40+ Fabulous Women Who Made the Billionaire's Club
So many of us dream of being rich, famous, and beautiful, but these women have actually achieved it. While many had a big helping hand up by inheriting their parents’ fortunes, some impressive ladies on this list are totally self-made. Whether you love them or hate them, we bet you’re just as curious as we are to take a peek into the lives of the richest women in the whole wide world! Read on to find out how they accumulated their stacks...
Our first billionaire babe is none other than Holly Branson. She may be worth $3.8 billion, but we’re sure that she had a pretty big leg up considering her father is Sir Richard Branson! Sir Branson has control over more than 400 companies, so you can understand why his net worth is nearly $5 billion. Nonetheless, Holly Branson has definitely earned her spot on the list and has worked hard to become a neurologist. She is also a generous philanthropist and travels across the world contributing to humanitarian causes.
You can’t hear the phrase ‘lean in’ without thinking about Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook CEO and founder of LeanIn.org. Sandberg is one of the biggest names in the tech industry and is worth $1.3 billion. Prior to joining the Facebook family, this influential woman was the vice president of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google. Her bestselling book ‘Lean In’ is a must-read for anyone in the business.
Allison Sarofim is one of the most interesting people on this list and is the daughter of Louisa Stude and Fayez Sarofim. Her father part-owns the Houston Texans NFL team, worth $1.85 billion, and his philanthropic support of the Museum of Fine Arts is sure to have pleased the super-creative Allison. She is known to put on some of the best parties in the world and was one of the chief battle dryads in the Lord of the Rings movies. One of her brothers is also rumored to be dating Canadian pop-punk icon, Avril Lavigne! She is worth $1.5 billion.
This Russian billionaire is another heiress who has experienced a great tragedy. Her father may have been a billionaire himself, but this does not mean that Anissimova has had an easy life. The Russian mafia murdered her sister, and so fearing for her life, Anna’s father sent her to America where he hoped she would be safe. Anissimova is worth $2 billion and is married to film producer Peter Schafer.
Serra Sabanci may not be the youngest billionaire on this list, but at age 46, she is worth just over a billion dollars. Sadly, her father was assassinated in 1996. Serra is university-educated and pursued studies in economics. She is now a shareholder of Turkey’s biggest financial conglomerate, Sabanci Holdings, which is, of course, the family business.
The daughter of Ralph Lauren definitely learned a thing or two about big business from her father. Worth $4.7 billion, she is the owner and founder of Dylan’s Candy Bar, which anyone in North America knows is one of the biggest and best candy stores in the world. They even have them in airports! Dylan once told reporters: "Everyone in my family is entrepreneurial. I learned how to be entrepreneurial from my dad and wanted to start my own business.”
Not one to shy away from the spotlight, Kylie Jenner is definitely one of the bigger names on this list. Her cosmetics company, Kylie Cosmetics, has done extremely well, with the first lip kits she ever launched selling out in minutes. Jenner is now one of the youngest billionaires in the whole world, and while she calls herself ‘self-made,’ the internet has definitely clapped back at this claim. We’re sure she works super hard, but being a part of the Kardashian empire has to have helped her a great deal!
Ever heard of William Randolph Hearst? The media giant died in the 50s, so Amanda Hearst never met the great-grandfather that secured the family fortune. Nonetheless, she still has a net worth of $8.7 billion and resides in New York City. Now a model, socialite, and Marie Claire associate market editor, Hearst founded an organization called Friends and Finn that strives to prevent cruelty to puppies.
Marie Besnier Beauvalot
This 38-year-old is yet another rich-lister who comes from a wealthy family. Turns out the secret to getting rich is just to, er, be born to rich parents? Besnier Beauvalot’s grandfather founded Lactalis, and her father was once the CEO. Marie has two brothers, and together the three of them own the entire dairy product company, which just so happens to be one of the largest in the world. Unlike Kylie Jenner, Marie Besnier Beauvalot shies away from the spotlight, keeping her $2.5 billion dollar fortune out of the public eye.
