Even female celebrities can’t get paid as much as their male counterparts, despite making significantly more (mostly unwanted) appearances in gossip magazines and having their weight, marriage and pregnancy status continually questioned.
While Taylor Swift took out the top spot in the FORBES Celebrity 100 list, earning almost a quarter of a billion Australian dollars ($226 million) over the last 12 months, she was the only woman to feature in the top five and just one of 15 women across the full list, down from 16 the year before.
Perhaps I was naïve to think this would be the one Forbes list where women would out-earn men or at least be up there in equal numbers. I thought that given our obsession with every aspect of the lives of female celebrities – from what they’re eating, to where they holiday, the size of their breasts and how they parent – that they’d at least be taking home more money at the end of the week for their efforts.
Indeed, in proving women still sell magazines, Forbes put Kim Kardashian on its July edition covering the list. It called her one of the “new mobile moguls”, with a cover line promising to explain “how anyone with a following can cash in.” Kardashian largely did it with an app, which has been downloaded more than 45 million times. She earned US$51 million over the past 12 months according to Forbes, giving her the 42nd spot on the Celebrity 100 list.
(Here’s multi-million dollar personal finance guru Suze Orman on the importance of valuing your own self worth, no matter what you earn.)
One Direction took the second spot on the list behind Swift, followed by author James Patterson, TV guy Dr Phil McGraw, and Christiano Ronaldo.
The only other woman to feature in the top 10 is musician Adele, with reported earnings of US$80.5 million. Madonna took out the 12th spot, with US$76.5 million, Ellen DeGeneres the 13th spot and Rihanna the 13th spot.
The high number of sporting stars, including soccer and basketball players, made it somewhat difficult for the women to compete, as did Hollywood’s continued gender pay gap.
As a female celebrity, it seems making movies or music, or even selling apps about every aspects of your life, is not enough when it comes to competing with the earnings of men. You also need to be doing added endorsements. For Swift, that involved appearances in campaigns for Diet Coke, Keds and Apple.