For the first time since 2002, Gisele Bündchen is not the world’s highest-earning model. The model who has taken her place? Kendall Jenner. In 2017, Jenner earned £16 million, thanks to her engaged Instagram following, where she can post sponsored content; paycheques from her family’s reality show, Keeping Up With The Kardashians; a beauty contract with Estée Lauder; and campaigns for La Perla (which reportedly kept her from walking in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show), adidas, Fendi and Alexander Wang, among others. Plus, her Kendall + Kylie clothing line, controversy aside, always manages to sell out.
Don’t feel sorry for Bündchen; she comes in second with earnings of £13.5 million, down from £23.5 million in 2016, Forbes is also reporting. Not bad, considering she's technically retired. Rounding out the top three is Chrissy Teigen, who made £10.5 million, a first for the former Sports Illustrated model. Ashley Graham became the first plus-size model to make the list, coming in at number 10 with £4 million, thanks to her collections with Addition Elle, Dressbarn, and Swimsuits For All. Disappointingly but unsurprisingly, thanks to the general lack of diversity industry-wide, the only other non-white model to earn a top 10 spot is Liu Wen, who made £4 million.
“It is not about who has the highest cheekbones anymore,” Graham told Forbes in 2016 after being named to the magazine’s 30 Under 30 list. “It is really about how to be a boss, a brand, and a businesswoman.” And beyond off-the-catwalk ventures, it’s worth noting that this year’s top earners have huge social followings, including Bella Hadid (she came in at number nine with £4 million) and her sister Gigi, who earned £7 million, placing her at the number five spot.
“With social media, there are more opportunities to create your own content and use your voice,” Ivan Bart, president at IMG Models, tells Forbes. “The stars are using it.” Let's hope this time next year we'll see a more diverse line-up of models earning the top spots.