Ana Lucia de Mattos Barretto Villela
If you hail from Brazil, you will know the name ‘Itau,’ one of the biggest banks in the country. Ana’s great-grandfather founded the bank, which merged with Unibanco some years ago. The huge corporation is now called Itau-Unibanco. Funnily enough, Ana is around the same age as Sabanci, but her net worth tips the scale at just a little more: $2 billion, making her the youngest woman to be a billionaire in Brazil.
Move over, Kylie! Alexandra Andresen is one of the youngest billionaires in the world and was worth $1.4 billion at the tender age of nineteen. Nonetheless, it’s not because she invented a new underwear brand, or sold thousands of cosmetics. Andresen’s father is Johan H. Andresen Jr. and owns one of Norway’s largest finance and real estate companies. She and her sister were transferred all but 20% of their father’s shares in Ferd Holding, which is where her millions come from.
Tamara’s sister Petra is a socialite, fashion designer, and model who not only inherited some of her wealth but also married into more of it when she was wed to billionaire James Stunt in 2011. Their wedding is reported to have cost tens of millions of pounds. Unluckily for Petra, a tradesman she had hired to help work on a real estate venture conned her out of nearly $2 million, but he too was sent off to the lockup for trying to pull the wool over an Ecclestone’s eyes.
Another billionaire in her mid-forties is Lee Seo-Hyun, whose father was the chairman of Samsung electronics. Worth $1.5 billion, she expanded textile manufacturer Cheil Industries into huge fashion and chemical areas as a part of her role as president. Not only does she oversee the Samsung Welfare Foundation, but she also made the list of the 50 richest people in Korea, and has four children of her own.
If the last name ‘Onassis’ sounds familiar, that’s probably because you know of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, who was once the first lady and wife of United States president J.F.K. Athina Onassis is the granddaughter of Jackie’s second husband, Greek shipping billionaire Aristotle Onassis, and also happens to be one of his last surviving descendants. The young Onassis is an equestrian and is estimated to be worth around $5 billion.
Another billionaire in her mid-forties with a wealthy family is Aerin Lauder. She is worth $2.3 billion and is the granddaughter Estée Lauder. Ahh, if only we had a grandparent who had founded a multinational corporation. Lauder has a BA/BSc from the University of Pennsylvania and has her own beauty, fashion and lifestyle brand called AERIN.
Industrialist and philosopher Charlotte Casiraghi is a young Italian billionaire who just so happens to be the granddaughter of Grace Kelly. She has a philosophy degree from the Sorbonne and has worked with famed psychoanalyst Julia Kristeva. Casiraghi is a model too, and has been the face of both Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent! We can definitely see how this royal celebrity is worth over $5 billion.
Possibly one of the most notorious on this list is Ivanka Trump, who, when coupled with husband Jared Kushner, is reportedly worth $1.1 billion by recent estimates. Alone she may be worth $300 million. Her father is, of course, Donald Trump, notorious billionaire and President of the United States of America. Presently she and her husband Jared are two of his key advisors.
Worth $3.6 billion, this 32-year-old heiress is a television presenter for Sky Sports Italia and is the daughter of Bernie Ecclestone. Of course, having a dad who is the CEO of the Formula One Group definitely helps when it comes to being rich. Ecclestone was the victim of a blackmail controversy in 2013, where her ex-partner Derek Rose tried to blackmail her into giving him hundreds of thousands of pounds to keep quiet about her ‘intimate secrets.’ Rose was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment as a result of the scandal.
Stanley Ho owns a number of Macau casinos, and is often informally known as ‘The King of Gambling.’ So it really isn’t that surprising that his daughter, Josie Ho, is also a billionaire. Worth $7 billion, the younger Ho has worked as a singer and actor but made her father pretty mad when she played a scandalous character in one of the films she acted in. Thankfully, Josie wasn’t cut off!
