Why Is Forbes’ “Highest Paid Models” List So Predictable?

On Thursday, Forbes released their list of the 10 highest-paid models of 2018. As one would expect, Kendall Jenner topped the list again this year, raking in an estimated $22.5 million. Karlie Kloss ranked in second place grossing $13 million, and Chrissy Teigen tied with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley at $11.5 million. Forbes took into account all pre-tax* earning estimates between June 1, 2017 through June 1, 2018–meaning, that any fees for agents or managers or lawyers (and, taxes) have yet to be deducted from this number. But don’t feel too bad, these models are still rolling in coin nonetheless. All together, the 10 highest-paid models in 2018 made a cool $113 million.


With that said, in 2018, when fashion is so hellbent on championing diversity, at times to the point of force feeding it, why does the Forbes list look so…one note? Of the ten women, there is one Puerto Rican model, Joan Smalls, and one half-Asian woman, Teigen. Not only is the list heavily skewed ethnically, but also in terms of size diversity. These women are all beautiful in their own rite, but together, represent a very accurate depiction of the gap between the top and the bottom of the fashion industry, both financially and physically.



The article goes on to discuss how social media has helped to skyrocket the careers of these models, giving them a platform to partner with brands to promote products, collaborations, et al. “Your social media page is your magazine of your life, so how you represent yourself matters,” Ivan Bart, president of IMG, told Forbes. “If you’re going to cross over, you have to have a vision for it.”


In 2017, curve model Ashley Graham rounded out the same Forbes list at number 10, but this year she dropped off. If fashion really cares about diversity, then why is it that more models of color, and of varying sizes, still are unable to use social media to attain the same height in their careers as the Forbes list models? What’s the difference?


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There are so many out there who hustling: Ashley Chew, Adesuwa Aighewi, and Paloma Elsesser, just to name a few. So, what seismic shift needs to take place in order for their to be diverse representation at the top? As it stands, this current list suggests that in order to be a truly successful model, one needs to look a certain way. And, honestly, how predictable.


The World’s Highest-Paid Models 2018:


1. Kendall Jenner, $22.5 million


2. Karlie Kloss, $13 million


3. (tie) Chrissy Teigen, $11.5 million


3. (tie) Rosie Huntington-Whitely, $11.5 million


5. (tie) Gisele Bundchen, $10 million


5. (tie) Cara Delevingne, $10 million


7. Gigi Hadid, $9.5 million


8. (tie) Bella Hadid, $8.5 million


8. (tie) Joan Smalls, $8.5 million


10. Doutzen Kroes, $8 million

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