Kathy Ireland is the world's richest model

Feb 24, 2012 at 4:07 p.m. ET

Kathy Ireland is a great example of a model who created a successful career outside of modeling. She's getting paid, too: Forbes magazine lists her as the model with the highest net worth.

Kathy Ireland is one rich model

Kathy Ireland might not model much anymore, but she still tops out as the highest-grossing model-entrepreneur, according to Forbes. The swimsuit queen — who has appeared on three Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue covers — is worth an estimated $300 to $350 million, thanks to her product-marketing company, Kathy Ireland Worldwide.

Her product line isn't composed of clothes and swimsuits, though that's where she started when her company signed a partnership with Kmart in 1994.

"The bulk of her success comes instead from the kind of stuff that has likely never seen a celebrity's name adorning it: ceiling fans, flooring, mattresses. And above all, there's furniture: desks, end tables, media centers, beds, ottomans and bookcases," Forbes reporter Dorothy Pomerantz writes in the magazine cover story. "There are area rugs, carpets and headboards. And lots and lots of windows."

Ireland's line of vinyl and plastic replacement windows is a top seller at Window World, bringing in a reported $400 million dollars a year.

Other models make a ton of cash a year, mostly thanks to their various product lines and endorsements. For example, media mogul Heidi Klum is reportedly worth a cool $50 million, according to CelebrityNetWorth.com.

One model's name might not be on the list of richest women, but it might be soon. Current Sports Illustrated cover girl Kate Upton has expressed a desire to start her own side projects, something to which her management team is looking forward.

"Kate is bigger than fashion," said Ivan Bart of IMG Models. "She's the Jayne Mansfield of the Internet."

Ireland recognizes that dream — and encourages models to pursue their goals, with a plan.

"So many young people say, 'I'm just going to see what happens,'" she told Forbes. "It's so much more powerful to make things happen and have a plan."

Image courtesy Thunder Kick Photos/Splash News

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