If you’ve been to Sephora lately, you’ve probably heard of Tory Burch. She is worth *Dr. Evil voice* one billion dollars, and is one of Forbes’ most powerful women of 2015. At fifty years old, Burch is a woman of many talents. Burch may be best-known for her handbag designs, but she also has a perfume line and is both a philanthropist and businesswoman. Burch has a degree in Art History from the University of Pennsylvania.
Ji Haipeng is the CEO of one of China’s biggest real-estate companies, and he has a gorgeous daughter named Perenna Kei. Kei has a bachelor’s degree from the London School of Economics and owns a majority share of Logan Property Holdings. Her net worth is $1.3 billion, and she seems to enjoy being a high-flying businesswoman. You go, girl.
If you were beginning to get sick of hearing about beautiful, rich women who have been bankrolled by their grandparents, then Sara Blakely will be a breath of fresh air. Blakely had a fairly normal upbringing, and made her millions by inventing Spanx, and founded the resulting company which sells the world-renowned shapewear. Now worth just over a billion dollars, Both Time and Forbes have named her on their lists of the world’s most powerful and influential people.
Bauer Media was started in 1875 and is a business that has stayed in the family ever since. Yvonne Bauer is only in her 40s but owns 600 magazines, 50 radio and TV stations, and 400 digital productions. She took over the company as the CEO in 2010 and is the fifth generation, Bauer, to keep the company going. Ahh, how we wish our great-great-great-grandparents had the foresight to start a media company!
Laurene Powell Jobs
Laurene Powell Jobs might be the widow of Steve Jobs, but that doesn’t mean that she isn’t self-made. Powell Jobs founded the Emerson Collective, which is an organization that aims to do ‘the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people.’ She has an MBA from Stanford and has to be one of the biggest philanthropists in the entire world, as well as one of the richest women in tech. The story goes that she sat next to Steve Jobs in a lecture he was about to give in 1989, and the rest is history.
This 52-year old is another savvy businesswoman who married into money. She was raised by her grandfather, who was an electrical engineer and pursued degrees in law and economics. But her world turned inside-out when she met Robert Louis-Dreyfus on a plane in the 80s. They married in the early 90s and enjoyed a wonderful life together. When he passed away, he left his fortune to the Russian-born businesswoman. She is the second cousin of Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Next time you eat at In-N-Out Burger, you might think of Lynsi Snyder, who received the final portion of her inheritance from the In-N-Out Burger enterprise. She is the CEO of the massive burger chain now and owns a 97% share of the business. Even though she was lucky enough to inherit most of her fortune, Snyder has endured personal tragedy. Both her father and uncle died in the nineties, from a drug overdose and plane crash respectively.
Sister of Aerin Lauder, Jane Lauder is worth $1.4 billion. She is the global president and general manager of the wider Estée Lauder cosmetics company, which also controls Origins and Darphin among other global brands. She owns 20 million shares in the company and is married to the former governor of the U.S. Federal Reserve. So it seems pretty unlikely that she ever has to worry about the household bills!
Thankfully, Zhou Qunfei is here to provide us with a quick reprieve from heiresses and socialites. She is the richest self-made woman in the whole world and is worth nearly $10 billion. Qunfei’s mother passed away when she was only five, and she grew up relatively poor. But this clever young woman started her own touchscreen company, called Lens Technology. Now they supply Apple and Samsung with screens, and the 48-year-old entrepreneur is set for life. You can see why she looks so pleased! Well done, Qunfei!
Sandra Ortega Mera
Worth $7.3 billion, Sandra Mera is one of the wealthier women on this list. Like Qunfei, Mera’s mother passed away too - but this heiress was in her forties by this time. Her father is one of the richest people in the world, and as a result, Mera is the wealthiest woman in all of Spain. She has three children and owns the majority holdings in Rosp Corunna, as well as shares in Inditex, which is her father’s clothing company.
