Money makes the world go round, or so the old song says. Some people call it the root of all evil, but rightly or wrongly we can't achieve much in life if we don't have the money to do it. That's why we all go to work every single morning.
Thirty years ago, making big money was a man's game. It was men who ran big businesses, men who controlled banks and largely men who controlled money within the average household. All of that has changed. Women now have the opportunity to earn as much as men - or much more!
While the sad truth is that most of us can only dream of becoming millionaires before we retire, there are women out there who've done much more than that at a young age. They're billionaires, and they've done it long before they hit retirement age. Here come the (rich) girls!
It's possible to guess where the fortunes of many of our ladies came from just from their last name, and that's true of Dylan Lauren; she's the daughter of fashion legend Ralph Lauren. That meant that she wasn't only a very rich girl growing up; she was also the best-dressed of all her friends. Just like her father, she's shown a brilliant flair for design, but it isn't the world of fashion that she's turned her hands to.
Lauren was only six years old when she watched Gene Wilder deliver his career-defining performance in 'Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory,' but it made an impression on her that's lasted for a lifetime. Backed with some of the family's money, she started designing sweets and opened 'Dylan's Candy Bar,' which she markets as being the single largest candy store on the planet. It's popular among shoppers and enjoys a steady trade, the profits of which top up her existing $2bn fortune.
The Clarins Sisters
We could have listed the Clarins sisters separately, as they're all wealthy independently of each other. All of the money came from the same place though, so we'll group them together. Twins Jenna and Prisca, along with their sisters Virginie and Claire, are worth well in excess of $2bn. If the surname seems familiar to you, it's because they're the heiresses of the Clarins brand - an internationally successful skin-care company founded by their grandfather Jacques Courtin-Clarins.
The company isn't completely in their hands yet - all four of them are currently listed as 'brand ambassadors' - but it will be one day, and at that point, they'll be even richer than they are now. Until then they have other focuses; each of them sells their own products through the brand, and they also manage the charitable arm of Clarins, which is known as 'FEED.'
There are a few last names that are automatically associated with vast financial assets. Rockefeller is one of them. If you're a member of the Rockefeller family, you've never had to worry about money since the day you were born. That's the case with Ariana Rockefeller; she wasn't just born with a silver spoon in her mouth; she was born with a golden one. She's another rich lady with an ancestor to thank; in this case it's great-grandfather John D. Rockefeller, who founded Standard Oil. Where there's oil, there's money, and probably always will be.
Rockefeller currently has around $2.8bn sat in the bank. That's more than enough to give you the freedom to make your own career choices, and so she has. Instead of going into the family business, she's set out into the world of fashion instead. People with lots of money need luxury clothing to spend it on, and so she makes sure there's a constant supply. Don't go looking in her stores for bargains - you won't find any!
Depending on how you feel about the family, you either go looking for every scrap of news on the Kardashians or you avoid them completely. If you fall into the latter camp, you may have missed the recent news that Kylie Jenner is now a billionaire. That means she's made more money than any of her older - and very successful in their own right - sisters. She's even richer than her parents, which is no small achievement.
Jenner has proven to be an expert at turning publicity into cash. The media went into overdrive about whether or not she'd had filler injected into her lips a few years ago. Jenner took all of that attention and focused it on her 'Kylie's Lip Kits' company, which is geared up to help young women achieve the same 'pout' look she's known for. The first run of the products sold out in less than sixty seconds, and they've been flying off the shelves ever since.
Marie Besnier Beauvalot
Kylie Jenner has just pushed her way through the $1bn barrier. Marie Besnier Beauvalot would consider that to be small change. She's got more than five times that amount to her name, and unlike Jenner, she didn't have to do anything to earn it. The Besnier family (who trade as 'The Besnier Group') are the largest producers of dairy in all of Europe. It may not be the most glamorous trade in the world, but it's most definitely lucrative.
Beauvalot is one of three children who inherited the company back in the year 2000. Her share of the money came on somewhere north of five and a half billion dollars. She went from being a complete unknown to one of the richest women in the world at the age of 20. She's shown no interest in flaunting her wealth or seeking attention though - she's picked up the reigns of the business and is still running it at home in France.
Those of you who are keen on reality television will recognize this young woman just from the photo. It's Dorothy Wang, star of 'Rich Kids of Beverly Hills.' You don't get to be on that show unless you have a bank balance big enough to gain entry, but Wang has no issues there. Her father Roger Wang is a huge name in the real estate world, currently serving as the CEO of the Golden Eagle International Group. Ms. Wang's share of the family fortune is something like $3.5bn.
