Kylie Jenner, Beyoncé And The Highest-Paid Women In Entertainment 2019

For the second time ever, Taylor Swift has sung and danced her way to the top of the annual global Celebrity 100 list of the world’s highest-earning entertainers, making $185 million in the last 12 months.

She’s joined on the list by fellow musicians including Beyoncé (No. 20 on the overall list, $81 million), newcomer Ariana Grande (No. 62, $48 million) and divas boosted by lucrative Las Vegas residencies: Jennifer Lopez (No. 76, $43 million), Lady Gaga (No. 90, $39.5 million) and Celine Dion (No. 100, $37.5 million). 

“I’m never satisfied,” Beyoncé once told Forbes. “I’ve never met anyone that works harder than me in my industry.”

Though the top of this year’s Celebrity 100 is packed with female superstars, only 16 women made the list in total. The imbalance indicates the gender pay gap existing throughout the entertainment industry—whether it be on the field (no female athletes made the cut this year) or on the big screen.

More than half of the highest-paid female celebrities are musicians. On screen, it proves more difficult to break through: only two of the 12 actors on our list are women. Scarlett Johansson’s (No. 47, $56 million) role of Black Widow makes her the top-earning woman in the Marvel Universe. In addition to a salary of about $15 million for Avengers: Endgame, she got a percentage of the film’s estimated $700 million profit. 

Taylor Swift and Kylie Jenner may be the world’s highest-paid celebrities, but only 16 women made the list of the top 100.

Still, she’s the film’s only woman to make the list, compared to five of her male costars. These big-budget films (Endgame’s budget was $356 million) pay actors more upfront and traditionally do better at the box office—meaning a bigger profit which benefits those who have a share of it. But they are more often than not led by men or male ensembles. 

From the small screen, Sofia Vergara (No. 76, $43 million) was the only television actress to make the cut. While her Modern Family salary is substantial (about $550,000 per episode), off-screen gigs make up the bulk of her paycheck. Vergara lends her name and brand to everything from a line of furniture at Rooms to Go to a line of jeans at Walmart.

“Acting was what she loved, but she knew she wasn’t going to make money on it, so her entrepreneurialism kicked in,” Luis Balaguer, Vergara’s manager and business partner, explained to Forbes.

Deals like Vergara’s that allow a celebrity to own a piece of a business—and thus receive a percentage of the profit, rather than a one-time endorsement fee—are a way women on the list are changing the game. Kylie Jenner (No. 2, $170 million) and her half-sister Kim Kardashian West (No. 26, $72 million) both own their cosmetics companies outright, earning them nine-figures and eight-figure checks, respectively. Rihanna (No. 36, $62 million) co-owns the wildly popular Fenty Beauty with luxury goods group LVMH.

“I said, ‘I’m ready to put up my own money. I don’t want to do it with anyone else,’” Jenner told Forbes of starting her own business.

Others own pieces of their own entertainment brands. Ellen DeGeneres (No. 22, $80.5 million), for example, owns more than half of her eponymous talk show. That means she gets a percentage of the profit the show makes from advertising, product placement and syndication. J.K. Rowling (No. 13, $92 million) who kept the rights to her Harry Potter books, earns money for every movie, Broadway show and theme park connected to the popular series.

In recent days, much has been made of the fact that Swift doesn’t own her old master recordings. But as part of her new contract with Republic Records, she’ll have a chance to gain control of her future efforts. Moves like these should help more women gain spots on the Celebrity 100 in the coming years.

Another good sign: the 16 women on this list earned $1.17 billion. Though that’s much less than the $5.09 billion pulled in by the 84 men on the Celebrity 100, it’s quite a bit more per person—an average of $73 million for each woman compared to $60.5 million for each man.

THE HIGHEST-PAID WOMEN IN ENTERTAINMENT 2019

16. Celine Dion: $37.5 million

15. Lady Gaga: $39.5 million

13. Sofia Vergara: $43 million

13. Jennifer Lopez: $43 million

12. Ariana Grande: $48 million

11. Judy Sheindlin: $49 million

10. Scarlett Johansson: $56 million

9. Pink: $57 million

8. Katy Perry: $57.5 million

7. Rihanna: $62 million

6. Kim Kardashian West: $72 million

5. Ellen DeGeneres: $80.5 million

4. Beyoncé: $81 million

3. J.K. Rowling: $92 million

2. Kylie Jenner: $170 million

1. Taylor Swift: $185 million


Source: Beyonce

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