Coming in at lucky number 33, Rihanna made the Forbes' "America's Richest Self-Made Women List" this year with $600 million. If nothing else in 2020, Rihanna will continue to smash through glass ceilings.
It's no surprise that the bulk of her wealth came not from her music but from her feverishly successful cosmetics line, Fenty Beauty, which she co-owns with luxury goods group LVMH. Since its launch in the fall of 2017, the brand has grown into an unstoppable force that continues to push boundaries, both creatively and within the industry, it resides. Fenty Beauty elevated the standards for luxury beauty and challenged "inclusive" brands by producing 40 foundation shades across all hues - now up to 50 - far more than that of their peers at the time and since.
"We have this amazing emotional connection with customers who've never been able to find their shade of foundation before – women crying at the [makeup] counter – it's crazy to even think about."
From the beginning, the vision for Fenty Beauty was to inspire. The cosmetics line generated over $600 million in sales last year and no indication that'll slow down. Rihanna has been one of few celebrities that have maintained a relatable yet profitable profile during the pandemic and amidst the upcoming presidential elections. Time and time again, Rihanna uses her platforms to give a voice to the voiceless, and image to the unseen.
"The first woman I saw put makeup on her face was a Black woman – my mom – and when I think of my customers, I want everyone to feel like they can find their color that they are represented as part of this new generation."
That's barely Rihanna's only sizable revenue stream, though. Savage x Fenty, a lingerie line that Rihanna co-owns with online fashion firm TechStyle Fashion Group, raised over $50 million for investors last year. The brand is known for innovative designs, sickening silhouettes, and curve-enhancing seams.
Rooted in community, Savage x Fenty quickly established an emotional and lasting relationship with consumers. Rihanna uses this platform to highlight young, emerging talent and pay homage to overlooked industry veterans, while seamlessly weaving in social and political statements. Just last month, The Vol. 2 premiered, proving even more that Savage x Fenty has reinvented so much by pushing boundaries and challenging the standard of beauty we so desperately need to abolish.
Forbes also titled Rihanna as one of the most public charitable celebrities, having donated upwards of $8 million towards coronavirus relief. According to Forbes, Rihanna donated $1 million to New York's needy and $2.1 million to abuse victims in LA. She donated another $5 million to other charities through her Clara Lionel Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in honor of her grandparents.
In fact, for the latest Savage campaign, the brand found three "survivors and thrivers" to model their capsule collection, of which proceeds will directly benefit the Clara Lionel Foundation.
It's difficult to grasp that we're just on the cusp of Rihanna's reign, but we are. There's something that resonates with everything Rihanna does. A spirit, a mood, a genuine love for the craft she's producing; the energy is magnetic. The work that she puts into every one of her ventures to make sure it's inclusive, well-thought-out, and for everyone is unmatched.
While she's a newcomer to the list in 2020, one has the feeling that she'll get comfortable quickly.
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