Forbes magazine estimates the musician’s fortune at $600m, a figure bolstered by her lucrative fashion and beauty ventures
(Rihanna launching her Fenty brand in Paris in May 2019. Photograph: Julien Hekimian)
Rihanna has been named the world’s richest female musician by Forbes magazine.
The singer’s worth is estimated at $600m (£472m), including revenues made from her fashion and beauty lines in addition to those from her music career.
In May 2019, French luxury brand LVMH confirmed it would launch Rihanna’s fashion company, Fenty, making her the first woman of colour to lead an LVMH fashion house. “I want to be as disruptive as possible,” she told the New York Times of the venture. “The brand is not traditional.”
LVMH also backs Rihanna’s lucrative cosmetics company, Fenty Beauty, which launched in 2017 and is worth more than £3bn, from which Rihanna has earned $570m, Forbes reports. Boots recently acquired UK distribution rights for the brand. She also designs an inclusive lingerie line, Savage x Fenty, in partnership with TechStyle Fashion Group.
In May, Rihanna told the New York Times that she wasn’t driven by money but by her work. “The money means that I can take care of my family. The money means that I can facilitate the businesses that I want to. I can create jobs for other people. My money is not for me; it’s always the thought that I can help someone else or, in the future, for if I have kids.”
In 2012, Rihanna founded the Clara Lionel Foundation, which supports health and education efforts in impoverished communities around the world. In February 2017, she was named humanitarian of the year by Harvard University.
Forbes’s list of the top five richest female musicians finds Madonna in second place ($570m), Céline Dion in third ($450m), Beyoncé and Barbra Streisand tying in fourth ($400m) and Taylor Swift in sixth ($360m).
The publication defines “self-made” as “someone who built a company or established a fortune on her own, rather than inheriting some or all of it” – hence the Kardashian scion Kylie Jenner being named America’s youngest “self-made” billionaire earlier this year thanks to her cosmetics brand, Kylie Cosmetics.
Alongside the growth of her beauty range, experts say Rihanna's invested her money wisely.
"Globally the entire beauty industry is worth $480bn (£377bn) - in 2018 the UK market was valued at $17bn (£13bn)," says Hannah Symons, global beauty manager at Euromonitor International.
Hannah's job is to track the growth of the beauty industry - looking for trends.
"Rihanna's success clearly doesn't come off the back of the music although that's how she initially gained fame.
Hannah thinks part of Rihanna's success is she's appealing to a very wide audience.
"A lot of the people buying her products are not people who were buying her music. Rihanna has been around for 15 years but the people buying her products are aged 16-19, so wouldn't have been around when she started making music.
"And it's not just because she caters for darker skin tones either, she also caters for people at the paler end of the spectrum. And it's this inclusive element that makes her stand out.
Hannah says she's also been wise partnering with a high street retailer, making her products more accessible.
Rihanna's Fenty Beauty collection has continued to disrupt the beauty industry since its launch in 2017, challenging other brands to expand their range of offerings for consumers with different skin tones. Fenty Beauty launched with 40 foundation shades and has since expanded to over 50, now seen as a trailblazer within the industry for its inclusive offerings.