Navigating the jungle of the entertainment world is a challenge all its own. There are media appearances, promotional obligations, studio/record label contracts, and millions upon millions of fans all demanding your attention. Taxingas all that is, some women have made the transition from celebrity to businesswomen, augmenting their entertainment abilities with a corporate nous, ensuring that their 15 minutes of fame becomes a lifetime. Here are five women conquering pop culture and the boardroom.
A long time ago, Beyonce Knowles was a member of R&B group Destiny’s Child. Today, she’s a franchise. Despite the group’s Grammy wins and success, Beyonce went through a period of depression due to interpersonal conflicts and her then-boyfriend leaving her. She rediscovered herself in acting and a wildly successful solo career. Her marriage to rapper Jay-Z cemented her pop culture domination, but that was just the beginning.
Starting in 2002, Beyonce signed promotional deals that saw her share camera time with other celebrities such as Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez and David Beckham. She’s launched her own line of fragrances, and inked an endorsement deal with Pepsi worth $50 million. In 2005, she created a foundation to support victims of Hurricane Katrina. With her mother, she opened a cosmetology center to raise funds for victims of the 2010 Haitian earthquake.
2. Jennifer Lopez
In 1986, Jennifer Lopez had a minor role in the film My Little Girl. Her parents were disappointed in her ensuing interest in entertainment, but in 2001, she became the first woman to have a number one album (J.Lo) and film (The Wedding Planner) in the same week. She has broken records on the Billboard album chart, records for female singers, and records for Hispanic entertainers: she has sold over 75 million albums, and her films have grossed over $2 billion.
Lopez was chosen to be the global ambassador for L’Oreal Paris, representing the brand in its global ventures. A similar deal with Venus tied in with Lopez’s love of charity work, donating money to advancing the prospects of impoverished Hispanic children. She launched her own fragrance in 2011, selling 51,000 bottles and making almost $3 million. Later that year, she started a clothing & accessories line, and a separate line for home accessories. Fiat, the Italian car manufacturer, signed Lopez on for promotional deals. She has also produced television shows, reality TV shows, and movies in which she has featured.
3. Oprah Winfrey
Starting a talk show on television is one thing, but becoming a billionaire and being ranked by TIME magazine as the most influential woman in the world is another. Born into poverty, she revolutionized the talk show format, providing a more intimate and honest format than the salacious and sensationalist style of her peers. After The Oprah Winfrey Show went national and generated astronomical figures, Winfrey negotiated an ownership stake in the show and started her own production company. Based on a Forbes’ magazine estimate, Winfrey would be worth approximately $3 billion today.
She has launched a film production company, authored her own books, publishes magazines, has her own radio channel, and coordinates her empire with a website that receives 6 million views a month.
Kim Kardashian netted tons of bad publicity for her sex tape and scandalously quick marriage, but rehabilitated her image with successful business ventures, such as launching clothing and fragrance lines. Co-founding the online shoe retailer ShoeDazzle, and signing on as a fashion consultant and stylist, opened Kim Kardashian up to a new audience and demographic, one that has also seen her endorse a Los Angeles-based confectionary.
Furthermore, she’s launched a fitness DVD, landed a role in a television series, and hosted Wrestlemania XXIV and America’s Next Top Model. She’s produced TV shows, authored an autobiography and launched her own fragrance line.
5. Serena Williams
Playing sports is a dream most of us have when we’re children, but only a woman like Serena Williams could have taken her dreams beyond the courts and into the boardroom. Critically regarded as one of the best tennis players of all time, she’s won over $40 million in prize money alone and dozens of titles and championships.
Outside of tennis, Williams has fashion lines with Nike and her own line of accessories and jewelry. She and her twin sister Venus became part owners of the Miami Dolphins franchise and created a secondary school in Matooni, Kenya. She’s authored books and became the first female sports woman to endorse Tampax.