It's easy to take shots at people who appear on reality TV for no reason other than being rich, but Wang hoped to change people's perception of wealthy young women by taking part. She views herself as being humble and down to earth, and had high hopes that she would come across as such on screen. Whether she did or not is completely up to the opinion of those of you who've watched the show!
Arguably for the first time in history, the First Daughter of the United States of America is more famous than the First Lady. Ivanka Trump is a confident, powerful and astute woman who has never shown any sign of nerves or unease at being on the global stage. She was born to handle this kind of exposure though - she is, after all, a Trump. Blessed with good looks from her mother, she started out her professional career as a model, but soon became interested in the designing side of the business and went down that road instead.
Currently valued at just over one billion dollars, Trump has turned her hand to other enterprises in more recent years, including penning two books and then taking on a formal role within the current Trump administration. Whether it's serving customers with her fashion range or serving the United States of America, she finds ways to make money at every turn.
The title of 'youngest billionaire in the world is a hotly contested one, most recently won by the aforementioned Kylie Jenner. Perenna Kai was once also the holder of that badge of honor. She was confirmed to be worth more than $1bn when she was just twenty-four years old. Most of us are still trying to work out our long-term career plan at that age! Kai's money has come through Logan Property; another real estate company. The person currently in charge of that company is, usefully for Kai, her father.
It looks like she'll be heading into the family business. She's the largest individual shareholder in the firm, and technically owns 85% of the entire company even though her father still serves as chairman. This isn't a case of pure nepotism though; Kai is more than suited to the rigors of running a business, having achieved an economics degree from the London School of Economics.
In the majority of cases on this list, we'll see that money has come to these young women through inheritance or rich relatives. It's incredibly hard to make more than a billion from a standing start, and so most people who possess that sort of wealth had a head start when it came to accumulating it. Caroline Jones is another example of that process in action.
Jones' father is Paul Tudor Jones - an investment specialist and hedge fund manager. Precious few people understand the intricacies of managing a hedge fund, but if you do, you'll never be short of work or money. Jones doesn't care for that world though. Her $3.4bn fortune bought her plenty of music and singing lessons, and she's making steady headway as a recording artist, having been blessed with the resources to release her own music without needing a record label.
MacKenzie Bezos isn't the daughter of a very rich man - she's the ex-wife of one. We're not just talking about any old rich man either; we're talking about Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world. It was Bezos who founded Amazon, which is now one of the largest home delivery, retail, and entertainment brands on the planet. The former Mrs. Bezos was entitled to half of all his wealth, which makes her worth more than $70bn at the time of writing.
Bezos wasn't just a gold-digger though, she has plenty of credentials of her own. She's a Princeton graduate, achieving honors in her English degree and putting her skills to good use as a published novelist. With enough money in the bank to cater to her every need, she now focuses her time on helping others through her 'Bystander Revolution' charity, which promotes anti--bullying causes.
If you're the sort of person who reads technology news, you're probably used to seeing speculation as to whether the 'internet bubble' has burst. The bubble was the period that everyone seemed to be making money on the web, and all the current giant firms were in the process of growing to the size they are now. If you were in the right position in the right company during the bubble, you could make a lot of money. Marissa Mayer certainly did.
Mayer, who is worth around $1.2bn, was the first female software engineer at Google. That meant she was in on the ground floor, had excellent stock options, and grew as the company grew. When she left the firm and sold her stock options, she became rich. She next became CEO of Yahoo, overseeing its purchase of Tumblr before agreeing on the sale of the company to Verizon for $4.8bn, from which she profited again.
If you were worried that you'd spend this entire list reading about women born into wealth, worry no longer. Tory Burch is the name that bucks the trend. She may be worth more than a billion today, but once upon a time, Tory Burch was just the same as everybody else. She's made her money the hard way - from the ground up. And she's done it fast.
It all started in 2004 with one fashion retail store in Manhattan. Fifteen years later, there are over 250 Tory Burch stores in locations right across the globe. Perhaps because she knows what it's like to come from nothing, Burch is big on the idea of giving back. She opened the 'Tory Burch Foundation' in 2009, which provides financial and strategic assistance to young women wanting to find their own way in the world of business. Burch wants to see more female entrepreneurs in the world. If you're an aspiring one, you couldn't wish for a better example than her.
