- Celebrities With Major Business Empires
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A side hustle is loosely defined as: a job or occupation that brings in extra money beyond one’s regular job and main source of income. To the average Joe, Jane and Janelle, your side hustle might be teaching an online class, running a clothing business, lifestyle influencer or other but did you know celebs also pursue side hustles? A lot and I mean A LOT of celebrities have diversified and still diversifying their portfolios outside of the craft that thrusted them into the spotlight and made them known to a larger audience. We can perhaps look at the late Paul Newman as one of the OGs that had success in his side hustle beyond the movie screen. His line of salad dressings, something he initially started to freely gift neighbors, is now a multi-million business that has other products under the label and donated to so many charitable organizations. Kathy Ireland before her intimates apparel were found in stores, was a model. These celebrities came on the scene and into our worlds as artists, actors, and now their ventures continue to help them rake in the dough big time. We list below, the celebrities whose current side hustles has been so successful it has *almost* eclipsed their main gig be it acting, singing, producing or what have you that we’ve come to know them for like Rihanna of Fenty Beauty.
Actor George Clooney first stole our hearts many years ago on the television show ER. Clooney has gone on to really hone in that leading man energy, won many industry awards, fronted a few luxury commercials with big paychecks, and married a BFD gorgeous Human Rights Lawyer Amal but its his tequila side hustle that has us calling him Mr. $$$$Bags. Clooney along with his business partners Rande Gerber (aka Cindy Crawford’s husband) and Mike Meldman sold their Casamigos Tequila brand, founded in 2013, to Diageo in 2017 for a reported $700 million up front and a further potential US$300 million based on the brand’s performance over the next 10 years. Casamigos was born initially as a quest for the perfect tequila they wanted to drink and as Clooney stated in an interview, to “make a fine tequila you didn’t have to cover u with salt or lime…create the best-tasting, smoothest tequila on the market.” The friends quest brought in a third partner, real estate tycoon Mike Meldman. As Clooney was the face of Casamigos, Gerber the creative running things, Meldman was the connections guy. As Meldman told Business Insider, since selling the Casamigos to Diageo, “We have money to do things we couldn’t do before… Since we sold to Diageo we doubled our sales.”
The youngest of Kris Jenner’s children, is sitting on a beauty empire reportedly worth over $500 million. Kylie of the Kardashian/Jenner clan, came onto the scene with their reality TV show on E titled “Keeping up with the Kardashians.” It was from that show experience that her business was born. She admitted to insecurity with her lips, went on to get lip fillers which she initially denied then later on copped to, then she launched her lip line. The business has since grown to include other products and partnerships. The brand got so popular that she tried to TM the name from the OG Kylie Minogue. Coty came calling with an offer of $600 million for a controlling take which was announced in 202. Many now know Kylie Jenner as the founder of the Kylie beauty line and not just a member of the “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.”
The Disney alum actually got her start on Barney & Friends. Selena Gomez rose to prominence starring as the lead on the Disney television series Wizards of Waverly Place. This led to other big screen and television roles as well as a music career and at one time, a highly publicized on-off relationship with Justin Bieber. She was also the most followed person on Instagram at some point. Through this span of her career, she’s won awards, named Influential person and even executive produced some gigs but it’s the beauty side hustle that really has our attention. Selena Gomez launched Rare Beauty in 2020 and its products and mission has received many accolades from the industry. The beauty brand is shade inclusive and one of the things that sets this “celeb” beauty brand apart is that it also launched the Rare Impact Fund, with aims to raise $100 million for mental health services over the next 10 years.
“Rare Beauty is really about flipping that narrative and accepting what makes you unique and accepting your imperfections…We believe that makeup is something to enjoy, not something that you need.”
The actor Ryan Reynolds has been gracing our screens since what seems like forever but like the guy never ages, have you noticed that? Ryan the Canadian-American hearthrob first got on our mainstream radar starring in Two Guys and a Girl and other hits including Van Wilder, Life, Definitely Maybe, Green Lantern, Blade: Trinity, Deadpool to name a few. Reynolds is an award winning, Grammy nominated entertainer, husband, dad and recently he’s also put on the entrepreneur hat with a few side hustles actually that’s proving to be well thought success investments. Aviation Gin was the first big one and he’s gone on to be the face of the alcohol brand. Two years after the the company was acquired, it was sold to Diageo. Then in 2019 it was announced Reynolds would be taking a stake in telecom company Mint Mobile and most recently bought Welsh soccer club Wrexham A.F.C. with Rob McElhenney.
