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How Rihanna Created A $600 Million Fortune—And Became The World’s Richest Female Musician

Famous first as a singer, Robyn Rihanna Fenty, age 31, has since evolved into a style icon and makeup entrepreneur—and soon she’ll be the first black woman in charge of a major luxury fashion house. All those efforts add up to a $600 million fortune, making her the wealthiest female musician in the world, ahead of the likes of Madonna ($570 million), Céline Dion ($450 million) and Beyoncé ($400 million).

[Read more | Artist, Icon, Billionaire: How Jay-Z Spun Fame Into A $1 Billion Fortune]

Most of that comes not from music but from her partnership with LVMH, the French luxury goods giant run by billionaire Bernard Arnault. Rihanna (pronounced “Ri-ann-ah,” not “Ri-ah-nah,” as she recently clarified) and LVMH co-own the makeup brand Fenty Beauty. It launched in September 2017 at Sephora, another LVMH brand, and online at FentyBeauty.com, quickly becoming a viral success. Fenty Beauty racked up a reported $100 million in sales in its first few weeks, propelled by Rihanna’s fame and 71 million Instagram followers.

The entire personal care industry in America has grown huge in recent years. According to Grand View Research, it could swell to more than $200 billion in sales by 2025, up from closer to $130 billion in 2016. The market saw a record 134 M&A deals last year, including P&G’s $250 million purchase of 10-year-old First Aid Beauty. Perhaps the most telling data point: 11 of the 80 women on Forbes‘ list of the Richest Self-Made Women made their money in beauty or skin care products. Many did what Rihanna did, turn to the low-cost marketing opportunity presented by social media. That works best for existing celebrities, as Kylie Jenner and her Kylie Cosmetics proved out, who can push their new products at their existing followers.

Fenty Beauty has differentiated itself in another way, releasing 40 shades of foundation, far more than the handful of hues sold by other brands. “It challenged the standard convention that you only needed a very defined set of shades to satisfy a market,” says Stephanie Wissink, a research analyst at Jefferies. “Not only did [Fenty Beauty] achieve meaningful sales, but it potentially changed the industry permanently.”

Sales continue to soar. Fenty Beauty generated an estimated $570 million in revenue last year, after only 15 months in business. The entire operation is worth, conservatively, more than $3 billion. Forbes estimates thatLVMH owns an estimated 50% of it, while Rihanna has about 15%, a figure a spokesperson for the artist disputed but wouldn’t clarify further.

The Barbados native, who overcame hardships including an abusive addict father and a well-publicized assault by then-boyfriend Chris Brown in 2009, also co-owns the Savage X Fenty lingerie line with Los Angeles-based online fashion firm TechStyle Fashion Group and has millions in earnings from her career touring and releasing as a singer, which make up the rest of her fortune.

Her empire continues to grow. In May, LVMH and Rihanna announced Fenty, a new clothing house that will make high-end clothes, shoes, accessories and jewelry.

“They extended the offer to me and it was a no-brainer because LVMH is a machine,” Rihanna told The New York Times Style Magazine. “Bernard Arnault was so enthusiastic; he trusted me and my vision.”

The fashion line, which launched online in May, includes sizes up to U.S. 14, embodying the same inclusive ideal of Fenty Beauty. It will exist under the same umbrella as famous brands such as Dior and Givenchy, marking LVMH’s first new house in more than 30 years.

“What Fenty Beauty did to beauty, Fenty lifestyle is going to do to fashion,” says Wissink. “It’s going to raise the bar for what it looks like to build a brand that’s inclusive, game changing, global and iconic.”

Inset photographs: Getty Images

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I’m an associate editor at Forbes covering media and entertainment, with a focus on the movie business.

Source: How Rihanna Created A $600 Million Fortune—And Became The World’s Richest Female Musician

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Meet The Indian-American Host Of Netflix’s STEM Series ‘Brainchild’

Netflix’s new show Brainchild offers a refreshing take on science “edutainment,” but with a twist: The lead is a woman of color.

In the 13-episode first season, released November 2018, the show’s Indian-American host, Sahana Srinivasan, explores STEM-focused topics, ranging from the science of selfies to the rationale behind the widely held “five-second-rule.” Created in partnership with hip-hop mogul Pharrell Williams, the show features a diverse cast that’s intended to appeal to girls and minorities.

Srinivasan, 22, understands the gravity of her highly visible role, one in which she discusses STEM, a field where women and people of color have historically been scarce.

“It’s important, at a young age, to see a role model who looks like you, especially for kids who want to go into STEM,” she says. “When people don’t see themselves represented, they think, ‘What’s the point of even trying?’ and it becomes a cyclical thing with no real progress.”

Mounting evidence suggests that early exposure to STEM drives continued interest into adulthood. As a result, minority on-screen representation can have a strong impact on how children view their future career prospects.

Thanks to the success of Hollywood blockbusters and television programs that feature diverse casts, representation of women and minorities in leading roles has increased over the years. Yet these communities remain underrepresented in media across the board, according to the 2019 Hollywood Diversity report released by UCLA. Though minorities constitute nearly 40% of the U.S. population, they represent roughly 21% of broadcast scripted leads, cable scripted leads and digital scripted leads.

With STEM-forward shows, in particular, women of color leads are few and far between. The two most renowned science education shows for children, Bill Nye the Science Guy and Beakman’s World, feature older white men; popular cartoons like Dexter’s Laboratory and Jimmy Neutron follow the adventures of white, boy-genius inventors; and science-oriented sitcoms geared to adults, such as  Silicon Valley and Big Bang Theory, have white, male leads. When women and people of color are introduced, they often adhere to clichéd cultural tropes, such as the nerdy, virginal Asian-American male or the socially awkward, unattractive female.

