US & Canada

How America's richest women made their fortunes

Rihanna Image copyright Kevin Mazur
Image caption Singer turned entrepreneur Rihanna appears on the list thanks to her Fenty Beauty and Savage lingerie ranges.

Forbes has released its list of America's richest self-made women.

While there are a number of celebrities named there are also a host of others who have built successful recognisable business empires.

We've been looking at some of the wealthy over-achieving women and the industries that have helped them accumulate their riches.

Make-up makes money

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Kylie Jenner is the youngest person on the list

If you want to be rich you should perhaps consider starting your own make-up line. The make-up and skincare industries have helped promote 10 of the 80 women on the list to both millionaire and billionaire status.

You may be surprised to hear the richest make-up entrepreneur, according to Forbes, is not in fact Kylie Jenner but Romanian-born Anastasia Soare.

The businesswoman is the name behind the Anastasia Beverly Hills cosmetics line. Ms Soare moved to Los Angeles in 1989 and in 2000 started a line of eyebrow products.

Forbes now values her cosmetics brand at $1.2bn (£950m), slightly ahead of Kylie Jenner's Kylie Cosmetics range, Kim Kardashian West's KKW Beauty, and Fenty Beauty by Rihanna.

Image copyright Huda Beauty
Image caption Huda Kattan launched Huda Beauty in 2013 and is at number 36 in the Forbes list of America's richest self made women

Huda Kattan also makes the list. Born to Iraqi parents, Kattan quit her job in finance to become a make-up artist. She founded Huda Beauty in 2013 and Forbes values her company at $610m.

"I'm not financially motivated," Huda told the BBC in an interview last year.

"I'm here for a purpose, I'm not here because I want to make a lot of money, I'm never like, 'oh my God, this is going to make a lot of money, let's do this.'"

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Other millionaires who can thank make-up for their fortunes include two women whose cosmetics ranges were bought by L'Oreal. Toni Ko sold her NYX Cosmetics brand in 2014 in a deal thought to be worth $500m.

Jamie Kern Lima, a former news anchor, also sold her It Cosmetics range to L'Oreal and went on to become the firm's first female chief executive.

America's richest female athlete

Image copyright TPN

Tennis superstar Serena Williams appears as the only female self-made millionaire sportswoman. Explaining why Serena made the list, Forbes says: "She has invested in 34 start-ups over the past five years through Serena Ventures in a portfolio worth at least $10m.

"She launched a self-funded, direct-to-consumer clothing line, S by Serena, in 2018. She also owns stakes in the Miami Dolphins and UFC.

"She has more than a dozen corporate partners, and her $89m in career prize money is twice as much as any other female athlete."

Fashion sells

It is not just cosmetics and skincare that enriched America's female entrepreneurs. Some of the trailblazers on the list can thank their fashion know-how for their wealth.

While you have probably heard of fashion designers Vera Wang and Donna Karan, can you say the same for Doris Fisher and Jin Sook Chang?

Doris Fisher, 87, co-founded the clothing retailer Gap in 1969 with her husband after the couple struggled to find well-fitting jeans. The company is now worth more than $2bn.

Image copyright SOPA Images

Jin Sook Chang is the woman behind clothing retailer Forever 21, which started out as a small Los Angeles store called Fashion 21.

Now the retailer employs thousands of employees with hundreds of stores worldwide.

Probably one of the most interesting brands to make the list is founded by Sara Blakely, the creator of shape-wear company Spanx. Before she came up with the idea for the undergarment, Ms Blakely used to sell fax machines door to door.

She said she started the firm with just $5,000 because she wasn't content with the shape of her bottom.

In an interview with the BBC, she said: "I didn't like the way it looked under white trousers and like so many women I couldn't figure out what to wear under certain clothes.

"I came across an idea and created an undergarment that filled a much-needed niche for women in fashion."

Blakely comes in at number 23 on the Forbes list, which values her wealth at $1bn.

TV and music

Image copyright Larry Busacca
Image caption Earlier this year Beyonce released 'Homecoming' a live album and Netflix documentary about her 2018 Coachella performance.

Unsurprisingly a number of women from television and music have also made it on to the list. They include talk show hosts Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres with fortunes of $2.6bn and $330m respectively.

Judy Sheindlin, from the TV shows Judge Judy and Hot Bench, is also named. "Since 2012, Judge Judy has earned $47 million a year pretax from hosting her eponymous TV show," Forbes says.

"Judge Judy is now in its 23rd season and remains the top-rated daytime TV show."

From the world of music Madonna, Taylor Swift, Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion make the cut, as does Beyoncé, with Forbes calculating the singer's worth at $400m.

Beyoncé's husband Jay Z was on Monday himself named by Forbes as the world's first billionaire rapper.

Dating and toilet freshness

Image caption Whitney Wolfe Herd co-founded dating app Tinder before launching Bumble, another dating app.

Of all of America's richest self-made millionaire women there is one in particular worthy of a mention. After all she comes in at the top spot.

Diane Hendricks is a film producer and co-founder of roofing and windows company ABC Supply, which is valued at a whopping $7bn.

It is one of the largest wholesale distributors of building supplies, with hundreds of branches making billions in sales.

At 29 years-old Whitney Wolfe Herd is the second-youngest women on the list. In 2014 she launched dating app Bumble.

Ms Wolfe Herd's fortune is valued at $290m thanks to the app, which Forbes says brings in annual revenue of $175m.

Suzy Batiz is also a name not instantly recognisable.

But the businesswoman from Texas can attribute her $240m fortune to her company Poo-Pourri, a range of toilet freshness products which are sold at US retailers Target and Costco.

You can see the full Forbes list of America's richest self-made women here.