The World’s Most Powerful Women

Anna Wintour, editor in chief of Vogue, global chief content officer for Condé Nast, and artistic director for Condé Nast

Anna Wintour may be recognizable for her signature bob hairstyle and sunglasses, but she is also one of the most influential and powerful women in the fashion industry.

In her early career, Wintour moved between the fashion departments of several big-name magazines as their fashion editor. In 1976, Wintour moved to New York and took over as fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar and later took a position at New York magazine.

In 1987, she became chief editor of Condé Nast-owned British Vogue. Just a year later, she took over as editor of American Vogue, revitalizing the magazine and completely shifting the entire industry’s approach. Rather than falling back on the supermodels of the 1980s, Wintour suggested that the magazine feature celebrities on its covers.

Wintour has been criticized as being aloof and cold. One of Wintour’s former assistants wrote a fictionalized account of her days at Vogue — it would eventually be made into the movie “The Devil Wears Prada,” starring Meryl Steep as the overbearing editor in chief and Anne Hathaway as her overworked assistant.

Kylie Jenner, businesswoman and reality TV star

In 2019, Kylie Jenner was named Forbes’ youngest-ever self-made billionaire after reaching success through her cosmetics and makeup company, Kylie Cosmetics. The brand first launched in 2015 with the release of her Kylie Lip Kit, which included a liquid lipstick and a lip liner.

Kylie Cosmetics has since expanded rapidly and includes a wide range of cosmetics products. In 2018, Forbes reported that Kylie Cosmetics was valued at $800 million, and in 2019 it was valued at $900 million. Kylie Jenner has also launched a subset of her cosmetics company, Kylie Skin.

Jenner previously owned 100% of her cosmetics brand. However, in November 2019 it was announced that fragrance and cosmetics giant Coty Inc. had purchased a 51% stake in the company for a whopping $600 million.

Much of Kylie Jenner’s influence and power comes from her social media presence as well. As of January 2021, Jenner has 208 million followers.

Rihanna, businesswoman and musician

Rihanna. Samir Hussein / Contributor / Getty Images
Rihanna first found success in the early 2000s through pop hits like “Unfaithful,” “Umbrella,” “Disturbia,” “Take a Bow,” and more. However, more recently, the musician has found mega-success through multiple business ventures, including her makeup line Fenty Beauty, lingerie company Savage X Fenty, and high-fashion clothing line Fenty, which is owned by fashion conglomerate LVMH.

Throughout her career, Rihanna has also been an advocate for women’s rights and spoken out against domestic violence, of which she was a victim of during her high-profile relationship with fellow artist Chris Brown.

“This happened to me,” she said in an interview with Diane Sawyer. “It can happen to anyone.”

Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live” cast member

Kate McKinnon is one of only a few LGBTQ+ actors to be cast on hit comedy sketch show “Saturday Night Live,” and the first gay woman to be cast since Danitra Vance in the 1980s.

McKinnon won an Emmy Award for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series for her work on “SNL.” She has been praised for her impersonations of Ellen DeGeneres, Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Sessions, and Hillary Clinton, whom she appeared alongside in the 41st season premiere.

Michelle Obama, former lawyer and first lady

Michelle Obama in Oslo, Norway, in 2019. Per Ole Hagen/Getty Images
During Michelle Obama’s time as the first lady, she focused on the issues of poverty, healthy living, and education.

Obama attended Princeton University, where she graduated cum laude in 1985 with an undergraduate degree in sociology. She later attended Harvard Law School. After graduating, she met her future husband, Barack Obama, while practicing as a lawyer at the Chicago firm Sidley Austin. Obama was a summer intern at the time.

Michelle Obama was thrust into the national spotlight after her husband was elected as a senator for Illinois, and he later won the Democratic nomination for president. He served two terms as president, from 2008 to 2016.

Michelle Obama gave a number of powerful speeches during her time as the first lady and is regarded as an excellent public speaker. In 2016, while campaigning for presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention, she seemingly spoke out against Donald Trump and other critics, saying, “When they go low, we go high.”

Obama currently works with her husband as leaders of the Obama Foundation, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization.


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