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Rihanna enters billionaires club — but it's not her music that got her there

·Producer
·2-min read
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Rihanna has entered the billionaires club.  

According to Forbes, the 33-year-old is now worth a whopping $1.7 billion — making her the wealthiest female musician, and second only to Oprah Winfrey, as the richest female entertainer. 

Although many know Rihanna for her music — from hit singles "Umbrella" and "Where Have You Been" to "We Found Love" and "Work" — she actually achieved the bulk of her income through her fashion and beauty brands. 

Fenty Beauty, which launched in 2017, has contributed the most to the singer's wealth — an estimated $1.4 billion, Forbes said. 

The cosmetics company gained instant fame for its inclusivity of all skin tones, generating more than $550 million in annual revenue in its first calendar year. At the time, Fenty Beauty was one of the first (and most notable) brands to introduce a variety of foundation shades, and was especially popular among women of color. 

The brand, currently sold online and at Sephora locations nationwide, is a 50-50 joint venture between Rihanna and fashion powerhouse LVMH (LVMUY) — the conglomerate behind luxury brands like Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton. 

In recent years, there's been an explosion of celebrity beauty brands with Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Jessica Alba and Lady Gaga all putting their names behind big makeup and skincare lines. 

However, Rihanna is the most successful among the A-list pack, according to Forbes. 

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 1: Rihanna attends the second press day for Rihanna's Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2 presented by Amazon Prime Video at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, California; and broadcast on October 2, 2020.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 1: Rihanna attends the second press day for Rihanna's Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2 presented by Amazon Prime Video at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, California; and broadcast on October 2, 2020.

Besides Fenty Beauty, Rihanna also heads a successful fashion and lingerie company, Savage X Fenty. 

Launched in 2018, the brand recently raised $115 million in funding — bringing its valuation to over $1 billion. Rihanna maintains a 30% ownership stake, Forbes estimates.  

The singer's success speaks to the larger story of female entrepreneurs, especially within Hollywood. 

On Monday, Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon reached an agreement to sell her production house Hello Sunshine to a Blackstone-backed media company. The New York Times said the deal valued Hello Sunshine at roughly $900 million. 

Meanwhile, Kim Kardashian was crowned a billionaire in April

Forbes listed the reality star in its annual "World's Billionaire List" report, citing her lucrative businesses, KKW Beauty and loungewear company Skims, as catalysts for her billionaire status, in addition to extra cash from her reality series "Keeping up with the Kardashians" and endorsement deals. 

Alexandra is a Producer & Entertainment Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193

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