It is really tempting to hate beautiful people just on principle. Granted, they probably spend roughly the same amount of time agonizing in front of the mirror as any of us, but their end result is decidedly more put together. But great bone structure and perfect skin can only get you so far in life, right? Surely academic performance, industriousness and a strong will to succeed are infinitely more important traits than being attractive. Maybe, but all of those nifty things plus a pretty face can net you a metric crap-ton of cash.
There’s no doubt whatsoever that models are hard-working people. All that walking around in heels and food related self-control has got to be difficult. But the rewards they reap for their willingness to strut their stuff are mind-blowing. And it’s not that it inspires hate, per se, so much as it tugs at that part of your brain that thinks “I could have done that.” If only you had worked out more, or taken better care of your skin. Or been taller.
It is worth noting that not all models are created equal. There are a privileged few that sit at the top of the list. The Forbes list, to be exact. Indeed, Forbes recently released their annual Highest-Paid Models numbers, and they’re a sight to behold. These supermodels made approximately $122 million collectively in the past year. Not being an expert in what, precisely, warrants a particular amount, it’s hard to say if this money is earned. But you can be the judge. Here are the fifteen highest-paid, and, accordingly, most visually appealing models in the world for 2016.
15. Alessandra Ambrosio, $5 million
Brazilian bombshell Alessandra Ambrosio starts the list. Don’t be fooled by her spot at number 15. She’s spent plenty of time at the top in the past. But, at 35 years, Ambrosio is most likely considered old by industry standards. Obviously, this doesn’t seem to pose too much of an issue as the Victoria’s Secret Angel is still raking in roughly $5 million annually. In addition to being beautiful, Brazilian, and possessing one of the coolest and alliterative names in the business, Ambrosio was also the inaugural model for Victoria’s Secret PINK line. Which, evidently, is a position called “spokesmodel” and if that’s not sort of hilarious, you are dead inside. Ambrosio has also modeled for Ralph Lauren, Christian Dior, and Armani.
14. Kate Moss, $5 million
It’s not that Kate Moss was the world’s super model. It’s not even that she was the most beautiful or the most successful. But, hands down, Kate Moss is the most iconic. She was born to be a model. Physically, yes, but Moss also occupies the role of a model so naturally that it’s hard to imagine her ever being anything else. Like Ambrosio, Moss has been at this for a long time. Longer, in fact. At 42, Moss is well beyond the typical cutoff age for models in the business, proving even further that her place is an established one. Moss was discovered at JFK Airport at the age of 14 and has been modeling ever since, meaning her career is just old enough to start worrying about a mid-life crisis. It’s highly doubtful Moss is feeling something similar, as she is still being given $5 million a year. Perks of being a legend.
13. Doutzen Kroes, $5 million
Is it a name? A Danish donut shop? A bad Scrabble hand? No, it’s just Doutzen Kroes. You know, the famous model from the Netherlands. If you haven’t heard of her, it’s probably because you’ve only ever heard the name spoken and it certainly does not sound like it looks. At any rate, Kroes manages to be famous enough to land herself on the highest paid models in the world list, lending further credence to the idea that Scandinavia is just one giant model factory, pushing out attractive people for the sake of keeping the world beautiful. Kroes, at 31, has been in the industry for some time now. That being said, she is also one of the few super models to not get sourced by a scouting agency. Additionally, Kroes got in to modeling at the ripe old age of 20, practically unheard of in the business. She still managed to become a Victoria’s Secret Angel. And net herself one of the top spots on the highest paid models list in 2014.
12. Lara Stone, $5.5 million
Lara Stone is a Dutch model and the apparent reincarnation of Brigitte Bardot. If Brigitte Bardot was dead, that is. Seriously, she’s still alive; go look it up. Stone is famous for being a famous model and not a Victoria’s Secret Angel. Which is like being a professional football player and playing for the JV football team at the local high school, if that football player was then paid $5.5 million a year. Stone is remarkably recognizable, which might be all she has going for her, as she doesn’t have the sort of established personality of contemporaries like Moss or Ambrosio. Instead, Stone has tarnished her image, opting for pictures for Calvin Klein in which she dry humps the Biebs. We’re not saying this is a career death blow, but it definitely doesn’t look good.
