When we think of celebrities and businesses, our minds tend to go to their role in advertisements for major companies or their contribution to non-profit initiatives. However, it’s increasingly common for celebrities to start their own businesses, some of which became extremely successful over the years thanks to the founder’s entrepreneurial spirit and their understanding of the power of marketing.
Here are ten celebrities who achieve success beyond their role as actors, singers, or media personalities.
Rihanna is one of the most popular singers of our time, and most of us know the titles of her biggest hits. Forbes estimates her current personal wealth at $1.7 billion. However, fewer know that most of her financial success is due to her incredibly profitable cosmetics business, Fenty Beauty. This brand was launched in 2017, and it is currently valued at more than 3 billion. Rihanna understood the importance of being heavily associated with everything that is connected to her name.
#2 Jessica Alba
Known for her role in the Fantastic Four franchise and movies like Honey and Sin City, Jessica Alba is also an extremely successful businesswoman. Talking to CNBC, she explained how many people questioned her choice when she first branched out into business. At 29, she founded The Honest Company, a non-toxic household goods company in which she also serves as a chief creative officer. Today, the company is valued at around $550 million, and it reinvests 2% of its annual revenues to ensure the safety and functionality of its products, the two things its target audience values the most.
#3 Ryan Reynolds
Ryan Reynolds is known for being a very versatile actor, who is able to deliver amazing performances in both dramas and comedy movies. However, he is also a very talented entrepreneur whose marketing skills may even surpass his mastery as an actor. In addition to owning a significant share in Aviation Gin (the second largest premium gin brand in the US), he is also co-owner of British soccer team Wrexham A.F.C and majority owner of Mint Mobile, a company that offers quality cell phones and internet connection while helping customers lower their phone bills. As if it wasn’t enough, he is also one of the leading entrepreneurs behind the digital marketing and movie production company Maximum Effort. Ryan stands out for his skill and ingenuity in leveraging his fame and creativity to build his investments. He has redefined the art of marketing, captivating audiences with advertisements that demand a second glance.
#4 Robert De Niro
We all know and love Robert De Niro for his long list of amazing performances in some of the greatest movies of the last four decades. However, the American actor is also a very successful entrepreneur who managed to build a business empire of $1 billion. In 1994, he co-founded the original Nobu restaurant with chef Nobu Matsuhisa, which is currently available at several locations nationwide. The Nobu chain also features eight luxury hotels. He realized the potential of Nobu’s first restaurant in LA and channeled it toward building a hospitality empire.
#5 Jaden Smith
The son of superstars Will Smith and Jada Pinket Smith, Jaden is not only a talented actor himself but also the founder of Just Water, an eco-conscious beverage brand that is both successful in its market and contributes to helping the environment. Jaden made all the right moves when it came to targeting environmentally-friendly audiences. The company’s cardboard water bottle is all made with a carton that is 90% derived from plant-derived materials. These bottles also help cut emissions by shipping the cartons in flat rolls, which allows a single truck to transport 1.5 million cartons. Water is also sustainably sourced and bottled in a way that reduces wastes of both water and energy.
#6 Alicia Keys
Another great singer of our generation, and a multiple grammy award winner, Alicia Keys, is also a very talented businesswoman. She owns both the skincare brand Keys Skincare and the athletic clothing company Athleta. One of the reasons behind her business success, it’s her ability to leverage empowerment and diversity, which allowed her to effectively connect with audiences that don’t always feel authentically represented by other mainstream brands.
#7 Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez is one of the most popular singers of this generation and has also starred in numerous movies. On top of that, she is also a committed entrepreneur in the beauty industry. Back in 2020, she launched Rare Beauty, a brand that successfully uses messages of acceptance and empowerment to reach its target market. Remarkably, she managed to launch this business during the Covid-19 pandemic, which wasn’t exactly the best moment for companies and brands worldwide. By cleverly expanding its product range and developing the right partnership, Rare Beauty has been growing steadily over the last two years.
#8 Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is one of the most shining examples of a self-made woman. Two of her most successful ventures are Harpo Productions, a multimedia company, and O, The Oprah Magazine. In a college commencement speech, she explains that the secret of her success is the power of service: finding what you’re unique to and building your business path in service of that.
#9 Ashton Kutcher
Known for his role in countless sitcoms and comedies, Ashton Kutcher is also an accomplished entrepreneur and investor. Back in 2010, he founded a venture-capital firm and managed to turn $30 million into $250 million by betting on tech companies like Skype, Uber, and Airbnb. Five years later, he also founded Sound Ventures, a company that invests in financial technology companies that are in the early stage of their growth phase. Ashton considers three key factors when investing in a company: the founders’ likability and willingness to collaborate with him and his team, a mission statement that’s focused on simplifying or enhancing productivity, and a business framework that can gain from his input.
#10 Dwayne Johnson
In addition to being the highest-paid actor at the moment, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson could also successfully leverage his role and position as a cultural leader to achieve success in numerous industries, from investing in the XFL (professional football league) and securing the ability to optioning live entertainment intellectual properties for further expansions across sports to founding Teremana tequila and achieving the fastest growth in the spirits industry by creating a premium Tequila at prices that everybody can access.