20 Celebrities Every CEO Should Study


For many Hollywood celebrities, money begets more money.  But not every celeb who enters the business world becomes a tycoon.  There is a trick to turning shtick into moolah; and these guys and gals appear to have cornered the market on money multiplication…

Oprah Winfrey has got a magazine with her own name on it, a talk show with a 25-year run, and owns a private school in Africa.   Enough said.

Supermodel Christy Turlington found a way to retire with Nuala, a yoga-chic clothing line.

Tyler Perry-This African-American movie mogul even has sitcoms branded with his name.

We never expected Madonna to pen her own children’s books.  But she’s done that and more. This sexy singer has amassed a material empire.

Cindy Crawford, the supermodel with the infamous mole, managed to transform couture “chic” into trendy Rooms-To-Go furniture.

Say what you must about his “tattooed tendencies.” Jesse James and his chopper businesses are worth as much as his famous Oscar-winning wife.

Bet you didn’t know that singer Bono has his hands on at least four different types of ventures, including real estate and hotels.

If you have ever worn the words ‘Baby Phat’ across your tush, you already know how savvy Kimora Lee (Simmons) is.

The Kardashian sisters have managed to translate “pretty” into cold, hard, cash.

Ryan Seacrest isn’t just the snarky host of American Idol; his list of television productions is rapidly growing.

Don’t sleep on this “Angel”: with K-Mart’s help, Jaclyn Smith cornered the market on affordable clothing.

Venus and Serena Williams are just as powerful off the tennis court—designing clothes and becoming part-owners of the Miami Dolphins.

Rachael Ray parlayed her chatty cooking tips into a full-fledged talk show.

Usher is more than a sexy crooner; he owns part of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In the 1960’s, Robert Redford had a vision about the future of independent film.  That vision became Sundance, the world’s biggest indie sensation.

Magic Johnson magically avoided the devastation of HIV and conquered the business world; his name is stamped on a string of movie and entertainment franchises.

Even rocker Lenny Kravitz has several businesses under his studded belt.

You might not think of Robert DeNiro as a savvy businessman.  But if you’ve ever been on the extensive Nobu waiting list, you might change your mind.

Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, the tiny tots of sitcom Full House, turned their tween appeal into a Disney and merchandising empire.

Who would have thought that Bad Boy Diddy would conquer the world of hip-hop gear, cocktails, cologne, and music? Can’t stop. Won’t stop.  Nuh-uh, Nuh-uh.

And the list goes on and on…


  1. Posted June 17, 2010 at 11:55 PM | Permalink

    We unfortunately have to mention Mr. Donald Trump, there is no such thing like personal celebrity branding without the Trumpster.

    Also, just imagine the power brand that will be the ENTIRE Obama family after his presidency ends (second term or not). I can imagine now all the businesses Michelle and the girls will even have - the going rate of a Barack speech, the books they will write individually and as a family, the paparazzi attention they will receive to increase their exposure and brand, one can only imagine.

  2. Posted June 20, 2010 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

    Great point, Ashli! Not sure how we overlooked that one. Trump is definitely a branding genius…that we all could learn from. And, it certainly will be amazing to watch the Obama family brand continue to grow.

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