World

World's best-paid models 'overwhelmingly white and slim'

Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen poses for pictures during a book signing (06 November 2015) Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The fashion industry is accused by Forbes of favouring white women - Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen (above) earned $30.5m between June 2015 and June 2016

Most of the world's highest-paid models are overwhelmingly white and slim, reflecting a serious lack of inclusion on catwalks and in advertisement campaigns, Forbes magazine has said.

A survey by the US-based organisation has revealed that the world's 20 best-paid models together earned $154m (£117m) for the year after 1 June 2015.

Between them they boast close to 200 million Instagram followers.

One of the biggest gainers is Kendall Jenner, whose earnings rose to $10m.

"The highest-paid models list reflects the current lack of inclusion in fashion," Forbes staff writer Natalie Robehmed told the BBC.

"Though catwalks and editorial shoots are making an effort to include people of colour, the majority of high-paying contracts still go to white models."

Ms Robehmed said that although there are black supermodels such as Jordan Dunn and Joan Smalls, "high-paying fashion contracts still don't reflect the diversity of their consumers".

She says that in the autumn 2016 catwalk shows, more than three-quarters of the models are white.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Adriana Lima was the second highest earner between June 2015 and June 2016, taking home about $10.5m
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Kendall Jenner saw her earnings increase 150%, Forbes says. She successfully leveraged her huge social media following of 64.4 million Instagram followers
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Gigi Hadid's star is on the rise, Forbes says. Her 22 million Instagram followers helped her win contracts with high-profile retailers such as Tommy Hilfiger - all before her 22nd birthday
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Liu Wen - dubbed China's first supermodel - is one of the few non-white women to appear on the Forbes list

The Forbes report cites a recent survey by FashionSpot, which examined 236 Spring 2016 print ads in the US.

It revealed that:

  • 78.2% of the models featured were white
  • Black models made up 8.3% of the total
  • Asian models comprised about 4%
  • Latina models only accounted for 1.7%

The Fashionspot report says that while "tentative progress has been made towards greater diversity and inclusion in the fashion industry, "it's a long road ahead and season to season, the numbers are ever fluctuating".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Karlie Kloss doubled her earnings since 2015 by clocking more campaigns than any other supermodel. She advertised for 18 different brands during the scoring period
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's royalty cuts from her own series of lingerie and make-up lines for department store Marks & Spencer accounted for most of her millions, Forbes says
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cara Delevingne is one of three British women to figure in the top 20, along with Kate Moss and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption South African supermodel Candice Swanepoel is best known for her work with Victoria's Secret

The Forbes report points out that fashion agencies have increased efforts to promote transgender or plus-sized models.

"But these women rarely secure the lucrative long-term deals that result in six-to-seven figure paydays."

One of the biggest gainers this year was Kendall Jenner, whose earnings increased 150% to $10m in 2016.

"She has leveraged her huge social presence of 64.4 million Instagram followers - more than anyone else on the list - into million-dollar deals with the likes of Estee Lauder and Calvin Klein, who likely see her social platforms as a new media buy," the report says.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr, 33, made some of her $6m through a cosmetics line and a number of china and glassware companies
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jasmine Tookes is one of the few black models to feature in the Forbes list of highest earners
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jordan Dunn did not to feature in the Forbes top 20 despite being one of the world's most photographed women
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Taylor Hill, 20, is the youngest member to make the $4m cut-off

The world highest paid models

  • Gisele Bundchen $30.5m (£22m)
  • Adriana Lima $10.5m (£8m)
  • Kendall Jenner $10m (£7.6m)
  • Karlie Kloss $10m (£7.6m)
  • Gigi Hadid $9m (£6.8m)
  • Rosie Huntington-Whiteley $9m (£6.8m)
  • Cara Delevingne $8.5m (£6.4m)
  • Candice Swanepoel $7m (£5.3m)
  • Liu Wen $7m (£5.3m)
  • Miranda Kerr $6m (£4.5m)

Source: Forbes

BBC fashion


Nearly a third of this year's ranking are new, Forbes says, with the debutantes including three Victoria's Secret lingerie models: Lily Aldridge, Jasmine Tookes and 20-year-old Taylor Hill, who is the youngest member to make the $4m cut-off.

Victoria's Secret Angels comprise 30% of the highest-paid models list, thanks in part to their lucrative contracts with the underwear maker.

"While there should be be many other barometers of success - number of Vogue covers, for example - it is earnings that reflect the value placed on models by advertisers, so it remains the most important metric," Ms Robehmed said.

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