The 10 Most Interesting Female Billionaires On The Forbes List
Each year, Forbes releases a list of people who are several billion dollars richer than the rest of us. For the majority of the list’s history, it has been dominated by men, and that continues to be true. This year, though, the list included more women than ever before.
Of the 1,652 billionaires on the Forbes list, only 172 are women. Some of these women are self-made billionaires who have worked their way to the top, while others have inherited family fortunes from many generations past. Either way, all of them are interesting. Check out this list of the 10 most interesting female billionaires out there , (Oprah and Sheryl Sandberg aside, because you know all about them already).
1. Alice Walton
Alice Walton isn’t even the richest WalMart heir, but her fiery personality makes her one of the most interesting. Walton is a painter and art collector, and helped found the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas, which was surely not a fine art mecca before Walton. She does, though, have a propensity for driving drunk. Her most recent arrest was in 2011 on the eve of her birthday, where she was arrested in Texas on suspicion of DUI. No charges were ever filed, but Walton admitted to the incident and apologized.
2. Liliane Bettencourt
The heir to the Revlon fortune may not be involved in day-to-day business decisions at 91 years old, but Liliane Bettencourt is still making big bucks off her cosmetics empire. Bettencourt started at her father’s cosmetics company as a teenage apprentice and spent her time labeling bottles and mixing shampoos. Bettencourt’s friendship with French writer Francois-Marie Banier became a public spectacle after the billionaire’s family accused Banier of duping Bettencourt into signing over life insurance policies, prized art, and other “gifts.”
3. Folorunsho Alakija
Oprah Winfrey used to be the only black woman billionaire on the Forbes list, until oil executive Folorunsho Alakija unseated the talk show host last year. As the president of Famfa Oil, Alakija owns some of the top oil-producing properties in Nigeria. Alakija began her career as a secretary, studied fashion, and had four children in her journey to becoming the richest black woman in the world. Her charitable organization provides business grants and scholarships to women, so she’s basically just all around awesome person.
4. Perenna Kei
Not much is known about Perenna Kei, other than that she controls over 85% of Logan Property Holdings, a massive residential real estate company in Hong Kong, among other holdings that include a large family trust. Kei, at age 24, is the youngest billionaire on the Forbes list.
5. Miuccia Prada
Miuccia Prada’s grandfather Mario founded the family’s famous fashion house, but Miuccia has been at the helm since 1978. Prada has had an insanely interesting life — she studied to perform as a mime, advocated for women’s rights, was famously a member of the Communist Party, and earned a Ph.D in political science. She has also been investigated for tax fraud, but never indicted.
6. Laurene Powell Jobs
Apparently, Steve Jobs really loved powerful women. The widow of late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Laurene Powell Jobs is the largest shareholder in the Walt Disney Corporation and one of the richest women in the world. Before heading the Laurene Powell Jobs Trust (formerly known as the Steven Jobs Trust), Laurene Powell Jobs worked as a strategist at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch. She also founded Terraverra, a natural and organic foods company in Northern California.
7. Margarita Louis-Dreyfus
Born Rita Bogdanova in Russia, Margarita Louis-Dreyfus fulfilled her husband's dying wish by becoming head of his company, Robert Louis-Dreyfus Holdings, in 2013. If the name sounds familiar, Robert Louis Dreyfus is the first cousin of Veep and Seinfeld actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus. After the death of her husband. Margarita Louis-Dreyfus ousted the men at the top of her husband's company to ensure that it stayed intact for his heirs for years to come.
8. Susanne Klatten
Susanne Klatten is the richest woman in Germany, and the 44th richest person in the world. That, of course, doesn't come without consequence. Throughout her lifetime, Klatten used a pseudonym so that she could work anonymously in the advertising sector. Before her father died and made Klatten a key stockholder in Belgian Motor Works (BMW, of course), and other major German companies, police thwarted an attempt to kidnap her in 1978. In 2007, she was blackmailed by two men who threatened to release "intimate videos" of Klatten if she didn't pay them a ransom of 14 million Euros. The men were arrested, and no sexy videos of Klatten were ever released.
9. Sandra Ortega Mera
Apparently fashion is a highly profitable business. Sandra Ortega Mara, daughter of the founders of global retailer Zara, is the richest woman in Spain after inheriting a more than $5 billion stake in her parents' fashion empire. In her spare time not running one of Europe's most successful clothing brands, Ortega Mara runs Fundacion Paideia Galiza, an organization that helps the disabled and other populations find jobs.