From Rihanna To Dolly Parton: Inside Forbes’ Seventh Annual List Of America’s Richest Self-Made Women
These 100 self-made moguls are worth a combined $118 billion—31% more than last year.
by Kerry A. Dolan, Jen Wang and Chase Peterson-Withorn
Women continue to make inroads in terms of shattering glass ceilings and scaling new heights.
With the goal of celebrating their successes, Forbes presents our seventh annual list of America’s richest self-made women. A soaring stock market and a flurry of IPOs lifted the fortunes of these 100 entrepreneurs, executives and entertainers by 31% since last year, to a combined $118 billion.
Number one for the fourth year in a row: Diane Hendricks, who cofounded roofing supply firm ABC with her late husband Ken (d. 2007). Her fortune rose to an estimated $11 billion, making her the first self-made woman from the U.S. to surpass a $10 billion net worth.
Pop star mogul Rihanna, ranked No. 16, is now officially a billionaire, becoming one of a record 26 women on the list with 10-figure fortunes. Other new billionaires this year include 23andMe’s Anne Wojcicki and dating app Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd, both of whom took their companies public; fintech entrepreneur Jenny Just; insurance company founder Robyn Jones and reality TV star and cosmetics mogul Kim Kardashian West, whose fortune has surged as the value of shapewear firm Skims has taken off.
WHERE THE SELF-MADE WOMEN LIVE
Fifteen new faces joined the ranks this year, some because of initial public offerings and others due to surging stock prices. By far the best known newcomer is Dolly Parton, who bolstered her music catalog with a smart investment in the Dollywood theme park in her native Tennessee. Supermodel Cindy Crawford debuts due to the success of her skincare line, Meaningful Beauty. Heather Hasson and Trina Spear cofounded and run fashionable medical scrubs firm Figs, which they took public in May, and are ranked No. 50 and 52, respectively. Caryn Seidman-Becker bought airport security firm Clear Secure out of bankruptcy in 2010 and took it public in June at a $4.5 billion valuation.
Two thirds of the 100 founded or cofounded a company in industries ranging from solar energy (Lynn Jurich of SunRun, No. 95) to online education (Rachel Carlson of Guild Education, No. 61). Twenty-six are CEOs, including health records pioneer Judy Faulkner of Epic Systems and Safra Catz of software giant Oracle.
These women range in age from 23 (Kylie Jenner) to 95 (life sciences entrepreneur Alice Schwartz), and live in 22 different states, though nearly half —46—reside in California. Fortunes were calculated using stock prices from July 2, 2021—well before the Blackstone-backed deal to buy Reese Witherspoon’s production firm Hello Sunshine was announced, which is why Witherspoon, who is now worth $400 million, does not appear on the list. Net worths can change within days or weeks of our measurement date. While 23andMe’s Anne Wojcicki was worth an estimated $1.1 billion in early July, her fortune has dropped to a recent $800 million.