It’s not just a Madonna song. How many times have you dreamed about what you would do with boatloads of money? How many mansions, how many luxury resort vacations, how many things have you dreamed about having if only, if only, if only? Much to our collective envy and admiration, these eight filthy rich women—in no particular order—really do have it all. What did they do to earn all that money? Well, read on and find out!
Net worth: $4.1B (as of November 2022)
Source of wealth: Hengli Petrochemical
Fan Hongwei was an accountant when she and her husband took out a 3 million Yuan loan from the bank. They bought a textile factory, taking it from a small business with only 27 employees to the biggest chemical fiber producer in China. In 2021, Fan Hongwei was listed as the third richest woman in China by the South China Morning Post.
Net worth: $7.1B (as of 2023)
Source of wealth: Epic Systems
Computer programmer Judy Faulkner created Epic Systems, a healthcare software company, in her basement in 1979. She funded it with investments from friends and family, reaching just $70,000. They have never approached venture capitalists or gone public, preferring to preserve their integrity as a privately held company. The software is now used by medical centers like Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins, and is developed entirely in-house.
Net worth: $7.3B (as of 2023)
Source of wealth: Luxshare Precision Industry
Wang Laichun worked at Foxconn for a decade before starting Luxshare Precision with her brother in 2004. The company manufactures electronics, particularly computer and cell phone components. Their work can be found at Apple, a loyal customer. Luxshare has Wang Laichun consistently ranking high on publishers’ female billionaires lists all around the globe.
Net worth: $10.1B (as of 2023)
Source of wealth: Longfor Properties
Wu Yajun once earned $16 a month as a factory technician before she co-founded real estate developer Longfor with her ex-husband. She is now one of the richest self-made women in the world. Longfor is a Hong Kong–based company, but does business in 47 cities around the globe. In 2018, Wang Laichun stepped down as chairman and passed her stake in the company to her daughter.
Net worth: $2.5B
Source of wealth: Entertainment & Media
Oprah rose from poverty to become one of the most influential media personalities alive today. It’s hard to remember that when you look at her vast portfolio of entertainment properties. She’s most known for The Oprah Winfrey Show and her in-depth interviews with notable guests like Michael Jackson—and, recently— Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
Net worth: $4.8B (as of 2023)
Source of wealth: SHI International
Thai Lee currently serves as CEO of SHI International, an IT provider. She received an MBA from Harvard Business School, becoming their first female Korean graduate. Lee and her ex-husband bought SHI International in 1989 for less than 1 million USD. Now, the company is worth around 12 billion USD, and generated $12.3 billion in 2021 alone.
Net worth: $1.4B (as of 2023)
Source of wealth: Fenty Beauty, Recording Artist
It’s almost impossible to not know who Rihanna is, especially after that fire Super Bowl performance. Born in Barbados, Rihanna started recording music in 2005, quickly rising to the top of the charts to become the second best–selling female artist in the world. When she created the makeup company Fenty Beauty in 2017, her wealth skyrocketed. She was named America’s youngest self-made female billionaire in 2022.
Net worth: $7.6B (as of 2023)
Source of wealth: Hansoh Pharmaceutical
Zhong Huijuan used to work as a middle school chemistry teacher in Jiangsu Province. She left her job to run her husband’s new company, starting with barely 10 employees. Zhong Huijuan invested in R&D, pushing the company to eventually become China’s largest psychotropic drug producer in 2019. They also produce drugs to treat diabetes, tumors, infections, and more.