Forbes released its annual list of the world's highest-paid models for 2017 on Tuesday, and the ranking proves that it's been a truly game-changing year for the industry. First, a major dethroning: Between 2002 and 2016, Gisele Bundchen held the number-one slot as the highest-paid model year after year — but for 2017, Kendall Jenner ousted her, bringing in $22 million, as compared to Bundchen's $17.5 million. Jenner's first appearance on the list was in 2015, when she raked in $4 million. Forbes credits Jenner's 85 million Instagram followers as a major boon for her career that no doubt led to many of her brand partnerships (with, for example, Estée Lauder, La Perla and Adidas) and skyrocketing success.
Another exciting development from this year's list is that model and activist Ashley Graham has become the first curve model to ever rank — albeit in the number 10 slot — with $5.5 million in earnings. The key factors that helped Graham finally break through included the launch of her own lines for Dressbarn, Addition Elle and Swimsuits For All, as well as her campaigns for the likes of H&M and Lane Bryant.
Bella Hadid also made her debut appearance on the list, with $6 million in earnings landing her in the ninth spot. Her sister Gigi made the cut for the second year in a row, with $9.5 million in earnings placing her at number five. Beauty deals proved to be important revenue streams for most of the models on the list, including Bella (who partnered with Dior Beauty and Nars), Gigi (who teamed up with Maybelline), Liu Wen (who ranked at number eight and fronts campaigns for Estée Lauder), Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (tied with Gigi for number five, thanks to deals with Burberry fragrance, Moroccanoil and her own cosmetics line) and Adriana Lima (number four, a face of the Marc Jacobs fragrance).
Notably missing from the list — perhaps not-so-shockingly, given the ongoing conversation about the need for more diversity in the industry — are women of color. Wen and Chrissy Teigen (number three) are the only nonwhite models to have made the list, and Graham remains the first and only curve model to have done so. It's encouraging to see first-timers breaking through, yes, but the list serves as just one more reminder that model diversity needs to become more of a priority. Here's looking at you, 2018.