Rihanna is a billionaire. It’s not even a situation where she’s just technically a billionaire by the skin of her teeth either. Forbes just estimated Rihanna’s net worth at $1.7 billion, and having read their analysis, I kind of think they might be undervaluing her. It’s no surprise that the bulk of Rihanna’s wealth has not even come from music or the traditional avenues of celebrity (sponsorships, advertising contracts). No, Rihanna has started her own successful businesses and she completely shook a staid, racist cosmetic industry to its very core. Fenty Beauty is the biggest reason why Rihanna is so rich, but she’s also made some really smart decisions for collaborators, advertising and more. You can read the full Forbes piece here. Some highlights:
Fenty Beauty changed everything: Rihanna is now worth $1.7 billion, Forbes estimates—making her the wealthiest female musician in the world and second only to Oprah Winfrey as the richest female entertainer. But it’s not her music that’s made her so wealthy. The bulk of her fortune (an estimated $1.4 billion) comes from the value of Fenty Beauty, of which Forbes can now confirm she owns 50%. Much of the rest lies in her stake in her lingerie company, Savage x Fenty, worth an estimated $270 million, and her earnings from her career as a chart-topping musician and actress.
Why Fenty Beauty has been so successful: The label is a 50-50 joint venture with French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH (run by Bernard Arnault, the world’s second richest person), launched in 2017 with the goal of inclusivity. Its products come in a diverse range of colors—foundation is offered in 50 shades, including harder-to-find darker shades for women of color—and are modeled in its advertising by an equally diverse group of people. Available online and at Sephora stores, which are also owned by LVMH, the products were an instant success. By 2018, its first full calendar year, the line was bringing in more than $550 million in annual revenues, according to LVMH, beating out other celebrity-founded brands like Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics, Kim Kardashian West’s KKW Beauty and Jessica Alba’s Honest Company.
Everyone wants to invest in beauty: While cosmetics sales slowed during the pandemic, beauty companies are worth as much as ever. Stocks of larger beauty conglomerates like Estee Lauder and L’Oreal have bounced back, reaching all-time highs and trading at impressive 7.5 (or more) times annual revenues. Meanwhile independent brands like Beautycounter and Charlotte Tilbury inked deals with investment firms earlier this year at billion-dollar valuations. That is good news for Rihanna. Thanks to the impressive multiples at which beauty companies are trading, Fenty Beauty is worth a conservative $2.8 billion, Forbes estimates. And all signs point to the company continuing to grow. In its annual report for 2020, LVMH said Fenty Skin, which launched last year, was off to a “very promising start” and “generated unprecedented buzz,” and that Fenty Beauty “maintained its appeal as a premier make up brand.”
More on Savage X Fenty: In February her lingerie line Savage x Fenty raised $115 million in funding at a $1 billion valuation. The company, which launched in 2018 as a joint venture with TechStyle Fashion Group, counts blue-chip investors like Jay-Z’s Marcy Venture Partners and private equity firm L. Catterton (in which Bernard Arnault is an investor) as shareholders. Rihanna maintains a 30% ownership stake, Forbes estimates. The latest round of funding will reportedly be used for customer acquisition and retail expansion.
Forbes also confirms that Rihanna did have one failure: her accessories brand, which had the Fenty name too. Apparently, she’s already shut it down after sales steeply declined during the pandemic. It’s fine, not everything has to be a hit! Especially not when you’ve created one billion-dollar brand and a second brand is headed that way. I figured Fenty Beauty would be successful when she launched it, but I had no idea it would be this successful, nor did I have any idea how the old companies (Estee Lauder, L’Oreal) would be so freaked out by Rihanna’s success in exploiting an untapped consumer market of “people who do not have fair skin.” As for her lingerie line… I’ve looked at that stuff and while I respect that Rihanna is offering consumers a different look and tapping into another untapped market, I actually do not like a lot of the lingerie! But whatever, if it sells, it sells. And it’s selling.
Photos courtesy of Backgrid.
Well, she earned it. I hope she gets a pre-nup from ASAP Rocky or whomever she chooses to marry in the future. Always best of luck to her.
Fenty is my go to foundation as it’s a perfect match. While I respect the IDEA behind Savage Fenty lingerie, I don’t like any of it. But, then again, I was never into sexy lingerie. I’m a black bra and panties kind of girl.
I always gathered that no rich list is accurate but i had a lot more respect for Forbes until they managed to get duped by Kris Jenner…how does that work ? I guess to be included in the forbes list is a vanity thing,you WANT people to know how rich you are,so you give them all your data. Why are Beyonce and Jlo never in these lists ?
Honestly she’s worked her ass off for it. So good for her. I love Rihanna and have been a fan since day 1 and always will be
Yes! Love this!
And also I am inclined to believe it since she’s not yelling about it from the rooftops (side eye to Kayne and Trump)
I’m not a fan of Ri’s music but I will spend the extra money to get myself some Fenty. Lawd, ever since that stuff came out, I’m obsessed with everything. I couldn’t ever contour myself until I got those contour sticks. I love them so much. The fact she is so hands on about her stuff really makes a difference. The key to Rihanna’s success is that she knows what she wants to see in the world and she makes it happen.
I apologize, I let my love of Fenty makeup get the best of me and got carried away. Have a good day everyone.
Fenty skin has some interesting sounding products too. Anyone on here try them?
Yes. I still prefer other brands but it’s not bad. I just don’t feel it’s worth the price unlike the makeup line.
I’m generally a Clinique girl for face stuff because it’s fragrance free for my sensitive skin. It seems Fenty Skin isn’t fragrance free? Surprising.
Yes, Mimi, absolutely right. I also love the different body types and different physical abilities of her models on the Fenty lingerie shows. I remember her favorite model is Slick Woods and Slick is very sick now and has been for a long time. I know Rihanna must be supporting her in her long, hard struggle. Keep fighting, Slick.
I don’t like the lingerie either, but I love the makeup – her gloss bombs have been my go-to pretty much since they were released, I think I have them in every colour. I even have some of her skincare products in my cabinet, I’m eager to try the Fat Water!
She’s worked hard for her success, that’s for sure.
What do you even do with that amount of money? I’m not knocking her; that was genuinely my first thought when I read the headline, lol. I just can’t fathom it.
I imagine (hope) she makes sure that all the people who work for her get properly paid.
From what I know about her, I imagine that she makes that one of her priorities.
I think she’s been doing a lot for the communities in her home country of Barbados. I heard she has a lot of non-profit programs for girls down there.
Plus she is known for really taking care of people who take care of her.
That’s awesome! I had heard something about that years ago, too.
Now that one I believe! She doesn’t have some desperate momager demanding she be labeled a billionaire, she’s just out there killing it with her work, mainly by providing products to a huge, diverse range of customers and not limiting their sales to one small group of the population.
A shocking idea, right?
Yessss now this is a true self-made billionaire. I hope she keeps making that money…good for her!
Good on her.
Yup…saw this coming months ago! Happy for Rih’s success.
Nice to see a woman on this list, especially one who actually earned it (I’m side-eyeing Kylie here, not MacKenzie Scott, who earned it). I get that a billion is the new million. If you’re not making a billion every month, you’re just rich rich, not mega insane rich.
Wow. Pretty impressive net worth!
I don’t actually use any makeup anymore, I did when I was in my 20-50’s.
I’m amazed at how much $$ there is in beauty products these days.