Beauty AND Brains – Fashion Models Who Became Business Moguls

High fashion models today are some of the most recognisable faces and names in current popular media. While in the past it was pop stars and movie actors who garnered the most fame, the evolution of the supermodel in the early 90’s meant that all eyes were suddenly on them. It was supermodels who were suddenly on the cover of magazines and on the front row at fashion shows – and this trend has only grown over time.

Today, top supermodels have the most followers on Instagram and are able to demand huge sums of money for shoots and brand advertisements. But modelling isn’t the only reason for their success and fortune. Many models have gone into business and created empires worth millions.

Read on to discover which fashion models went from runway to business entrepreneur, and how they did it.

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Why Are Fashion Models So Popular?

Supermodels live covetable lives. The rise of social media now means we can take a peek into their “everyday” lives whenever we want. We see models travelling abroad to exotic locations, wearing the most expensive clothing and socialising with other A-listers. Many of us could only dream of such a lifestyle, and we enviably follow them in the hopes we can somehow replicate at least parts of their lives or live vicariously through them.

And let’s not forget that supermodels working in high-fashion have physiques that make up only 2% of the world’s population. Their height, combined with their proportional slender build, is incredibly rare. It means that many of us could only dream of achieving such a body type. Even if we ate the exact same as them and did their workouts 7 days a week, the majority of us would never be able to replicate their look.

High-fashion brands love to appear exclusive; what better way than to hire people who do not look like the average person?

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Why Have Models Turned to Business?

Modelling, generally, does not have a long life span. Most models reach their highest levels of fame in their early 20’s before jumping ship to find other sources of revenue that will see them beyond their late 20’s (the common age for modelling retirement, at least in high fashion). This has lead many supermodels into the world of business, where – perhaps surprisingly to some – many models have increased their huge fortunes and have made even bigger names for themselves.

These models have proven they’re not just a pretty face. They have managed to create multi-million-pound brands by using their modelling success combined with their influence, their network and their business-savviness.

Models Who Become Businesswomen

Tyra Banks

Tyra Banks is well-known for her modelling and runway career, but she is also very famous for being a businesswoman in America. She created and hosted two TV shows, one which she won an Emmy for. She has also got her own production company, Bankable Productions, and has written 3 books.

Elle Macpherson

Elle “The Body” Macpherson started her own modelling agency before going on to sell workout videos and create her own lingerie line, Elle Macpherson Intimates. She has her own line of beauty products and she presented Britain’s Next Top Model. Elle also has her own ingestible brand, WelleCo.

Naomi Campbell

​As one of the famous six, Naomi became famous as one of the world’s first supermodels in the early 90’s. She wrote a book (which was actually ghost-written for her) and then became one of the first celebrities to dabble in fragrances.

Gisele Bundchen

Gisele is known for her Victoria’s Secret modelling days and remains one of their most recognisable faces in the modelling world. Originally from Brazil, the bronzed beauty owns her own hotel there and has created her own flip flop and sandal line called Ipanema, which sells more than the popular Havaiianas. Gisele is number one on the Forbes’ top-earning models list.

Chrissy Teigen

As well as some TV presenting, Chrissy entered the food industry with her own cookbook series. This expanded into her own line of kitchenware which is sold exclusively in Target stores.


Iman started her own cosmetics line to cater to more people of colour. It’s still going strong today despite fierce competition from other celebrities who are releasing their own make-up lines.

Kate Moss

Kate had her own clothing line, as well as her own perfumes. She comes second to Gisele on the top earning models list by Forbes magazine.

Miranda Kerr

Another ex-Victoria’s Secret Angel, Miranda created her own line of natural skincare called Kora Organics. It’s now available in 25 countries and has over 30 products.

Heidi Klum

German model Heidi Klum is an impressive business woman. She hosts and produces multiple TV shows including Germany’s Next Top Model and Project Runway. She has designed multiple products including shoes, jewellery, maternity lines, perfumes, deodorants and shower gels. She has also written two books.

Why Are Models So Good At Business?

Not everyone is good at business, but the above appears to show that models have an aptitude for it. This isn’t necessarily the case and there are a number of factors that means models have found success in places other than modelling.

They’re Rich

Top models make a lot of money, and money always opens doors. Most top models are able to hire experts in business as well as financial experts to help them navigate the business world and entrepreneurship.

They’re Popular

Their popularity means they have a certain amount of influence and reach over the general population. They have large followings on their social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. This means they already have a large audience to sell products to. If a fan likes a celebrity, they are likely to purchase something they release regardless of if the product is actually effective or good. Influential people will always do better in business.

They’re Well-Connected

Ever heard the old adage “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know?” That is certainly the case when it comes to models in business. Their careers in modelling mean they will have networked and met many people who can help them in the business world.

They Have Access

A model’s riches and reach means they have accessibility to the best schools and education money can buy. Many models choose to go back into education after modelling to learn about other industries, including business.

Take a look at this video for some entrepreneur inspiration:

Why Are Models in Business Important?

Models who make it in business are contesting preconceived notions we have about models. Models are thought of as vacuous and vain, but a model who is able to show themselves as otherwise is challenging these old mindsets.

It’s also showing aspiring younger models the importance of a good education. Many younger models are keen to start their careers and may contemplate dropping out of school, but models in business all vouch for the importance of finishing your studies. Many models go back to school to earn degrees or complete other educational certificates.

Perhaps most importantly, these models have shown that there is far more to them than their looks. This is a hugely inspiring thing, particularly for young people and those who aspire to be models. Looks will fade eventually and modelling is notorious for its capricious and shallow nature; it is rare to enjoy a long and successful career in the fashion world. Despite this, top models have managed to contest the norm and prove it really is possible to have it all.

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