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Is Getting on SI's Cover a Guaranteed Swimsuit-to-Riches Story?

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Victoria’s Secret (NYSE: LTD) execs might disagree but the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue is arguably the sexiest mainstream publication to hit newsstands each year. For the models that land coveted spots, one would think riches and exposure abound, but is that true?

When this year’s two-time cover model, Kate Upton, first made the front of the magazine’s signature issue in 2012, the 19-year-old said on the Today Show that she wanted to follow in the footsteps of former cover girl, Kathy Ireland.

Ireland, whose business interests Forbes values at $350 million, will be hard to emulate but some believe Kate Upton is on track to do just that.

The figures aren’t encouraging to Sports Illustrated models if they’re hoping to make millions this year from the exposure they receive but it might be a way to jumpstart their career. Only one model on the 2012 Forbes 10 highest paid models is a former SI swimsuit model but According to Tony McGinty of AkronNewsNow, many past SI swimsuit cover models have gone onto make millions.

Rachel Hunter, 1994 SI cover girl, is worth $60 million; Heidi Klum, who graced the front of the magazine in 1998, is worth $70 million, and 1979 and 1981 cover girl, Christie Brinkly, (the uptown girl for all of you Billie Joel fans) is worth about $80 million. In 1996, Tyra Banks became the first African-American woman to grace the cover. She is worth $90 million.

Finally, the aforementioned Kathy Ireland, who, according to McGinty, has been dubbed as the “prototype for model-turned-mogul”, earned $200 million in 2012 alone.

History teaches that super-rich super-models aren’t made in a day, or even one issue of a magazine. They become a brand and much like Upton, go on to star in commercials and other ventures or become the first to pose in Antarctica in a bikini. (In case you didn’t notice the background in this year’s cover shot)

Models like Heidi Klum and Tyra Banks earn substantial income from their TV franchises, and many have fragrance and fashion lines.

Kate Upton, who is the “it” girl of models right now, is worth about $2 million. The honor of being the first to be a solo two-time consecutive cover girl since Elle Macpherson only helps to silence the naysayers who say she’s nothing more than a fad.

Macpherson’s estimated worth is pegged at $45 million. Upton’s “future” looks extremely beautiful.

Posted-In: LIMITED BRANDS Sports IllustratedNews Events Success Stories Hot General Best of Benzinga

 

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