US unemployment might still be hovering near 10 percent, but don’t worry too much about the supermodels.
The world’s 10 top-earning models pulled in a collective US$112 million during the past year, a 30 percent increase from the previous year, thanks in part to consumers spending again on the luxury sector, according to Forbes.com.
But most of the increase went to the big three of the modeling world, Gisele Bundchen, Heidi Klum and Kate Moss, who have molded themselves into moguls in their own right, or morphed into pop icons, or both.
Bundchen, who raked in US$45 million or nearly double the previous year, is “in a class by herself,” Edward Razek, Limited Brands’ chief marketing officer who worked with her during her Victoria’s Secret career, told Forbes. “She’s an international icon who can also move products from shampoo to couture.”
Klum added US$20 million to her empire by continuing her evolution from model to businesswoman, adding a clothing line and a new children’s show to her successful run with the reality series Project Runway.
Moss has similarly fashioned herself a double-barreled career, to the tune of US$13.5 million last year, owing to a host of modeling and designing gigs including a lucrative design deal with the British fashion brand TopShop.
In other celebrity news, the Simon Wiesenthal Center has given an award to megastar actor Tom Cruise at a gala ceremony which also honored the foreman of the Chilean miners trapped underground for two months last year.
The celebrity Scientologist was lauded “for his longtime, consistent and substantial support” of the Los Angeles-based center named after Nazi-hunter Wiesenthal, and its Museum of Tolerance.
“For many years now, I have been a supporter of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Museum of Tolerance,” said Cruise, receiving the Center’s Humanitarian Award on Thursday night. “I have taken my family to the museum so they could experience firsthand not only man’s capacity for good, but the tragic story of man’s inhumanity to man.”
And he added: “Our challenge, ladies and gentlemen, is to make sure that we do all in our power to see to it that there will be no more Auschwitz-Birkenaus, no more Rwandas, no more Darfurs on our planet.
The Wiesenthal Center also presented a Medal of Valor to Luis Alberto Urzua, the foreman of the 33 trapped Chilean miners whose calm leadership guided the men through their 69-day ordeal from Aug. 5 to Oct. 13 last year.
Moving on to family affairs, former Beatle Paul McCartney is engaged to New York socialite Nancy Shevell, his girlfriend of nearly four years, his publicist said Friday.
It will be the 68-year-old pop legend’s third marriage.
His first wife, Linda McCartney, died from breast cancer in 1998 and he then wed ex-model Heather Mills in 2002 before divorcing her in 2008.
“We’re all thrilled for him,” McCartney’s spokesman Stuart Bell said, confirming the engagement but giving no further details.
Mills and McCartney’s marriage ended in a bitter divorce.
She was awarded US$48 million in an accord finally hammered out after acrimonious negotiations.
McCartney married Mills in a lavish ceremony in Ireland in June 2002, four years after Linda, a photographer and animal rights campaigner, died from breast cancer.
Singer Mariah Carey, who gave birth last week to boy and girl twins, announced on her Web site Wednesday that she has chosen the names Moroccan and Monroe for the infants.
In a statement, the music star said that she and husband Nick Cannon named their newborn son after the Moroccan Room — the top floor of the New York apartment where he proposed to her, and which has Moroccan-inspired decor.
Daughter Monroe “was named after Marilyn Monroe, who has been an inspiration to Mariah her whole life,” the statement said.
The pop diva has long been fascinated with Monroe: She bought the Hollywood icon’s white piano from Christie’s auction house, and has written into her will that the piano will one day go to the Smithsonian museum.
Carey announced last October that she was pregnant.
She revealed that she had had a miscarriage two years earlier, which explained her reluctance to go public early on in the pregnancy.
“It has been a long, emotional journey for this family, and I couldn’t be happier for all of them,” said her publicist, Cindi Berger, in the statement.
Carey and Cannon, a rap artist and actor, married in the Bahamas in April 2008. It was the second marriage for Carey, whose five-year union to legendary music producer Tony Mottola ended in divorce in 1998.
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