So long as people exist, they will need somewhere to live. So long as people need somewhere to live, real estate companies will exist. They're almost a guaranteed way to make money if you have the capital to start one up, and that's exactly what Sofia Barclay's grandfather David did. He made billions in the property game and passed $3.2bn of those gains down to his granddaughter.
It would appear that Ms. Barclay doesn't like the idea of wheeling and dealing property, however. She has the same dream many young women have - a life of stardom on the silver screens of Hollywood. She's moved to New York City looking for her big break, backed by a degree from Westminster School; the same education facility that spawned the career of Helena Bonham Carter. With talent and striking looks - and plenty of money - we're sure she'll do just fine.
The Fredriksen Twins
Remember what we said about there always being money where there's oil? Here's another pair of twins who prove that rule. Kathrine and Cecilie Fredriksen are the daughters of John Fredriksen, known to the business world as 'Big Wolf,' and owner of the largest fleet of oil tankers in the entire world. The scale of his company's operations means that giving his daughters $11bn between them was as easy as giving them ten bucks.
The Fredriksen girls could be spending their days on private beaches like the Ecclestones, but instead, they've enthusiastically positioned themselves within their father's company, poised to take over. Kathrine went to London to graduate through the European Business School to make sure she had the right skills, whereas Cecilie has been working at her father's right hand for years, learning the ropes hands-on. The elder Fredriksen has recently spoken of retirement, so it may soon be the girls' time to shine.
Kirsty Bertarelli could probably have relied on her looks to make her a fortune even if she hadn't both been born and married well. Bertarelli is a former 'Miss UK' and followed that up with a second-place finish in the 'Miss World' pageant of the same year. She could command huge fees for modeling, and would likely have found her way to becoming a millionaire. Given that her family is the owners of the British ceramics firm Churchill China, she didn't have to worry about that.
Being one of the world's most beautiful women will naturally make you attractive to the world's richest men. That turned out to be the case when Bertarelli met her husband, Swiss business tycoon Ernesto Bertarelli. Taking on his surname saw her net worth jump to nearly $9bn, making her the richest woman in Britain. She spends her money on recording and releasing her own music, as well as a slew of charitable causes.
The Andresen Sisters
Twins and sisters must be common in billionaire families because here's another pair who are enjoying their father's wealth. Norwegians Katharina and Alexandra Andresen are barely half way through their twenties, but each of them has a net worth of $1.5bn. That comes from the investment company their father owns and operates, which is known as 'Ferd.' Managing numbers and spreadsheets aren't as exciting as being a movie star, but as we're seeing time and again it's a sure-fire way of bringing in big money.
The two sisters appear to have very different ideas of what they want out of life. Katharina looks to be preparing herself to take over control of Ferd one day - she's taken on an internship with corporate giants Ernst & Young. By contrast, Alexandra is far more interested in horses. She's a professional equestrian who has won awards in many facets of the sport, dressage in particular.
Based on her surname, you might assume that Tatiana Casiraghi is the daughter of Italian football legend Pierluigi Casiraghi. If she were, she'd probably be quite rich, but not as rich as she is. Her parentage is far grander. She's the granddaughter of Santa Domingo Group founder Julio Mario Domingo, who left her a sixth of his fortune in his will. As if that weren't enough, she married Andrea Casiraghi - the daughter of the Princess of Hanover. She didn't just marry into money; she married into royalty!
Her current estimated worth $1.6bn and rising. It gets added to all the time because her grandfather's gift to her included shares in the Miller beer company. That useful nest-egg has allowed her to set up her own craft website 'Muzungu Sisters', which focuses on creating unique handmade goods sourced from ethical materials.
Having a famous name has both positive and negative connotations. The biggest and most obvious positive for Georgina Bloomberg is that she has a share of her father's $52bn fortune. The former mayor of New York and media giant has had a long and successful career, with plenty of money to show for it. His hard labor means that his daughter will never have to work anything like as hard as he did.
Despite that, she's not sold on the idea that she's had an easy life. Speaking to the documentary series 'Born Rich,' she once said that having the surname 'sucked' because it meant that other people judged her, and failed to see her as an individual instead of a Bloomberg. She later clarified that she had nothing but respect for her family, but hasn't always enjoyed the attention that's come with being part of it.
