedazzled and Austin Powers. When she’s not modeling or acting, Hurley runs her own beachwear line, which she named after herself. The 55-year-old is also a famous supporter of the Elton John AIDS Foundation as well as City Veterans Network, which helps rehabilitate and employ British veterans.

Naomi Campbell

Estimated Net Worth: $80 million

Naomi Campbell was one of the most recognizable and sought-after models in the ‘80s and ‘90s. After being discovered at 15 years old, Campbell was one of six models of her generation to be declared a supermodel by the international press and the fashion industry. The model also holds the title as the first Black model to be featured on the cover of Vogue’s September issue, the publication’s largest and most important issue.

Naomi Campbell
Naomi Campbell. Photo By Anthony Harvey/Shutterstock

While Campbell has been featured in campaigns for several designers, she is more than just a pretty face. Not only has she recorded an R&B/pop studio album, but Campbell has also made several films and TV appearances. She is an advocate for fair opportunity for Black models.

Claudia Schiffer

Estimated Net Worth: $60 million

Claudia Schiffer was one of the world’s most successful models in the ‘90s. The German model, who was often compared to Brigitte Bardot, holds the Guinness World Record for the most magazine covers, which is well over 1,000. Schiffer made her acting debut in the 1994 children’s movie Richie Rich and appeared in a handful of films up until the early 2000s.

Claudia Schiffer
Claudia Schiffer. Photo By Anthony Harvey/Shutterstock

The model is also involved with UNICEF and is currently the UK Goodwill Ambassador. Schiffer was once engaged to magician David Copperfield and appeared as his special guest assistant. Following their break up in 1999, Schiffer went on to marry director Matthew Vaughn. The couple has three children: Casper, Clementine, and Cosima.

Kate Moss

Estimated Net Worth: $80 million

Kate Moss arrived a little late to the “supermodel” era and rose to fame in the mid-’90s when size zero was in fashion. The model was first discovered at New York’s JFK airport when she was only 14 years old and has been active in the fashion industry ever since. Not only is she known for her various magazine covers and fashion campaigns, but she is also known for her rebel looks and attitude.

Kate Moss
Kate Moss. Photo By John Photography/Shutterstock

In fact, Moss is so iconic that a $2.8 million gold statue of her went on display at the British Museum in 2008. Moss has also appeared in various music videos for artists like the White Stripes, Elton John, and Paul McCartney. Moss has one daughter, with Dazed & Confused editor Jefferson Hack.

Christie Brinkley

Estimated Net Worth: $100 million

The “Uptown Girl” who inspired Billy Joel’s famous song reached international stardom after appearing on three consecutive covers for Sports Illustrated beginning in 1979. Christie Brinkley was the face of CoverGirl for 25 years, which was is one of the longest modeling contracts in history. During her long career, Brinkley has also been featured on over 500 magazine covers.

Christie Brinkley
Christie Brinkley. Photo By John Salangsang/Shutterstock

She has been romantically linked to many wealthy men, including Moët-Chandon Champagne heir Olivier Chandon de Brailles, singer Billie Joel, and real estate developer Richard Taubman. Since rising to fame as a model, Brinkley went on to work as a TV personality, actress, illustrator, photographer, writer, designer, and human and animal rights activist. What can’t this girl do?

Tyra Banks

Estimated Net Worth: $90 million

Tyra Banks’ list of achievements goes on and on, but she is best known for her hit reality competition series, America’s Next Top Model. Banks was also the first Black woman to appear on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue as well as GQ. She was also a Victoria’s Secret Angel for eight years starting in 1997, and, by the early 2000s, she was one of the world’s highest-paid models.

Tyra Banks
Tyra Banks. Photo By AFF-USA/Shutterstock

Over the years, Banks has become a role model and advocate for plus-sized models in the fashion industry. She made her television debut in 1993 as Will Smith’s friend Jackie Ames in the hit show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Elle Macpherson

Estimated Net Worth: $95 million

Model Elle Macpherson rose to fame after she appeared on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue five consecutive times at the beginning of the ’80s. Her record-setting covers earned her the nickname “The Body,” which was coined by TIME Magazine in 1989. In the early ‘90s, Macpherson made a handful of movie appearances and had a reoccurring role on Friends.

