Long before influencers like Kylie Jenner and Jeffree Star were slapping their names on cosmetic and skincare lines in an effort to monetize their social media followings, there was CindyCrawford. Rather than shilling her product on Instagram or YouTube, you could find the former supermodel on home-shopping channels preaching the benefits of her skincare line, Meaningful Beauty, through infomercials. She had millions of fans thanks to her career as one of the original supermodels and, through television, a platform to reach them.
It proved a winning formula: Over the past 17 years, Crawford, who owns 50% of Meaningful Beauty, has built a $400 million brand that has done more than $100 million in annual revenue for at least the past ten years, according to someone familiar with the company’s finances. Her fortune is worth $225 million, Forbes estimates, thanks to her ability to perfect a direct-to-consumer beauty model that has since been repurposed by the likes of Jenner, Emily Weiss of Glossier and Rihanna.
In 2004, when Crawford founded Meaningful Beauty, it was less common for celebrities to have an ownership stake in the brands they were linked to. Why take the risk when an endorsement deal—quick money upfront and little commitment—was an option? Crawford was familiar with that world: She became the face of Revlon in 1989 and signed with Pepsi in 1992. Between those deals and modeling contracts—she’s graced more than 1,000 magazine covers and walked in hundreds of runway shows—she was making millions.
But those contracts could end at any time: In 2000, Revlon parted ways with the then 34-year-old Crawford. At the time, it was reported that the brand wanted a younger model to attract younger clientele, though Crawford has since disputed this. By starting her own line, and one centered around anti-aging products that she would never be “too old” to market, Crawford could control her career.
“It was time for to do the own thing,” she said in an email to Forbes. “I wanted to have skin in the game—no pun intended. We loved knowing that in success, We would benefit.”
Read the full profile on Forbes: forbes.com/sites/maddieberg/2021/08/05/cindy-crawfords-staggering-net-worth-revealed-how-the-original-beauty-influencer-became-the-worlds-richest-supermodel/?sh=3706c7105696
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