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Building an Empire

Celebrity CEOs in the 21st Century

Endorsements and sponsorships play a huge part in the role of celebrity. Whether it be an athlete playing at a major tournament, a popstar partnering with a make-up brand or an influencer sharing a lifestyle product on Instagram, you have to be business savvy in order to maintain the celebrity way of life.

So what happens when a star decides to dip their toes into the serious world of business to build their own empire?

The first names that come to mind are Oprah Winfrey, Rihanna and Kylie Jenner. Winfrey has her own TV channel (OWN), a magazine and is a part-owner of Weightwatchers. Her net worth is over $2.5 billion, according to Forbes. Rihanna proved she is more than just a popstar with Fenty Beauty, the Fenty clothing line and Savage X Fenty Lingerie. Fenty Beauty generated an estimated $570 million in revenue in 2018. Jenner became the youngest self-made billionaire ever (she's been stripped of this title now though due to forgery of tax documents) thanks to the major success of her cosmetics brand.

This proves that no matter what age, celebrities like to dabble in the business world. Perhaps it's because the idea of even more money excites them. Or simply because sticking to one area is a little bit boring so they want to expand their skills further.

Jessica Alba launched The Honest Company back in 2012 and in 2017 it was valued at $756 million. Kate Hudson's Fabletics started as an online-only brand in 2013 and brings in an annual revenue of $300 million, according to Forbes. Goop began as a newsletter that Gywneth Paltrow would write in 2008 - as of July 2018, Goop was worth $250 million. Even Robert De Niro created the Nobu restaurant franchise.

These aren't even a handful of stars who are making waves in business in order to earn an extra few pennies (or quite a lot of pennies looking at the ones I listed above). A celebrity will always leave a legacy behind when they pass away but it appears that most now are going to be leaving a lot more than a namesake and filmography.

Especially now during Coronavirus, where many famous names are out of work, it means that they can still be making a profit and cashing the cheques in even though they're not on a film set or in the recording studio. In previous features, I have explained how the role of a celebrity is constantly evolving in the 21st Century, all thanks to social media, and that they have to be excelling in all areas in order to truly achieve the status of stardom.

Again, maybe stars now must have some element of business sense to excel from just a name into a brand. Just recently, an actress I have followed for years has launched her own boutique business, turning an old catchphrase from a TV show into a clothing line. It ships worldwide and now includes 60 different products. She endorsed her already devoted fanbase and famous tagline to create her own brand where she will already be earning possibly thousands of dollars after a couple of months.

If she can do that, with the help of a large sum to start-up and a team working by her side (of course), it means that any star has the capability to succeed in business. Soon it may become a regular thing for celebs to stray away from their respective field to become the CEO of an empire they started as a passion project.

It could be these people that ascend to conglomerate-level success and have a much larger influence on the economy, and the world, then they had first planned. Whether this is a good thing however is something we don't know yet.

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