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Rihanna breaks into billionaires’ club as world’s richest female musician

The transition from musician to entrepreneur has paid dividends for the Barbadian singer. This week she steps into the billionaires’ ring with a net worth exceeding US$1.7 billion.

She may have started her working life under an umbrella, but today Barbadian musician Rihanna, real name Robyn Fenty, has joined the world’s elite billionaires’ club.

More specifically, the multi-platinum singer has taken the title as the latest female billionaire as well as the world’s richest female musician with a net worth of more than US$1.7 billion.

What’s notable is that the 33-year-old’s impressive wealth didn’t come from her decade-plus spent in the music and entertainment sector, but instead from her entrepreneurial pursuits in the beauty industry.

In 2017 the then-29-year-old launched her own cosmetics company called Fenty Beauty, with products aimed at inclusivity across skin tones and gender. This approach to the market worked in her favour and Time magazine even named it one of the best inventions of 2017.

Fast-forward to today and 50 per cent of Fenty Beauty now belongs to the luxury goods conglomerate LVMH. Bernard Arnault, who heads LVMH, isn’t a subtle figure in the business world himself – he recently overtook Amazon’s Jeff Bezos as the richest person in the world. As of writing, Arnault is worth a staggering US$198.8 billion.

The story, however, is all good news for the singer-turned-entrepreneur. According to Forbes, which made the announcement, US$1.4 billion of Rihanna’s earnings came from her beauty brand as well as her lingerie company, Savage X Fenty, which is reportedly worth US$270 million.

This business strategy of using one’s immense profile to accelerate product reach and accumulate wealth in the process is nothing new, especially in today’s world of social media. Rihanna has 103 million followers on Instagram and a further 102.7 million Twitter followers.

Kim Kardashian is another notable celebrity who has used her profile to the same effect. Her KKW Beauty cosmetics business and Skims shapewear company, alongside royalties from reality television, endorsement details and smaller investments, also saw her join the billionaires’ list in 2021.

Below are some of the youngest female billionaires in the world that you might not have come across.

Lisa Dräxlmaier
Age: 30
Worth: US$1.6 billion
Company: Auto parts maker Fritz Draexlmaier Holding

Lynsi Snyder
Age: 39
Worth: US$3.6 billion
Company: Fast food chain In-N-Out Burger

Whitney Wolfe Herd
Age: 32
Worth: US$1.6 billion
Company: Dating app Bumble

Caroline Hagen Kjos
Age: 37
Worth: US$2.6 billion
Company: Holding company Canica AS

Gong Yingying
Age: 36
Worth: US$2.1 billion
Company: Chinese healthcare company Yidu Tech

Kate Wang
Age: 39
Worth: US$5 billion
Company: Chinese vaping company RLX Technology

Read next: How the world’s most powerful female CEOs built their empires

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