The highest paid models of 2016Fashion & LifestyleNews & Features
There aren’t many people in the world who could earn $30.5m in their first year of retirement: then again, Gisele Bundchen has always achieved far above and beyond the norms of her industry, and 2016 has only served to cement her legacy, placing her as the world’s highest paid model for the 14th consecutive year.
According to Forbes, the Brazilian supermodel – who recently sashayed down the catwalk in the Olympic Opening Ceremony in Rio – owes her impressive earnings to lucrative deals with the likes of Chanel, Carolina Herrera, and her own underwear and beauty lines.
Bundchen is approximately $20.5m ahead of Adriana Lima, fellow Brazilian and second on the list. Much of the top ten is a testament to the power of social media, which has been instrumental in building the careers of a new generation of models that includes Kendall Jenner (who shares first place with Karlie Kloss, earning $10m) and Gigi Hadid (joint fifth with Rose Huntington-Whiteley at $9m).
Forbes’ list also highlights the disappointing lack of diversity that still plagues catwalks and the pages of glossy magazines. Aside from Puerto Rican model Joan Smalls, American model Jasmine Tookes and Chinese model Liu Wen, the overwhelming majority of names on the list belong to white women. Highlighting one of the biggest issues facing the contemporary fashion industry, Forbes cite a FashionSpot survey of Spring 2016 print adverts in the USA which states that 78.2% of the models featured were white. This drastic lack of diversity is something that has been discussed over and over again within the context of the fashion industry, and yet it is still one its biggest problems.
Similarly, although the Forbes report does concede that many fashion agencies have gradually stepped up their efforts to promote transgender or plus-sized models, they highlight how rare it is for these women to “secure the lucrative long-term deals that result in six-to-seven figure paydays.” Indeed, no plus-sized or transgender women made the rankings at all.
According to Forbes, nearly a third of the names on this year’s list are new, whilst Victoria’s Secret Angels (who are always well-represented on the annual ranking) comprise 30% of the top earners.