Our second self-made billionaire woman on this list is Sara Blakely. Her path to fame was the invention of a now widely-used product, and an unexpected celebrity endorsement that sent her sales figures through the roof. She's banked $1.25bn via 'Spanx,' the underwear company she founded, which helps other women ensure their bodies stay contoured below whatever they're wearing. Blakely was 27 when she came up with the idea behind the garment. Putting them into production cost her every penny she'd ever saved; a comparatively meager $5000.
Anything that helps women to appear thinner and guard them against the effects of bloating on a night out was always bound to be popular with buyers, but she couldn't have wished for a happier accident when it came to building brand awareness. Television legend Oprah Winfrey, who hadn't been paid to do so, publicly stated they were a vital part of her wardrobe. After that, the orders started rolling in and never stopped.
If you've ever worn makeup, you've almost certainly bought a product by Estee Lauder at some point in your life. Estee Lauder herself is no longer with us, but the company she set up still sells millions of products every year, and much of the profit goes to her granddaughter Aerin Lauder. Lauder grew up surrounded by the family trade and is now an integral part of the company, serving as its image and style director.
She still finds the time to pursue her own independent business endeavors though. Her company 'Aerin' also makes makeup, but on top of that it designs and sells home furnishings, home accessories, fragrances, and clothing. Her self-named company isn't as big as her grandmother's just yet, but it's on its way. While she's waiting for the big money to roll in through 'Aerin,' she can sit back on the more-than-one-billion dollars she's both inherited and earned through Estee Lauder.
Some billionaires keep a low profile and quietly enjoy their money, and others maintain a high one. Richard Branson falls into the second group, with his aggressive 'Virgin' branding of everything from trains to soda, and his repeated attempts to float around the world on a balloon. Perhaps seeing the negatives that have sometimes come with that level of media intrusion, his daughter Holly Branson has opted to stay out of the limelight, instead qualifying as a doctor.
While she's maintained her medical qualification, she's also come around to the idea of using her $4bn fortune to do some good. She's taken on a role within the Virgin Group Leadership team, which investigates potential routes for the corporate giant to pursue charitable work and build communities. She credits her dad with her altruistic outlook, saying that he always told her that a good business should improve the lives of ordinary people.
Anna Getty is perhaps one of the best examples of how being born rich with a famous name can sometimes get in the way of the things you want to do with your life. Getty is a gifted producer and has found plenty of work in Hollywood, but she's had to put up with constant accusations that she's only got the jobs she's received because of who she is, and her $5n fortune.
Getty isn't actually the biological daughter of the famous John Paul Getty III; he adopted her. That doesn't make her any less associated with him though, and so as the public's fascination with his kidnapping and subsequent release lingers, so does the interest in asking her about it. The story has been turned into both TV documentaries and movies. Somewhat gallingly, Getty wasn't invited to work as a producer on any of them.
Laurene Powell Jobs
It's the surname which gives you a clue to this lady's identity; Laurene Powell Jobs is the widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs. Jobs was one of the world's wealthiest individuals at the time of his tragic passing, and his wife was the chief beneficiary of his will. She picked up the Steven P. Jobs Trust in its entirety, meaning she has more than 38 million shares in Apple along with ownership of 7.3% of Disney. In cash terms, that makes her worth more than $18bn.
Clearly, she couldn't spend all of that money between now and the end of her life if she tried, and so she's decided to put both her wealth and her time to good use. Jobs founded the Emerson Collective, which campaigns for children's education rights and justice and equality all around the world. There's far more to this woman than just a passing association with iPhones.
Anna Anissimova Shafer
Given some of the scandals that she's had to deal with, it's questionable whether anyone would want to be directly compared to Paris Hilton. Anna Anissimova Shafer has been though, and she doesn't seem to mind too much. Then again, she has three and a half billion reasons not to care what anybody else thinks of her; money which has come from her father Vasily Anisimov, who is one of Russia's numerous oligarchs.
Anisimov and his daughter weren't especially close, and she spent much of her late teens living alone in New York City. That's where she met her now-husband, movie producer Peter Shafer, who inspired her to try her hand as a performer in front of the camera. In as much as she can, Shafer has tried to divorce herself from her upbringing, stating that she wants to be seen as an average girl with her own dreams. She hasn't given her money away to live like one though.
