It Pays to be Really, Really, Ridiculously Good Looking
Study after study breathlessly announces their findings: good-looking people make more money. Well, duh. Just take one look a what supermodels are paid to give the camera their best Blue Steel, strut the catwalk, and attend after-funeral parties and other high-profile events. Elle recently ran a fun piece on the evolution of supermodels' super salaries from the post-war period to the present:
As part of Eileen and Jerry Ford's then-young modeling agency, Dorian Leigh was already raking in an annual salary of $300,000 back in the 1940s, while 1950s sensation Dovima was said to charge up to $75 an hour. During the Swinging 60s, Twiggy became London's most sought-after model and her contemporary Verushka was earning as much as $10,000 per day.
Megamouth Janice Dickinson may not have been the original supermodel, but she did help push up model salaries in the 70s; where many were typically making under $100 per day, she demanded between $2000 and $20,000. And in 1975, Margaux (granddaughter-of-Ernest) Hemingway was signed as the face of Faberge's Babe perfume for a cool - and unprecedented - $1 million. The 80s supermodel-as-brand commanded up to $3 million for 20 days of work per year (Cindy Crawford as the multiyear-contract face of Revlon), and the 90s turned out to be equally excessive, most notably with Linda Evangelista announcing that she and her kind "don't wake up for less than $10,000 a day." Pal Christy Turlington famously finagled an 8-day contract with Maybelline for $800,000, while Claudia Schiffer pulled in a cool $12 million annually.
Despite more celebs on the covers of your fave magazines today, the models are still earning top dollar. Kate Moss & Adriana Lima both make in the $7 million range annually...which is half as much as Heidi Klum. And the uncontested queen of the super salaries? Gisele Bunchen with her mindboggling $35 million annual salary.
- Lesley Scott
(images: 1940s Dorian Leigh - AuntieFashion.com; 1950s Dovima - vam.ac.uk; 1960s Verushka - Daily Dose Beauty; 1970s Margaux Hemingway Babe print ad - Martirio's Way & Vogue cover - Martirio's Way; 1980s Cindy Crawford Revlon ad - tias.com; 1990s Vogue cover of models who wouldn't wake up for less than $10,000 per day - edgy models; today - Gisele - thisislondon.co.uk; Zoolander - comicvine.com)
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