You may have heard a little something about Kylie Jenner's claim to the throne of youngest self-made billionaire, but there’s another cosmetics doyenne who takes Kylie’s astounding fortune and raises her 50 times that: L'Oréal heiress and chairwoman Françoise Bettencourt Meyers. The industry scion was named the richest woman in the world by Forbes yesterday, ahead of today’s release of its 2019 World’s Billionaires list.
The granddaughter of L'Oréal founder Eugène Schueller, who's said to have invented hair dye, Bettencourt Meyers owes a large portion of her wealth to the family business. Last year alone, her personal fortune was boosted by £5.4 billion after the cosmetics giant recorded its best sales growth in more than a decade, according to the publication.
Though this is Bettencourt Meyers' first time topping Forbes' ranking of the richest women, the fact that she's there isn't exactly a shocker. Her late mother, Liliane Bettencourt, who passed away in 2017, had made the World's Billionaires list every year since Forbes first published it in 1987. The publication also reports that, for the better part of the past three decades, the title of world’s richest woman has bounced between L'Oréal's Bettencourt and Walmart's Walton families.
How does the world’s richest woman spend much of her energy? In addition to being a published author of books about Greek mythology and Jewish-Christian relations, Bettencourt Meyers serves as president of her family’s philanthropic foundation, which has supported a range of endeavours from genomic research to vocal training for choral singers in France. But as a longtime L'Oréal board member, she also helps guide the brand where, according to Forbes, an estimated 90% of her wealth is tied.
Will Bettencourt Meyers retain her seat as world’s richest woman by the time next year’s list rolls out? And how long until Stormi makes the list as an heiress herself? Of one thing we're certain: As long as the beauty industry thrives, so do the world’s richest women.