The Onassis family have been famous ever since Jackie Kennedy joined their ranks in the 1960s by way of marriage to Aristotle Onassis. They didn't need the fame to bring them money though; they own a huge shipping company. The number of children in the family has dwindled as the years have passed, leaving Athina Onassis, Aristotle's granddaughter, as the sole heir of the entire empire. Nobody can say for certain precisely how much she's inherited, although it's understood to be far in excess of one billion dollars.
The way at which the young Onassis arrived by her fortune wasn't a happy one. She was only ten when her mother passed away, causing her inheritance money to be held in trust until she was much older. It appears the shipping company will have to find different ownership in the future; this heiress is far more interested in show jumping.
Tamara and Petra Ecclestone
Here's another pair of sisters who can't be separated by their wealth, so we'll induct them into our list together, too! The glamorous Tamara and Petra Ecclestone have a combined wealth of just short of $3bn, meaning they're both billionaires in their own right. They're the daughters of British businessman Bernie Ecclestone. Sports fans are likely to be familiar with his work - he founded the Formula 1 brand of motorsport, which generates billions of dollars of revenue across the world every year.
Unlike some on this list, the Ecclestone sisters seem happy to sit back on their wealth, knowing that they don't need to work and therefore choosing not to. They're socialites, flying across the world first class and essentially treating life as one long luxury holiday. That's what most of us would be doing if we had the chance, so we shouldn't judge them for it!
Whoever would have thought that you could make a billion dollars by changing the way people approach their eyebrows? Perhaps only one person in history - Anastasia Soare. She was a humble aesthetician when she became fixated with other people's eyebrows, feeling that more could be done with them to enhance the beauty of a face. She took the bold step of launching her own eyebrow-focused cosmetic firm, 'Anastasia Beverly Hills.' The rest is history.
The company doesn't open stores under its own name - instead, it operates as a brand inside more established high-end fashion companies, and that mode of conducting business has seen it establish a presence in over two thousand such establishments worldwide. As the company's sole owner, all the profits come to Soare. So far, that's been more than $1bn. Famous names and faces such as Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford have all used Soare's products.
Maria Asuncion Aramburuzabala
People love drinking beer. It's good for socializing, it's good for relaxing, and it's good for taking the stress out of a difficult day. People will always want to buy it, and so owning a quality beer company is an easy way to make money so long as you have access to customers. Maria Asuncion Aramburuzabala has lots of beer to sell, and lots of customers to sell it to. That's why she's the richest woman in Mexico with a bank balance of more than six billion dollars.
The company originally belonged to her father, who passed away before his time and left the young Aramburuzabala with a decision to make. Did she want to take the money and leave the company to others to run, or did she want to make a go of it herself? She chose the second option, and she's shown a real aptitude for it as the firm has continued to go from strength to strength.
Delphine Arnault is the daughter of Bernard Arnault. We don't expect that name to mean much to you, but when we tell you that he's the CEO of Louis Vuitton, the source of her money should become much more apparent. She's a major player in the fashion world, but she didn't walk straight in to her father's company. She went to the London School of Economics first and then worked in a number of other fashion retailers to enhance her understanding of the global marketplace. In short, she's a consummate professional.
Having family ties inside the company probably helped her in joining Louis Vuitton in the long run, but she still had to put the groundwork in and prove that she had the skills to handle a senior role. She's now on the company's executive committee, and has made history by getting there - she's the youngest executive Louis Vuitton have ever had, and only the second female one.
We respect all of the women who have been born into wealth and then worked hard at making more, but we feel like it takes someone a little more special to make a billion from nothing. Huda Kattan, therefore, counts as special. She grew up with an interest in beauty and started work as a normal makeup artist - one of thousands in her trade. It was blogging that made the difference between her and her competition.
She can thank her sister for the idea of starting a blog, and we're sure she does on a daily basis - 'Huda Beauty' quickly became a must-see website for those in the beauty trade. Inevitably, the blog progressed to including a shopping area for Kattan's range of cosmetics, which are in permanent high demand. She's now the star of her own reality show - 'Huda Boss' - and although she's just-about earned a billion dollars now, we're sure she'll double that in the very near future.
Susan Klatten may have been a billionaire for a little longer than most of our list, but she's still not at retirement age, and so she qualifies! Almost every woman we've seen so far has received their money from one specific source or industry; Klatten's cash comes from two.