China’s richest woman is Yang Huiyan, which is impressive because she is only 37. But wait until you hear about her net worth! It is a whopping $25.8 billion. What on earth does someone do with that much money? We’d like to ask Jeff Bezos the same question. Yang inherited her father’s company, Country Garden Holdings, but is a clever businesswoman in her own right. She made over $2 billion selling shares within the space of four days. All we can say is ‘wow.’
The richest woman in Germany is the heiress of the BMW fortune, Susanne Klatten. Now 56-years-old, she shares an equal stake in the German automobile company with her brother. Her fortune of nearly $20 billion is heavily tainted by her grandfather’s involvement in the Nazi party. Hitler made Günther Quandt Leader of the Defence Economy, and one of Quandt’s factories had an execution area. The businesses he ran during the 1930s supplied arms and munitions to the German war effort, which were produced by those in concentration camps.
Abigail Pierrepont Johnson
Thankfully the Harvard-educated Abigail Johnson has nothing to do with Nazis and is worth $13.7 billion. Her grandfather began Fidelity, which is an enormous multinational asset management company, with a combined customer asset value of over $6 trillion. She has donated to Republican Jeb Bush’s campaign and retains top-level management positions in both Fidelity Investments and Fidelity International.
Daughter of Gisela and Paul Getty, Anna Getty has a total net worth of $2.4 billion. Her father Paul founded Getty Oil Company, which he started with an inheritance from his own father. They were both oil workers, and so it seems almost ironic that Anna has her own eco-focussed health products. Nonetheless, she has a holistic outlook on life and runs well-being nonprofits now, but previously was an actress and yoga instructor.
The daughter of Lebanese businessman Rafik Hariri, Hind is worth over $5 billion dollars. She inherited her father’s wealth like many of the younger billionaires on this list and prefers to keep a low profile. When you learn that her father was killed, it makes a little more sense why she would want to stay out of the spotlight! Hariri is married and has two sons.
Our next heiress is worth nearly $8 billion but doesn’t work for the family business. Her family is the second-richest in all of Canada. Their fortune was amassed through supermarket and bakery chains, and we’re sure that Weston has her relatives to thank for at least some of her wealth. Nonetheless, Weston now works as the deputy chairman of the Selfridges group.
Samantha Kluge is the only biological child of billionaire John Kluge. Her father was once the richest man in America, and her mother was Yolanda Galardo Zucco. She is worth $9.5 billion, which is largely thanks to her father’s TV fortune. Kluge enjoyed partying in her younger days but settled down after having her son.
Are you ready to hear about another heiress who inherited her billionaire status from her father? Meet Georgina Bloomberg, worth $11.5 billion. Her father is Michael Bloomberg, ex-mayor of New York City. Unlike some of the women on this list, Bloomberg is a keen philanthropist and has her own career as a high-profile equestrian.
Can you guess what Christy Walton’s father must have done for her to be worth $22.5 billion? Just kidding! It was her husband’s father who amassed the fortune. Walton is the second-richest woman in the world and is the widow of John Walton, the heir to the Walmart fortune. We’re pleased to say that she is a big philanthropist who likes to give back to society.
Delphine Arnault Gancia
If you thought that $22.5 billion was impressive, wait until you hear about Delphine Arnault Gancia. Her father is the director and vice president of world-renowned luxury lifestyle brand Louis Vuitton. But she isn’t just a pretty face - Delphine is $26 billion and started working for the family business after completing her studies at the London School of Economics.
Vanisha Mittal Bhatia
It isn’t surprising that Vanisha Mittal Bhatia is worth $51 billion at only 35. Her father is the chairman and CEO of one of the largest steel and mining companies in the whole world. Lakshmi N. Mittal will leave her one-third equity in the company ArcelorMittal when he passes on, and surely billions of dollars will come with this too. Maybe she will eventually become the richest woman in the world - who knows!
Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken
There is barely a person in the world that hasn’t heard of Dutch beer giant Heineken. But most people won’t have heard of Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken, who is worth $13.4 billion and has a law degree from the University of Leiden. She currently controls a quarter share of Heineken International and is married to a financier named Michel de Carvalho.
Caroline Hagen Kjos
Caroline Hagen Kjos is worth $2.4 billion according to Forbes and gained most of her wealth from her father Stein Erik Hagen, who founded Norweigan supermarket Rimi in the 1970s with his father. The budget supermarket chain morphed slowly into Canica AS over the years, as Hagen bought and sold stakes in different companies, and Caroline took over the family business. She owns a 97% share of the company and is only 32 years old.
Everyone in Australia knows our next notorious billionaire. Gina Rinehart inherited a three-quarter share of her father’s mining company, Hancock Prospecting. Today she is estimated to be worth $14 billion and remains the chairperson of Hancock. Her father Lang Hancock is known for his scandals, namely, for marrying a maid in his employ who was 39 years his junior.
Dona Bertarelli is a Swiss billionaire with a $4.5 billion fortune inherited from the sale of her family business. The business her family-owned was Serano, and Dona was the Director of Public and Personal Affairs there. In 2016, she sailed around the world, and became the fastest woman ever to do so, which is pretty cool!
Chu Lam Yiu
Our next billionaire has made her money in a super-interesting way! Chu Lam Yiu’s $1.9 billion comes from the flavor and fragrance company Huabao International Holdings, which she founded in 1996. She is only in her 40s and is also a Guangdong member of the Fifth Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Committee. Her company provides flavors and scents for many products, including tobacco, cosmetics, and food.
Princeton graduate Meg Whitman started out at Proctor & Gamble, then moved from Disney to Hasbro. When she became the CEO of eBay, the company really started to get going. Under Whitman’s watchful eye, eBay grew from having only 30 employees to having over 15,000. She also ensured that the company had an international presence, and has an estimated net worth of $2.1 billion.
Internet giant Yahoo is lucky to have Marissa Mayer, who was the first woman to become an engineer at Google. On this Stanford graduate’s watch, Yahoo has purchased Tumblr, and she consistently makes the Fortune lists. Mayer is currently the sixteenth most powerful businesswomen on the planet. Definitely one to watch!
Amy Wyss is another billionaire businesswoman who inherited a great deal of her fortune from her father. He was, of course, the Swiss billionaire Hansjoerg Wyss, and made his money back in the 70s founding medical equipment company Synthes. Amy worked at the company, and when it was sold to Johnson & Johnson in 2012, she profited from the sale of the company. Currently, she is worth around $2 billion.
This 50-year-old businesswoman is worth $1.8 billion and inherited her business from Joe Hardy, who founded 84 Lumber. But she didn’t just sit around and wait for the money to flow. Thanks to Maggie’s business management, the company’s market grew substantially under her leadership. She ensured this growth by working on the company’s relationships with DIY stores like Home Depot and Lowes.
Maria Asuncion Aramburuzabala
Grupo Modelo is probably the biggest beer company in Mexico, and Maria Asuncion Aramburuzabala inherited a huge stake in this company from her father. Maybe you haven’t heard of them, but we’re sure that you know of Corona, the easy-drinking beer enjoyed by millions across the world. Her grandfather co-founded the brewery that originally made this popular drink, and 50% of the company was sold to Anheuser-Busch in 2013.
Speaking of beers, it’s time to wrap up this huge list and raise a glass to the future of women in business. We hope that you’ve enjoyed learning about fifty of the world’s richest women! If you weren’t wowed by their massive fortunes, we’re sure that everyone learned one thing: it really does pay to be born into a rich family. And just as many of these women had parents who shared their riches, we hope that you will share this wealth of information with your friends!