The XX Factor

Young Female Pop Stars Raking It In

I’d like to thank you for all the money.

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Well, once again the Forbes annual list of the ten highest-paid celebrities under 30 has been released. Mostly it’s just dispiriting to those of us old-timers who’ll never hope to earn $50 million in a lifetime much less in a year, but this edition’s collection of insanely wealthy 20-somethings does contain a little good news—it’s chock full of ladies. Yes, four of the top five spots were claimed by women. Hooray?

The number one spot went to singer Taylor Swift, who at the tender age of 22 has earned an eye-melting $57 million in the last year. Boy wonder Justin Bieber claimed the number two spot with $55 million in earnings. And from there we have Rihanna ($53 million), Lady Gaga ($52 million), and Katy Perry ($45 million). Man, just think about all of the cupcake bras and meat dresses one could buy with those millions. There was one non-musical female on the list—Twilight’s Kristen Stewart. She ranked seventh, ahead of her costar Taylor Lautner, who took ninth, and her costar-boyfriend Robert Pattinson, who landed in the last spot with a paltry $26.5 million in earnings. Oh, and let us not forget number six, Adele ($35 million), and number eight, Lil Wayne ($27 million). Ho hum, just another day at the office.

Besides proving to all of us that we are clearly in the wrong line of work, what does the female domination of this list reveal? Forbes writes, “Glass ceilings still abound, but in the music industry, a group of young women are busting it down.” Have these women used their barely post-pubescent voices to shatter that glass ceiling to pieces? Maybe, if there really ever was a glass ceiling in pop stardom—Madonna, Whitney, Beyonce, etc. etc. etc. suggest otherwise. But probably this just means that for the moment those fickle tweens have chosen to throw their affections (and their parents’ hard-earned dollars) behind the available crop of female singers. Still, at least now we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the great American dream of growing up to be a fabulously wealthy celebrity is open to all.