Klatten's parents owned the chemical giant Altana AG. When they passed away, she and her brother inherited fifty percent each of the business. She must have enjoyed doing business with her brother because the two also own nearly half of the luxury car company BMW. Under her leadership, Altana has become a private company, and she's bought out her brother to take complete control of the firm and add to her $20bn net worth. All that money means she has a lot of spare cash to invest with, and so she's taken on shares in green power companies and graphite production. She's a busy woman!
You can make a fortune working in the construction, media or banking industries if you know what you're doing. Hind Hariri's family work across all three sectors, so there's no shortage of money coming their way. As if that weren't enough, her father was once the Prime Minister of Lebanon, making the Hariris both rich and powerful.
Although Hariri doesn't seem to have chosen any particular career path to follow, she's a capable woman and holds a degree from Beirut's Lebanese American University. She was first confirmed to be a billionaire in 2008 at the age of only 24, and her fortune has continued to grow since then. She's known to have an interest in fashion, but more recently she's been seen at her brother's side as he campaigns hold political office, following in his father's footsteps.
Vanisha Mittal Bhatia
When you can afford to spend $70m on your wedding and have the celebration last for an entire week instead of the usual single day, you're clearly rolling in money. Vanisha Mittal Bhatia's fortune is so huge that it dwarfs most of the other ladies on our list, standing at $20bn. Her wedding to her businessman husband Amit Bhatia is generally believed to have been the most expensive in history anywhere in the world.
Vanisha's money comes from her father Lakshmi Mittal, who is consistently ranked by Forbes as one of the richest people in the world. Mittal is the chairman of the steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal which takes on projects worldwide and gets well-paid for doing so. The wedding wasn't the only outlandish gift he made to his daughter; he also bought her a $70m mansion in an exclusive area of London.
Roshni Nadar Malhotra
Being the only child of a multi-billionaire means you're likely to get a little spoiled with gifts and attention. That goes some way to explaining why Roshi Nadar Malhotra is worth something like fifteen billion dollars. Her father Shiv Nadar founded HCL Technology, which has gone on to be a giant in the global tech scene. Daddy makes her work for her money though.
Malhotra has her own position on the board of HCL Technology as a Director, but has an even grander rank at their sister company the HCL Corporation, where she's Executive Director and CEO. Somehow, she also finds the time to serve as a trustee of her father's Shiv Nadar Trust, which takes on charitable projects. Described as being fiercely ambitious and highly intelligent, Malhotra will likely own all of the businesses one day.
You might not recognize Sheryl Sandberg's name, but it's more likely than not that you've seen her work today; maybe even just before you read this article. Sandberg is the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, second in the company only to Mark Zuckerberg. She's got a long and impressive history of working for major internet companies; prior to her move to Facebook, she was working as a Vice President at Google.
Sandberg is doubtless well paid for the work she does at Facebook, but her salary only accounts for a fraction of her total worth. She has stock in both Google and Facebook, periodically selling some to cash in and fund her own philanthropic endeavors. One of those endeavors is the 'Lead In' foundation, which is devoted to encouraging more women to succeed in the business world. That topic is dear to her heart - she's released several books on the subject.
In the unlikely event you needed proof of America's (perhaps unhealthy) obsession with hamburgers, then consider this: Burgers have made Lynsi Snyder a billionaire, and she isn't even involved in McDonald's. Snyder is the CEO and owner of In-n-Out Burger; a company which was started by her grandparents. Snyder received a controlling share of the stock when she turned 35, which pushed her net worth beyond $3bn. She was already worth one than one billion at the time.
When she's not running the family business, you might be able to find Snyder indulging her passion for drag racing, which is something else she inherited from her grandfather. Aside from that, though, she likes to stay out of the public eye. She has a good reason for that; because of her family's wealth, she's found herself targeted by kidnappers not once but twice.
When a child is born into the Bauer family, it would appear that its destiny has already been determined. They will go into the family business, and one day take over the running of the massive Bauer Media Group, which is based in Germany but has influence in print, digital and broadcast media globally. Yvonne Bauer is the fifth generation of her family to have control of the company.
Her family's wealth and her position have made her worth more than $3.5bn, but she has to work hard in return for it. As the owner of 85% of the entire company, she's ultimately responsible for over a hundred television or radio stations, four hundred websites, and six hundred magazines. Presumably, her degree in language studies helps with such a responsibility. Bauer is married with two children, who will presumably go on to become Bauer's sixth generation of owners.
