, who owns a whooping $2 billion empire, has become the world’s richest supermodel. The products sold under her branding are so successful that they far outsell those of Martha Stewart’s line.
While some other supermodels, including Gisele Bundchen, Elle Macpherson,and , also own businesses, their riches seem small compared to Kathy Ireland's.
Ireland rose to fame when she first signed for the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 1984. The then 20-year-old model, who could hardly graduate her high school, appeared in a regular feature of the magazine for straight 12 years until 1996. However, her fame is not merely attributed to that. She began her entrepreneurial career in 1993, when she was approached by Kmart to put her name on their line of socks. Ever since, her name has appeared on a variety of clothing lines, furniture, flooring and even windows.
The cover girl built an empire of millions in retail products and has now a net worth of $350 million. The latest issue of Forbes magazine reports that the worth of Ireland’s empire is double than the worth of the empire of Martha Stewart, who sold products worth $900 million last year. Ireland made "an astounding $2 billion worth of licensed products at retail, making her a bigger licensor than the formidable Martha Stewart," according to Forbes.
The model also played roles in a number of movies including “Alien from LA”, “National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1” and “Once Upon a Christmas and Twice Upon a Christmas”. She has also written a number of books, three of which are for children.
As opposed to the other models who sell themselves within a specific niche, such as lingerie or runway, the 48-year-old defines herself more broadly, her company motto being, “Finding solutions for families, especially busy moms”.
She again became the focus of many when she recently appeared on the cover of Forbes and being the role model for the latest cover girl for Sports Illustrated, Kate Upton. Ireland gave Upton a piece of advice, saying, "So many young people say, 'I'm just going to see what happens.' It's so much more powerful to make things happen and have a plan."