When it comes to the display and expression of the beauty of the physical body, long-running debates continue to exist in terms of their moral validity. While the world continues to work towards a consensus, however, there are those who have accepted the normalcy of the human body as a form of art, an exquisite frame through which other objects of art and creativity can be showcased. These people form the basis of the fashion industry, from the highest-paid models to the most patronized designers.
Since fashion became an expression of human creativity and not our quest for survival from the harshness of the climate, models have existed as a way of displaying and selling different fashion products to potential customers. As time passed, the importance of models grew and their place in the fashion world became a respectable and coveted position. They were the people who either naturally or through self-discipline, possess and have achieved the highest qualities of the human body in physical appearance.
The highest-paid models in the world right now are women who have, through hard work, talent, and the use of social media, amplified their influence and reach among the people – because after all, modeling is all about the ability to convince people to invest in a product. The model has helped throw the door wide open for even insiders to earn some of the abundance of money available in the fashion industry. In this list, we take a look at the top ten people leading the table as the highest-paid models in the world right now.
Here Are The Highest Paid Models Around The Globe At The Moment
1. Kendall Jenner – $22.5 million
Kendall Jenner has done for herself what many models aspire to – become the leading name in the industry. As a model, she has worked for popular international brands like Estee Lauder, Adidas, Calvin Klein. Her social media influence, which for modeling is primarily Instagram has her with a follower base of 102.4 million followers.
It is the highest any model has and she has used the reach to build an advertiser base that sees her earn an average of $500,000 per sponsored post on Instagram. Through this, and her modeling income from walking for the likes of Victoria Secret, Versace, and Elle, she earned $22.5 million in the past year.
2. Karlie Kloss – $13 million
The second-highest-paid model on the list is Karlie Kloss, who was Victoria’s Secret model from 2011 to 2015. In the past year, however, she earned the biggest annual income of her career, through the use of social media, just like Kendall Jenner to boost her income. Karlie Kloss has over 7.9 million followers and she has been able to leverage this in earning lump sums for sponsored posts. She is also a programmer with entrepreneurial investments in a couple of startups. All of her ventures combined have helped her to become one of the highest-paid models in the world.
3. Chrissy Teigen – $11.5 million
While most models have stuck to Instagram, leveraging on the picture focus style of the social media network, Chrissy Teigen has diversified her social media brand across all the major platforms, especially Twitter, where she is routinely referred to as the Queen of Twitter. Her wit and interaction with fans make her the perfect destination for brands looking to push their advertisements organically to the larger public.
Although her modeling ventures have reduced, with her career as a chef and recipe book writer and a television host taking more of a center stage, she still finds the time to pose for the occasional shoot with different brands. All of her ventures helped Chrissy to a whopping $11.5 million income, placing her third on our list of highest-paid models in the world.
4. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley – $11.5 million
One of the models and entrepreneurs to make this annual list is Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Rosie made her name as Victoria’s Secret model but has been able to build a career, creating her own line of lingerie, make-up, and fragrances in a collaboration with Marks & Spencers. While she poses for pictures on runways, for shoots, wearing different brands, Rosie makes money from her business ventures, which other than her cosmetic products, also include ad revenue from her personal beauty website, Rose. Inc. In the past year, these ventures have placed her at number four on our list of the highest-paid models in the world.
5. Cara Delevingne – $10 million
Cara Delevingne is one of the couple British models who make it to this year’s list of highest-paid models in the world. Making the list at number five, Cara’s earnings in the past year has been a result of commercial deals with brands like Douglas Cosmetics, Tag Heuer, Rimmel, Dior Beauty, and a few other brands scattered across the fashion industry. Also, an actress, she has roles in Valerian and City of a Thousand Planets, London Fields, and Her Smell to thank for her windfall in the past year which totals at $10 million.
Although she is still a model appearing in photoshoots, Cara Delevingne is currently focused on building an acting career and she is set to appear in a television show, Carnival Row in 2019, suggesting that if she does appear on this list in the next year, it might not necessarily be a result of her modeling career.
6. Gisele Bundchen – $10 million
Gisele Bundchen is a supermodel, and an iconic one at that, so making lists for the highest-paid models such as this is a walk in the park for her. For a long time, she dominated this list, standing tall as the highest-paid model in the world for fifteen years until 2017 when she lost out to the meteoric rise of Kendall Jenner. Since then, she has slid further down the list but the legacy of the Brazilian model has kept her among the top earners in her industry.
She made $10 million through a published book and advertisement revenues for Stuart Weitzman and her home country’s brands like Vivara and Arezzo. With two children and a stepchild, Gisele’s ability to remain at the top speaks of her enduring legacy and talents.
7. Gigi Hadid – $9.5 million
Gigi Hadid is one of the models currently benefitting from the increased popularity and influence of social media on the fashion industry. She can boast of over 45 million followers on Instagram, a figure that plays well into her earning power both in terms of sponsored posts and her modeling contracts.
She has a long-running collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger that will be coming to an end during this financial year cycle, but with a makeup line with Maybelline, Messika jewelry, and Vogue Eyewear, Gigi Hadid has nothing to worry about in terms of her financial revenue. In the past year, she was able to pull in $9.5 million.
8. Bella Hadid – $8.5 million
The Hadid sisters have a cult following that has played into their earning power in the industry. Bella Hadid, who is the youngest person to make this list made an estimated $8.5 million in the past year, modeling for brands like Bulgari, Dior, and Tag Heuer. Her social media reach of 22 million followers is also one of the deciding factors in the young model’s successful year.
She is expected to make a lot more in the next financial cycle as she grows further into the industry and the going rate for sponsored posts increases. Also, the strength of her brand despite the controversies it has endured in the past year makes her a worthy brand for others to work with.
9. Joan Smalls – $8.5 million
Joan Smalls is a Puerto Rican model who struts the runway with an elegance that is admirable, even among her peers. She, unlike most other models on this list whose modeling is mostly limited to photoshoots for brands, walks the runway. Since social media made modeling and its motives a lot more intrusive to the regular customer, runways have been relegated in priority but it still carries a lot of weight, and Joan Smalls is doing a lot of the lighting.
In between her many commitments as a runway model, she made shoot campaigns for brands like Moschino fragrances and Estee Lauder. This has helped the model to a very decent $8.5 million in income in the past year to place her ninth on our list of highest-paid models in the world.
10. Doutzen Kroes – $8 million
She made a return to this exclusive list through her deal with world-renowned cosmetics brand, L’Oreal. Doutzen Kroes, who is a Dutch supermodel got her start as a Victoria Secret Model. Just like Gisele, for a long time in her career, she was one of the top five earners in the industry for a very long time.
Although she is no longer at the top of the list, the nominal figure in her revenue has largely remained the same due to the increasing growth of the modeling economy, giving a larger number of models, bigger share of the pie. Apart from strutting during shoots and on runways, Doutzen is also an activist and actress. In the past year, she was able to earn an estimated $8 million from her various contracts.
Notable names who were unable to make the list are supermodels, Adriana Lima, Liu Wen, and Ashley Graham. Perhaps they will next year.