Where you start in life is not necessarily where you're going to end up. Margarita Louis-Dreyfus spent time in an orphanage as a child. Now, she's one of the world's richest women with a personal fortune of more than $10bn. Marrying Robert Louis-Dreyfus is the primary reason for her wealth, although she was already doing well in business herself as an electronics retailer.
When her husband passed away prematurely due to leukemia, Louis-Dreyfus was left with almost his entire estate, including his businesses. She decided to run them instead of selling them, and has seen them continue to grow under her stewardship. Along with her second husband Philipp Hildebrand, she's shown interests in sport as well as business; they used to own French football giants Marseille. If her last name is familiar to you, it may be because you're aware of her distant relative, the American actress and 'Veep' star Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
China's Zhou Qunfei is another tale of a woman who started at the very bottom and worked her way up. Qunfei's teenage years were spent as a migrant worker, supporting her family after an industrial accident meant that her father was no longer able to do so. One of the many low-paid jobs she found was one with a watch production company. Coming into contact with watch lenses proved to be a pivotal point in her life.
Realizing that she had a natural talent, and could see potential with lenses and electronics that nobody else could, Qunfei started Lens Technology essentially out of her own bedroom. It's now the world's predominant supplier of lenses for touchscreen technology, including most smartphones. If you're using a phone to read this article, you're probably touching Qunfei's glass. Worth over $9.8bn, she's the richest completely self-made woman in the world.
Marta Ortega Perez
Marta Ortega Perez has a current net worth of $1.5bn. That is more money than most of us will ever see in our entire lives, but it actually seems like quite a small share of her family's fortune. She's the daughter of Amancio Ortega who was, for a long time, the world's richest man. He's still not doing badly; he's now worth $73bn. Considering the vast sums that less-wealthy fathers have given to their daughters, only giving his daughter less than a seventieth of his cash seems miserly!
The Perez money mostly comes from fashion and clothing, with Zara being the pick of their numerous brands. Nobody knows whether Ms. Perez is involved in the company or not - the Ortega family are notoriously private - but it is known that she went to London's European Business School, so it seems reasonable to assume she's putting that learning to good use.
Rich girls having a fascination with horses has always been something of a cliché and a stereotype, but we're seeing equine interests coming up again and again in our list, so there must be some truth to the tale. Charlotte Söderström is the daughter of Stefan Persson, who is the man behind fashion retailer H&M. With her shares in the company she's worth $2.5bn, but despite having a role within the business, it's not where her passion lies.
That, as we implied, is with horses. She doesn't simply ride them though; she breeds them. Söderström and her husband have a stud farm, which is a lucrative business if you're capable of producing racehorses as they are. Her husband works with her on the stud farming side of things, which gives her the time to maintain both her professional roles. They have three children together.
Of all the firms that you could want to have family ties to, Samsung would have to be considered pretty high on the list. The Korean company are one of the world's biggest, and make more money in an hour than most people make in a year. Lee Seo-Hyun is the daughter of the company's chairman Lee Kun-Hee, and she's entered the family business. She doesn't touch any of the electronic products, however.
Not many people know that Samsung also has a fashion arm known as C&T. It's Seo-Hyun's job to make more people aware of that fact now that she's President of that arm. If she's successful, she'll surely build on her current net worth, which stands at $2bn. All the signs suggest that she'll do fine; she prepared for the role by studying at Parsons School of Design in New York. Seo-Hyun's brother and sister are also active within different areas of Samsung, which makes for an interesting debate in the future about who gets to inherit the firm.
Abigail Pierrepont Johnson
Abigail Pierrepont Johnson doesn't just have a lot of money ($20bn to be precise), she knows everything there is to know about it too. She is the only woman in history to have served on the board of the Financial Services Forum and has also sat on the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.
She's got plenty of financial success on her resume, which explains why organizations such as those are so keen to have her on board. Johnson is currently both the CEO of Fidelity Investments and the chairperson of Fidelity International. That's a lot of money being invested in and around her, much of which she bears ultimate responsibility for. She's also in charge of more than forty-five thousand employees, all over the world. With great power comes great responsibility - and enormous wealth.
When you're rich, and you have invitations to all the best parties in town, it's rude to turn them down. Allison Sarofim, who has over one and a half billion dollars in the bank, rarely does. She's happy to be described as a socialite, and even happier when people ask her about what she's wearing when she goes out - she's quite the fashion lover.
