by LAUREN MILLIGAN
GISELE BUNDCHEN may be the best known supermodel in the world today, but she’s not the richest – that honour falls to former Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover girl Kathy Ireland, who’s worth more than $350 million with a retail empire currently valued at $2 billion,Forbes has revealed.
Ireland is the ultimate supermogul – having taken her celebrity and parlayed it into tens, if not hundreds, of different business ventures over the past two decades. Now aged 48, Ireland was spotted at 17 and from 1984 to 1997 graced the pages of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition for 13 consecutive years – including three covers.
Kathy Ireland Worldwide, the former supermodel’s company, sells many things which aren’t associated with most models – who tend to put their name to clothing and cosmetics – including ceiling fans, flooring, mattresses, desks, end tables, media centres, beds, ottomans, bookcases, rugs, carpets, headboards and windows. Her namesake vinyl and plastic replacement windows sell more than $400 million-worth a year through one retailer alone, but that doesn’t mean she’s achieved all her ambitions.
“We have a long way to go,” she told Forbes, adding that her “first and last meeting of every day is with God”.