11. Natalia Vodianova, $5.5 million
At 34 years old, Vodianova was old enough to really understand the consequences and resulting impact of the collapse of the Berlin Wall and communism in her home country of Russia, then the Soviet Union. Maybe that’s why she made for greener pastures and opportunity in the land of super models and boat loads of money. Or maybe it’s too cold to be a model in Russia? Whatever the reason, we’re happy to have her and since joining the ranks of super models in America, Vodianova has carved out a neat little spot within Calvin Klein, representing the brand for eight seasons and drawing a seven figure salary for most of it. Also known by her nickname, Super Nova, Vodianova has given generously to charity and makes an effort to improve conditions for children back in Russia, particularly in urban areas.
10. Miranda Kerr, $6 million
It’s hard not to think of Miranda Kerr and separate her from her contentious love life. Married to Orlando Bloom for three years, Kerr was a frequent fixture on the red carpet and, despite being famous in her own right to begin with, sky-rocketed up the paparazzi’s hit list. As a result, they managed to capture a pretty hilarious moment where Orlando Bloom, upon finding out that Kerr was sleeping with renowned a-hole, Justin Bieber, took a swing at the Biebs. Unfortunately, he missed, but our dreams were (for a moment) collectively realized. Kerr has since dumped both boys in favor of Evan Spiegel, also renowned a-hole and co-founder of Snapchat. Besides her love life, Kerr has been a legend in the modeling world since she first got off the plane from Australia and looks pretty much like every teenage boy’s dream girl.
9. Liu Wen, $7 million
At last, some diversity in the blindingly white model industry. Liu Wen is a Chinese model and, being one of the very few Asian super models, has been very vocal and outspoken about challenging Asian stereotypes. Namely, that Asians can’t be beautiful. She’s also making $7 million a year, so her soap box is decidedly sturdy. She is the first model of East Asian descent to walk in a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and the first Chinese woman to do so. Additionally, she became the first Asian woman to make it on Forbes’ highest paid models list. In essence, Wen is all about smashing records and ruining perfectly good ceilings. Thankfully, though. It’s about time the modeling business found some diversity.
8. Candice Swanepoel, $7 million
You know Candice. She’s everywhere. At least, her name is. Swanepoel sounds fancy, like a place where you’d buy high-end crystal or take your wife out for a twentieth anniversary dinner. You got a table at Swanepoel? Classy. Candice has been on this list for almost half a decade now, so it’s unsurprising that she’s still on it. And, at age 27, she shows few signs of stopping, only growing more famous by the moment. Most heavily associated with Victoria’s Secret, Swanepoel has been modeling since she was 15, when she was discovered by a talent scout in her home country of South Africa. Since then she has become a Victoria’s Secret Angel, modeled for just about everywhere that sells clothes and been chosen as number one on Maxim’s “Hot 100” list. And you thought your resume was impressive.
7. Cara Delevigne, $8.5 million
Can someone make an entire career off of having amazing eyebrows? Probably not, but being gorgeous and having amazing eyebrows can apparently get you anything. Delevigne should know. Shrugging off the title of super model, Cara wanted more. And being the ever off-beat and driven person that she is, she decided that modeling was too passé and that doing everything else sounded sort of fun. Well, not everything. But certainly most things. Like being an actress in a big-budget film of 2016 (Suicide Squad). Or acting in an indie coming-of-age drama (Paper Towns). Oh, and dating Annie Clark, proving once again that Delevigne isn’t just one of the hottest or highest paid models in the world. She might also be the coolest. Did we mention she grew up in one of the wealthiest districts in the world? How about that her family is filled with Sirs, Baronets, and Lords? Yeah, she’s pretty cool.