With her lifestyle and her eye for expensive and luxurious clothes, Sarofim probably spends money quite fast. Fortunately, her father is capable of making money even faster. Fayez Sarofim is an investment manager known inside the financial world as 'The Sphinx'; a nickname he's believed to take great pleasure in. When Sarofim isn't posing for the cameras she can sometimes be found performing for them - she's acted in the past, and also has her own film production company called Sixty-Six Productions.
Alannah Weston has had a varied professional career, trying her hand in a number of roles. She never really had to work at all, though - the Weston family are one of the richest in Canada, and her share of those riches is somewhere in the region of eight billion dollars. Perhaps wanting to forge her own identity away from her family, she's established herself as a serious businesswoman in England.
Initially, she was a writer, working as a journalist for Vogue, Tatler, and the Daily Telegraph before she got involved with fashion as Burberry's head of press. She migrated onto the business side of Burberry's operations, and eventually accepted a position as creative director for Selfridges; the largest chain of department stores in Europe and routinely recognized as the best in the world. The appointment wasn't a complete surprise though; the Weston family had just bought the company.
There's a saying in the casino world which goes 'the house always wins,' which implies that no matter if individual gamblers within the casino take home more money than they came in with, it's the casino which is the ultimate winner overall. The ultimate confirmation of that fact is that the people who own large casinos tend to be very rich, like Stanley Ho, who operates on the gambling paradise island of Macau. He has so much money that handing $7bn to his daughter Josie was no hardship for him at all.
Ho used the money to get singing and acting lessons, much to her father's disapproval. He hoped that she'd follow him into business, but she dreamed of being a singer or an actress. In the end, she's achieved both, having released records in her native Hong Kong and appeared in a number of Chinese-language movies. She has occasionally made it into Western cinema too, such as 2011's 'Contagion.'
Thanks to an early and unexpected gift from her father, 36-year-old Yang Huiyan is Asia's youngest female billionaire. She's also one of the richest women on the continent outright, with a worth of $13bn. All of it more or less came to her overnight after her father spontaneously decided to give her 55% of his real estate company Country Garden Holdings in 2007. At the time she was just 24.
Huiyan may not have been expecting the gift, but she was being groomed to take control of the company in the long term. She traveled to America to study as a teenager, graduating with a degree from Ohio State University in Marketing and Logistics. She's shown her worth to the company on multiple occasions; her dad is still in charge, but she serves as vice chairperson and was credited with the idea of creating new shares in the firm. That brought in revenue of $410m, which goes some way to repaying the enormous investment her father made in her.
The easiest way to own a huge amount of money is to be born into wealth. Inheriting or being gifted wealth from a rich relative isn't the same thing as earning it, but as long as all the cash ends up in your bank account, who cares? Amanda Hearst certainly doesn't; she's the first heiress on our list, and she won't be the last.
Hearst is the great-granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst. He was the Rupert Murdoch of his day, making huge amounts of money in media. The money has passed down through the generations and left this Hearst with $2bn, but she's not sitting back on it. She has a career of her own, editing 'Marie Claire' and 'Town & Country,' as well as opening fashion outlet 'Maison de Mode'; a retail brand with a social conscience
Caroline Hagen Kjos
Caroline Hagen Kjos is another heiress with an inherited fortune of $2.5bn, but she's also one of the hardest workers on this entire list, so writing her off as 'just another heiress' would be wrong. She's entered the family business - which, many years ago, really was just a humble family business - and is now the chairperson. That business is Canica AS.
The name won't mean much to a non-European audience, but Canica was the holding company behind the RIMI grocery stores, which were once as common across Scandinavia as Walmart stores are in the USA. Her grandfather started the business with just one shop, and subsequent generations opened more and more until the grocery arm of the business was eventually sold in 2011. Now Canica, with Hagen Kjos at the helm, purchases businesses in many different industries.
The Olsen Twins
We're ending our list with a pair of names that almost everybody knows; Ashley and Mary-Kate, the Olsen Twins. While the public is very familiar with their faces, and expect them to be rich because of their acting fame, we expect most readers will be surprised to find out that they're now worth more than a billion dollars. Even more surprisingly, their staggering worth has nothing to do with their acting or their media profiles.
The Olsens took a step back from public life a few years ago to focus on their fashion label, and it's that which has made them more money than anything else. It's been turning over more than a billion dollars per year in revenue for the past four years, but only recently has been ascribed with a value of more than a billion dollars in the past year. As the Olsens own it, that money is theirs. Not bad for a couple of child stars from 'Full House.'
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