Elle MacPherson
Elle MacPherson. Photo By Steve Meddle/ITV/Shutterstock

Besides modeling and acting, Macpherson is involved in many different business ventures, including her lingerie and skincare lines. From 2010 to 2013, she was also the executive producer and host of Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model. The model also co-founded WelleCo in 2014, which sells natural wellness supplements around the world.

Cindy Crawford

Net Worth: $200 million ($400 million combined with husband)

Cindy Crawford was the ultimate supermodel of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Her all-American looks and athletic build made her one of the most famous models in the world. She graced the covers of various magazines, including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Elle, to make a few. Crawford has also walked for almost every high fashion designer and has appeared in several fashion campaigns.

Cindy Crawford
Cindy Crawford. Photo By Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock

Crawford took an 11-year break from modeling starting in 2000, but she returned on the May 2011 issue of Vogue Mexico. In 2005, the model launched the Cindy Crawford Home Collection, where she consulted on the colors, features, and styles. She is also an official supporter and board member of the Ronald McDonald House Charities.


Estimated Net Worth: $100 million

Iman has had quite the career. Since rising to fame in 1975, Iman quickly became the muse for several fashion designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Gianni Versace, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, and Halston. After modeling for two decades, Iman launched her own cosmetics firm, which focused on shades that were difficult to find for women.

Iman. Photo By Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock

By 2010, Iman Cosmetics was a $25 million-a-year business. Besides her global beauty company, Iman is also very involved with her charity work. She is currently a spokesperson for the nonprofit called Keep a Child Alive, which provides healthcare to AIDS-affected communities in Africa. She has also played a significant role in the campaign against blood diamonds after she ended her contract with De Beers.

Heidi Klum

Estimated Net Worth: $160 million

As the first German model to join the ranks of the Victoria’s Secret Angel, Heidi Klum has secured her spot as not only the best model to come out of Germany but one of the top models in the world. After her 13 year-run as an Angel, Klum’s career has transitioned to business ventures.

Heidi Klum
Heidi Klum. Photo By Broadimage/Shutterstock

She became the host and judge for Germany’s Next Topmodel as well as Project Runway, which earned her an Emmy in 2013 for Outstanding Host for a Reality-Competition Program. Klum has also made a handful of appearances on popular television shows, such as How I Met Your Mother, Desperate Housewives, and Parks and Recreation. The former model has also designed clothing lines, shoes, swimsuits, and jewelry for well-known brands.

Gisele Bündchen

Estimated Net Worth: $400 million

Gisele Bündchen is the world’s highest-paid model since 2001, and rightfully so. The Brazilian-born supermodel is credited with ending the size zero grunge look when she arrived on the scene with a healthier, fuller look. Bündchen signed with Victoria’s Secret from 2000 until 2007, which was the brand’s biggest contract to date.

Gisele Bündchen
Gisele Bündchen. Photo By MediaPunch/Shutterstock

Since leaving the lingerie brand, the model made appearances in films such as The Devil Wears Prada and Taxi. Bündchen was also the executive producer of her environmental cartoon, Gisele & the Green Team. She is an advocate for a number of charities, including Save the Children and Doctors Without Borders. Since 2009, Bündchen has also served as the Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Environment Program.

Kathy Ireland

Estimated Net Worth: $500 million

While Kathy Ireland was initially known for her 13 consecutive Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues in the ‘90s, she has become so much more than just a pretty face. In 1993, Ireland founded her own marketing branding company, Kathy Ireland Worldwide, which made her one of the wealthiest former models in the world.

Kathy Ireland
Kathy Ireland. Photo By Matt Baron/Shutterstock

The model turned entrepreneur befriended Warren Buffet, who suggested that she take her business one step further and enter the home furnishings business. Ireland then branched out to design wedding dresses, jewelry, kitchenware, pet products, shipping containers, and more. Ireland also published several fitness videos and has written numerous children’s books. The former model was also the keynote speaker at several corporate and entrepreneurial events.