6. Rosie-Huntington Whiteley, $9 million
Speaking of models that wanted more, you can see Whiteley‘s attempts in everyone’s least favorite Michael Bay movie (and that is really saying something) Transformers: Dark of the Moon. A very quick and seemingly last minute replacement for the beautiful Megan Fox, Whiteley played co-star to Shia LaBeouf in the third installment of the un-beloved Transformers franchise. She also showed up in Mad Max: Fury Road as the beautiful “bride” of supreme evil, Immortan Joe. Aside from her extensive acting career, Whiteley has been a Victoria’s Secret Angel and become engaged to action superstar, Jason Statham. And all of this before turning thirty. Let’s hope her brief foray into Michael Bay movies proves just that: brief.
5. Gigi Hadid, $9 million
Gigi Hadid only recently came of age to drink alcohol in the United States, and she’s already making in a year what you’ll never make in a lifetime. Sorry. Be better looking? Regardless, Hadid has it made. Often seen cavorting with model whisperer, Taylor Swift, Hadid has already carved out a place for herself on the red carpet by dating former One Direction member, Zayn Malik. In addition, Hadid has like seventeen thousand siblings and more than a few of them are models, including her sister, Bella Hadid and her brother, Anwar Hadid. As her name implies, her father is of Palestinian descent. She began her modeling career at the age of two. Yes, two. How they knew she was going to grow up to be as gorgeous as she turned out is your guess.
4. Kendall Jenner, $10 million
Actually not even old enough to drink alcohol, Kendall Jenner already has her own house in Los Angeles. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that she’s from the single most televised family in America. Part of the Kardashian clan, Jenner isn’t so much a famous model as she is an ultra-famous person who also happens to be a model. At first, it looked like she was going to be just another beautiful face among her many sisters, but Jenner has really come into her own, making $10 million after only a few years of experience in the business. Jenner, obviously, has been modeling since she was very young, which you probably remember because it really wasn’t that long ago. Jenner still occupies a place in many of our minds as a child, not a grown woman walking around in her underwear. And yet, the young Kardashian is a grown woman, making her own way in the world. Hats off to her.
3. Karlie Kloss, $10 million
Perpetual Taylor Swift groupie and undoubtedly responsible for holding Swift’s hair back when she pukes, Karlie Kloss is the twee middle-America beauty that the world apparently needs. She’s also a former Victoria’s Secret Angel and has modeled for Oscar de la Renta, Dolce and Gabbana, Gucci, Givenchy and anywhere else that sells overpriced clothes. Starting her career in Chicago at age 14, Kloss has become one of the most famous models of the modern age, earning her spot alongside the most famous pop star of the modern age, even managing to sort of look like her. Her look has been described as atypical, probably because she actually looks like a person and not a super hot alien sent to study our thirst. She also apparently has a sense of humor and has called her model walk a “moody gait.” If that’s a moody gait, then we’re all walking like idiots.
2. Adriana Lima, $10.5 million
If you found a well that granted wishes and whispered that you wanted to just see what the perfect woman looks like, it would spit back a picture of Adriana Lima. At any (appropriate) age, really. Lima has always sort of looked like a goddess that accidentally wandered into the mortal world. Like Ambrosio, Lima is from Brazil who, along with Scandinavia, has been producing America’s models for years now. Lima is 35 years old and has even started calling herself a mature model, despite the fact that she doesn’t look a day over 25. She’s got the laundry list of accomplishments you’d expect, including being a Victoria’s Secret Angel since 2000 and the spokesmodel for Maybelline from 2003 until 2010.
1. Gisele Bundchen, $30.5 million
Yes, you read that correctly. $20 million more than her next closest competitor, Gisele Bundchen is, like her husband, the unopposed champion in her line of work. She just is. Is it that she’s more beautiful than the other models? Not really. In fact, Gisele is rapidly leaving behind her more youthful model looks in favor of a more motherly face, probably on account of having had children and being 36 years old. Since 2004, Bundchen has been one of the most popular, highest paid models in the industry and has an estimated worth of roughly $400 million. Forbes also listed her at 89th on a list of the world’s most powerful women. That she’s married to Tom Brady is barely the most interesting thing about her. Gisele is the undisputed queen of modeling, possibly even outshining Kate Moss herself. She ushered in a new era of modeling, pioneered an entirely new kind of runway walk and, in true cyclical nature, yes, she’s from Brazil.