Tyra Banks has made the seamless transition from runway model to businesswoman with the highly successful TV franchise, “America’s Next Top Model,” and now her latest venture, a model theme park, aptly called “Modelland.”
Banks isn’t the only one who has transitioned into a successful entrepreneur. Others have also been able to make a name for themselves off the runway, including iconic Nineties’ supermodels Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington and Elle Macpherson, and some of today’s biggest names, like Karlie Kloss, Chrissy Teigen and Miranda Kerr.
From Karlie Kloss’ coding initiative to a model-themed Nineties’ restaurant, here are 16 times models made it as successful entrepreneurs.
1. Iman: Iman Cosmetics
Based on her own experience with makeup, supermodel Iman launched a color cosmetics line to offer women of color more options that match their skin tones. In the 25 years since launching the brand, Iman Cosmetics has expanded into skin care and is sold at mass retailers such as Target, Walmart and Walgreens.
2. Claudia Schiffer, Elle Macpherson, Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington: Fashion Café
Billed as couture meets Planet Hollywood, Fashion Café was cofounded in 1995 by Nineties’ supermodels Naomi Campbell, Elle Macpherson, Claudia Schiffer and Christy Turlington. Located in New York’s Rockefeller Center, the diner-esque restaurant was meant to be a full model experience. Guests entered the restaurant through an entryway that resembled a camera lens and then took their seats that were surrounded by fashion memorabilia. In 2000, owners Francesco and Tommaso Buti were arrested for fraud, bankruptcy and money laundering and the café was subsequently closed.
3. Helena Christensen: Nylon
In 1999, supermodel Helena Christensen went from being on magazine covers to going behind the scenes by cofounding pop culture and fashion magazine, Nylon. Christensen served as the creative director and photographed shoots for the magazine upon its launch.
4. Kimora Lee Simmons: Baby Phat
Kimora Lee Simmons got her start in the fashion industry with an exclusive modeling contract with Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel at the age of 13. After walking the runways of Chanel, Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, Simmons switched over to the design side, working with her then-husband, Russell Simmons, to launch apparel line Baby Phat.
5. Tyra Banks: America’s Next Top Model
During the initial boom of reality TV, Tyra Banks leveraged her tenure as a supermodel to create what would become a long-running cultural phenomenon: “America’s Next Top Model.” Since first airing in 2003, the television show has helped launch the careers of many influential models, like Winnie Harlow and Nyle DiMarco, and has expanded internationally.
6. Cindy Crawford: Meaningful Beauty
With help from her cosmetic doctor, Dr. Jean-Louis Sebagh, Cindy Crawford’s Meaningful Beauty has been a staple on QVC since its launch in 2004. The Guthy-Renker backed brand got a makeover in 2017 with new Millennial-friendly packaging and updated formulas that rolled out to Ulta Beauty, Amazon and QVC.
7. Miranda Kerr: Kora Organics
One of the first model-backed beauty brands, Miranda Kerr first started formulating her natural skin-care brand, Kora Organics, in 2006 and launched it exclusively in Australia in 2009 with a holistic approach to skin care. Ten years later, the brand carries more than 30 products and is available in 25 countries.
8. Lauren Bush Lauren: FEED Projects
Lauren Bush Lauren may be known for both of her famous last names, but the former model has leveraged her career to start her philanthropic brand, FEED Projects. Since 2006, the brand has donated portions of its sales to the UN World Food Programme, which feeds children around the world.
9. Christy Turlington: Every Mother Counts
Christy Turlington has also taken the advocacy route for her career post-modeling. The supermodel created the nonprofit organization, Every Mother Counts, which works to end preventable deaths caused by pregnancy and childbirth around the world.
10. Sara Ziff: Model Alliance
Sara Ziff turned her modeling career into one for advocacy, starting the nonprofit organization, Model Alliance, in 2012. Through the organization, Ziff has fought for better treatment and equal opportunities for models in the fashion industry. In 2013, the organization supported the Child Model Act, which gave teenage models labor protections and educational requirements. Ziff has also worked to end sexual harassment in the industry, calling brands and agencies to protect their models in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
11. Elle Macpherson: WelleCo
Ahead of today’s wellness boom, Australian supermodel Elle Macpherson first launched her ingestible brand, WelleCo, in 2014 with its hero product, Super Elixir Greens. Now, the brand has expanded its range of supplements, delved into skin care, entered retail partnerships with Net-a-porter, Barneys New York and Anthropologie and opened a flagship in New York late last year. Industry sources project the brand earns roughly $25 million each year.
12. Christie Brinkley: Christie Brinkley Authentic Skincare
For those that want in on Christie Brinkley’s secret to her preternatural beauty, the supermodel launched her namesake line in 2014 on HSN and has grown the brand from eight skin-care products to now include color cosmetics. Industry sources estimate the brand earns $40 million a year.
13. Karlie Kloss: Kode With Klossy
After learning coding herself, model Karlie Kloss launched Kode With Klossy, a free coding camp specifically for teenage girls. Since its launch in 2015, Kloss has teamed with Teach for America to expand the initiative to 50 camps in 25 cities in the U.S. Kloss started the initiative as a way to close the gender gap in the tech industry.
14. Chrissy Teigen: Cravings
While Chrissy Teigen has collaborated with a number of brands such as Target and Becca, she’s also made a name for herself in the food industry by launching a cookbook series, called Cravings. Teigen also expanded the franchise to a line of kitchenware sold exclusively at Target.
15. Lindsay Ellingson: Wander Beauty
Teaming with serial entrepreneur Divya Gugnani, former Victoria’s Secret model, Lindsay Ellingson, launched Wander Beauty in 2015 as a beauty brand for women on-the-go with products in easy-to-use formats, like double-ended sticks and compact tubes. In 2017, the brand secured a Series A round of investment totaling $4 million.
16. Alexa Chung: Alexachung
British “It” girl Alexa Chung is known for her distinctive style (and even has a Mulberry bag named after her), so it was no surprise when the model and TV personality launched her own namesake line in 2016, which now shows as part of London Fashion Week.
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