Indian-American actress Sahana Srinivasan stars in the Netflix original series Brainchild.”Atomic Entertainment

Relatability is at the heart of Brainchild, Srinivasan says, and her depiction on the show is very much intentional. She eschews the conventional white lab coat in favor of quirky hipster glasses, bold lipstick colors and a changing array of hairstyles—sometimes pigtails, sometimes an updo. The same goes for her castmates, who sport hoodies, skinny jeans and afros.

“A show like this reminds people that science is pretty cool, and it’s not at all nerdy or lame to be curious about these topics,” Srinivasan says. “It tells kids that you don’t have to embody this specific version of what a scientist or researcher should look like.”

http://www.forbes.com/video/6023955335001/

Still in college—she’s a senior at the University of Texas at Austin, studying radio, television and film—Srinivasan wants to dismantle the conventional idea that art and science are mutually exclusive. When she was growing up in Dallas, she took part in local talent shows and performed skits, comedy routines and classical Indian dances. But she never saw STEM fields as a viable career option. “I was so focused on the creative endeavors that I thought that’s all I’ll ever be able to do,” Srinivasan says. “And it’s totally a myth and not true.”

Initially, Srinivasan didn’t realize the impact her role could have on young women of color—and indeed was concerned about being pigeonholed because of her ethnic background and gender. “The show doesn’t really stereotype me. The fact that I’m quirky, funny and passionate stands out more than the fact that I’m Indian and a woman,” she says. But for fans of the show, its diverse representation serves as a source of inspiration, both in the arts and in science. “The feedback, especially from young girls of color, has been awesome,” Srinivasan says. “The cast is very much a true reflection of what we see in real life.”

I’m a reporter covering the various aspects of diversity and inclusion in business and society at large. Previously, I was a reporter at CNBC, where I focused on leader

Source: Meet The Indian-American Host Of Netflix’s STEM Series ‘Brainchild’

The World’s Highest-Paid Actresses 2018: Scarlett Johansson Steals The Spotlight With $40.5 Million – Natalie Robehmed

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Move over Emma Stone, Tinseltown has a new highest-paid actress. Scarlett Johansson leads this year’s ranking with $40.5 million in pretax earnings between June 1, 2017 and June 1, 2018, making her acting’s top-earning female lead.

Playing Black Widow in Marvel’s Avengers movies has become a lucrative role for Johansson, who quadruples her 2017 earnings to bump Stone from No. 1. She’ll return onscreen for the fourth installment of the superhero conglomerate series in 2019.

“The percent of budget cost have certainly skewed heavy, particularly on the Avengers movies, to cast now, whereas maybe in the early ones it was more visual effects or below the line,” said Kevin Feige, Marvel Studios President and producer last year. “But that’s okay because [the actors] are the best effects.”

Johansson edges Angelina Jolie (No. 2; $28 million) who returns to the ranking thanks largely to her upfront pay for Maleficent 2. Jennifer Aniston (No. 3; $19.5 million) still earns big bucks 14 years after the conclusion of Friends, making most of her money by endorsing the likes of Emirates airlines, Smartwater and Aveeno. Expect her paycheck to skyrocket next year when production begins on her forthcoming Apple series with Reese Witherspoon (No. 5; $16.5 million), for which the pair will receive an estimated $1.25 million an episode.

Just ahead of Witherspoon, who rejoins the list with movie earnings and Big Little Lies paychecks, is Jennifer Lawrence. The Hunger Games actress’ two most recent movies, Mother! and Red Sparrow, underperformed at the box office. But she still commands big bucks for her turns in the X-Men series and a high-paying Dior contract.

Together, the world’s 10 highest-paid actresses tallied a combined $186 million between June 1, 2017, and June 1, 2018, before fees and taxes. Earnings estimates are based on data from Nielsen, ComScore, Box Office Mojo and IMDB, as well as interviews with industry insiders. All figures are pretax; fees for agents, managers and lawyers are not deducted. Overall, the cumulative total is up 16% from $172.5 million in 2017.

The list examined actresses the world over, including Australian Cate Blanchett (No. 8; $12.5 million) and Israeli Gal Gadot (No. 10; $10 million). Gadot, whose turn as Wonder Woman catapulted her to fame, is the only newcomer on the ranking. The Patty Jenkins-directed blockbuster tallied $821.8 million at the box office and scored a sequel, which accounts for the majority of Gadot’s payday this year. Though she only made an estimated six figures for the first installment, her increased quote, coupled with a Revlon endorsement, launched her among the highest-paid.

“There was such an obsession in the industry that teenage boys were the primary target box office,” said Jenkins, who helmed the smash hit and will be directing and writing its sequel for an estimated $7 million. “The industry has had a hard time shifting to acknowledging that they need to hit a more diverse audience.”

Currently, female characters fill only 28.7% of all speaking roles in film, according to a 2016 study. That lack of roles means that there are fewer opportunities for female stars to earn big bucks. This year, only two women broached the $20 million mark, down from three in 2017 and four in 2016. Notably absent: Amy Adams, Emma Watson, Charlize Theron and last year’s top-ranked Emma Stone, who all failed to earn above the $10 million cut off for this year’s list and dropped off the ranking.

Roles for women who are no longer young ingenues are few and far between. Yet the highest-paid actresses buck that trend: 60% of this year’s list members are over the age of 40. Some have forged their own roles to build opportunities for themselves: Witherspoon cofounded her Pacific Standard production company and Hello Sunshine media house to option rights for female-led parts. Others, like Aniston, supplement acting income with hefty endorsement deals.

 

 

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