Although she had been acting from a young age, her role in the Drew Barrymore film Never Been Kissed really put her on the map and she grew to dominate television and the big screen. Alba was oft cast in the sexy roles like in Robert Rodriguez’s but like they say, judge a book not by its cover or questionable dance moves like those she displayed in her starring role in Honey. Jessica Alba, alongside Brian Lee, Sean Kane, and Christopher Gavigan founded The Honest Company in 2011 and launched in 2012. Since then the consumer goods brand with offerings for baby, home and beauty, has grown in valuation and recognition. The Honest company is now worth about $550 million where Alba serves as chief creative officer. According to filings made public prior to the company’s public listing on Nasdaq, Alba ‘s 2,822,559 shares or 6.7% of the total prior to the offering was valued at close to
nearly $130 million.
SEAN “DIDDY” “LOVE” COMBS
Can’t stop, won’t stop is just not the name of one of the many catalogue of songs by the one and only Sean Combs but it seems to be his motto when it comes to his business interests as well as Chairman and CEO of Combs Enterprises. His enterprise now consists of a diverse portfolio of businesses and investments covering the music, fashion, fragrance, beverage, marketing, film, television, and media industries. His start in the music industry and introduction to mainstream media, has been well documented from his time at Howard University to interning at the time Uptown Records. He worked and learned under L.A Reid. Soon he launched his own record label imprint Bad Boy Records. Music from Bad Boy and its artists dominated the 90s airwaves. Then Sean the known brandsman and businessman kicked in gear launching Sean Jean clothing an urban streetwear with luxury aspirations. Several other business interests an awards came to fruition and then in 2007, the partnership with Diageo really catapulted his already high net worth. He inked a strategic alliance deal to oversee and manage all branding and marketing initiatives for Ciroc Vodka. He later went on to acquire DeLeon tequila. Sean Combs’s Net Worth is estimated to be over $930 Million.
You might know Victoria Beckham as mum to Brooklyn, Romoe, Cruz and Harper; or perhaps know her as the wife of David Beckham or its from her modern sexy fashion brand. OG’s got introduced to her as Posh Spice of the Spice Girls and theu truly dominated both the charts and pop culture during their reign. Posh was revered for her fashion sense and she parlayed this into the Victoria Beckham brand. The brand was founded in 2008 and they’ve gone on to dress some remarkable modern women. The brand with a flagship in Mayfair and sold in 250 stores in 52 countries worldwide, produces ready-to-wear clothing, leather goods, eyewear, shoes, and in 2018 launched Victoria Beckham Beauty.
Listen, if Queen Beyonce dominated the music game til forever, it will be enough but she’s not one to settle for just one thing. The already multi-hyphenate singer/actress/dancer/Entertainment company label owner/mom/wife is also a successful entrepreneur. Early in her career post Destiny’s Child, she struck out on a fashion line with her mother Tina Lawson (at the time Knowles), called House of Dereon. The line was good but due to a few factors closed shop. She opened Parkwood Entertainment. Then she launched IVY PARK, initially with Sir Philip Green’s Topshop but then moved the brand to a partnership with Adidas which has been well received. Her IVY Park drops are highly anticipated and even more so the press drops that a select few celebs and influencers receive.
ROBERT DE NIRO
An epic and legendary career in front of the camera is what many of us attribute to Robert De Niro but did you know his business sense outside of the big screen is one of note as well. Most famously he is partner in the Nobu group which was founded in 1994 alongside master sushi chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa and Meir Teper. The venture has been one spanning five continents and in some cases set the bar for luxury lifestyle in the hotel hospitality industry. As of 2018, it was reported that Nobu Hospitality LLC is valued at USD$1 Billion. In 2003, De Niro founded Tribeca Enterprises which includes the Tribeca Film Festival. We may not see him much on the big screen but Robersons De Niro continues to excel off screen. As of 2022, Robert De Niro has amassed a $500 million fortune through his acting credits and business endeavors.
The Jessica Simpson as a singer/actress era was a vibe, to be honest. Chart topping popstar with Christian roots, dates then marries a chart topping boy band member, they got an MTV reality show where she gave Chicken of the Sea the biggest and best advert they didn’t pay for. Simpson launched her fashion brand growing it into a billion-dollar business before a majority stake was acquired by. The company though recently filed for bankruptcy and Simpson now married to former NFL player with 3 kids, noted she bought back her company.
Who knew Gwyneth Paltrow had Martha Stewart-esq aspirations all those years she was starring in the big screen movies, accepting Oscar in a beautiful custom Ralph Lauren gown dating Brad Pitt. She founded GOOP and its been sayonara big screen ever since. The lifestyle concept’s launched in 2008 has help spur a handful of wellness focused sites and new age products. She’s received reviews and criticism for some of the content like jade vaginal “eggs,” $75 “This Smells Like My Vagina” candle, and claims made by Goop. Goop has now branched into making its own beauty and wellness products as well as IRL events making it a $250 million valued brand.
