Elle Macpherson just turned 50, and the remarkable thing about her career is that while she was a wildly successful supermodel, now we think of her more as a businesswoman. (It doesn’t hurt that her lingerie is fantastic.) But Macpherson is far from the only model to have made that career shift. In honor of Elle Macpherson’s 50th birthday, here are 10 supermodels who went on to become really, really, ridiculously successful (and good-looking) businesswomen.
This post is in honor of Elle’s birthday, but Tyra still gets the first spot on this list. Not only is she a sometimes actress and the creator and host of America’s Next Top Model and her own mini-Oprah with her eponymous talk show, but she’s the author of the most bizarre Hunger Games knockoff in the Young Adult genre. It was called Modelland and was actually a New York Times best seller. ANTM may not have created any actual supermodels out of its winners, but it’s made Tyra more rich, famous, and successful than ever.
Kathy Ireland was a big supermodel in the 80s and 90s, and turned that fame first into a line of socks and then eventually a licensing operation that sells more than Martha Stewart. Seriously, she has her name on billions of dollars worth of things like furniture, floors, mattresses, and windows. Every model wants a fashion line, but by skipping the glamorous stuff and putting her name on seemingly random household items for “busy moms in the Midwest,” Ireland has become by far the richest model/mogul we’ve turned up.
Bundchen is the highest earning model working right now, and that’s not just from modeling gigs. She owns a hotel in Brazil and has a line of flip-flops that actually sells more than Havaianas.
Elle Macpherson was nicknamed “The Body” in 1989, and she liked it so much she later took the name for a line of workout videos and skincare products. She’s the host and producer of Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model, and her Elle Macpherson Intimates lingerie line (which is awesome) is the single best-selling lingerie line in the U.K. and Australia.
Iman Cosmetics is a $25 million/year business that focuses on foundation for women of color. She also has a hugely successful line of clothes and accessories called Global Chic that sells on the Home Shopping Network.
After being a big-time 90s supermodel, Christy Turlington got really into yoga. She’s written at least one yoga book, put out two activewear collections, and started an ayurvedic skincare line. She also produced and directed a documentary on maternal health and serves Harvard Medical School’s Global Health Council.
Kate Moss is still modeling, but she’s almost as famous as a style icon as she is as a model at this point. So it makes sense that for her non-model business she’s also branched out into fashion design with some wildly successful Topshop collections, handbag collections, and a line of carphone accessories from Carphone Warehouse. She’s also a contributing editor for Vogue U.K.
According to Wikipedia, Cindy Crawford got an academic scholarship to study chemical engineering at Northwestern, which she did for a term before realizing that the modeling thing was going to work out for her. Since she stopped modeling full time, she’s come out with a line of beauty products. She is also a furniture mogul, with lines at J.C. Penney and Raymore & Flanagan, as well as her eponymous Cindy Crawford Home Collection. (Hey, it worked for Kathy Ireland.)
Miranda Kerr has the glowiest skin around, and that doesn’t hurt in the marketing of her organic skincare line, Kora Organics. It’s expensive as hell, but fancy people seem to love it.
Karlie Kloss is just 21 and still mainly a model, but we expect her to go the Kathy Ireland route in a decade or two. She’s already created Karlie’s Kookies, a line of excruciatingly expensive, model safe “healthful” cookies, and a collection of denim for very, very tall women. Tall, leggy women notoriously have a difficult time finding long enough jeans, and Karlie spotted a hole in the marketplace and stepped up to fill it. Her instincts seem good, and we wouldn’t be surprised if she wound up with Gisele/Kate/Kathy levels of wealth someday.