Actor, architecture enthusiast, philanthropist and you can add entrepreneur to that list as well. We first glimpsed Brad Pitt’s entrepreneurial side with the launch of Plan B Entertainment a production company that’s produced some award winning films, in 2001. Then Château Miraval Rose in 2013, still one of the highest selling Provence Rose on the market. At the time the Miraval venture was a partnership with him, then wife Angelina Jolie and Famille Perrin; they’ve since parted ways but Pitt still owns his stake in the company and Château Miraval has launched other best selling products. Brad Pitt has now dipped his interests into the wellness category first with Enroot, an alcohol free beverage brand co-founded with Cris Patwa and John Fogelman. Recently, Pitt announced his gender-neutral skincare line, Le Domaine.
There’s an interview where Kim Kardashian, admitted they agreed to do Keeping Up with The Kardashians to promote their fashion store at the time Dash and that ladies and gentlemen is how the Kardashians became pop culture icons and known faces we see everywhere today. Kim started out as assistant, famously for Paris Hilton before blowing on the screens from that infamous tape with co-star Ray J. Kardashian has since flipped that 15 minutes to a reported net worth of $1.8 billion. She had some business stints through their KUWTK journey but it wasn’t until KKW Beauty and Skims that she really landed on the successful business map. KKW sold 20% of its stake to beauty giant Coty in 2020 and rebranded in 2022 to SKKN by Kim. Her biggest venture almost got derailed by the name chosen for the brand. What is now known as Skims was initially pitched as a shape wear brand called Kimono, something that angered A LOT of people for the audacity to ultural appropriation. They changed the name and Skims is one of the best selling shape wear, loungewear brands even collaborating with high end luxury companies.
Its a hard knock life but Jay Z. born Shaw Carter, has risen from that to be one of the most successful rap/hip-hop artists turned businessman. These days you rarely see him dropping albums unless he’s making features something he says he does when asked, but he’s making major money moves behind the scene. The first major foray was his record label which then grew to include athlete management and fashion. Then the debut of the 40/40 club. Back in 2006, an executive for Cristal made an off-handed disrespectful comment to the question of how he felt seeing rappers drink the champagne in their videos to which he responded “That’s a good question, but what can we do?”“We can’t forbid people from buying it. I’m sure Dom Pérignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business.” And the was one of what motivated him to get involved with Armand de Brignac, later on buying it from Sovereign Brands. He also owns music platform Tidal and is the Creative Director at Puma. In 2021 he announced a strategic 50/50 partnership with LVMH Moët Hennessy for Armand de Brignac. Now cementing billionaire status, he’s walking the talk as he once famously rapped, “I’m not a business man, I’m a business MAN!”
MARY KATE & ASHLEY OLSEN
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen own clothing lines, The Row And Elizabeth And James but before all of that Full House introduced us the adorwable Michelle Elizabeth Tanner the character played by both Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen (at nine months old). The character, quite frankly the entire Full House cast was a hit and the twins’ careers took off from there. They went on to make series of VHS videos for The adventures of Mary Kate and Ashley and few others. They didn’t fall prey to the plight of child actors from Hollywood that eventually fall off and/or battle addiction. Mary Kate became a style star with her oversize sunglasses, Starbucks cup and Balenciaga bag. Their style was well chronicled and they turned that into a fashion brand. First launching The Row and then few years later Elizabeth and James. They’ve won awards for their design work and the brand continues to cater to a subset of women that want to say I’m rich, chic and sophisticated but subtly.
Rihanna went from telling us “b*tch better have my money” to actually getting the bag and becoming a billionaire while at it. Rihanna Robyn Fenty burst onto the scene as the Barbadian artist Jay-z signed and she was awesome out the gate. Musically she had that it factor. Then she appeared in one or two flicks on the big screen and then BOOM! Her Fenty brand partnerhsip with Savage launched and here she is giving one of the top lingerie brands in the country (at the time) a run for their money. Then riding that success train a new all-inclusive beauty line Fenty beauty drops and EVERY brand that’s neglected the shades for brown/black girls up until then now are touting their range. She had them shooketh! Rihanna is still at the top of her game even if she hasn’t released an album since the Titanic sank, it is well. Fenty Beauty continues to dominate the space with new releases and expanding to new markets globally.
Looking to get started on your side hustle or really hone your side hustle skills? Udemy has thousands of courses in different industries that you can sign up for and get started. You will be just one step closer to your million or billion dollar venture. One day, your side hustle will outpace your main hustle, in a great way.
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