Top 17 Savvy Celebrity Businesswomen

Other celebrities hope a lower upfront fee--usually in the low six figures--will net them more in the end, as they also get a percentage (usually 5 percent to 10 percent) of royalties on wholesale earnings.

Actress Halle Berry and country singer Faith Hill last year partnered with fragrance giant Coty to brand their own scents. If they are lucky, the fragrances might sell as well as Britney Spears' did, netting $1 billion in retail sales since her Elizabeth Arden-partnered line (including Curious, Fantasy and Believe) launched in 2004.

Of course, lucrative opportunities go way beyond perfume. Last year, Colombian singer Shakira jumped on concert promoter Live Nation's gravy train, inking an estimated $70 to $100 million 10-year deal.

The concert promoter (which also represents U2, Jay-Z and Nickelback) last year signed Madonna for a reported $120 million, although Live Nation will not confirm numbers for anyone. The Shakira and Madonna deals mean that Live Nation will negotiate everything from albums to merchandising, whether a concert T-shirt or a cosmetics ad, as well as sponsoring concerts. (The company operates 150 venues in 33 countries.)

"Shakira is one of the few truly global artists," says Jason Garner, global music chief of Live Nation. "She can sell music and tickets in nearly in every corner of the globe."

Clothing is another way to bring in the big bucks. Sheryl Crow, Mandy Moore, Kate Moss, Sarah Jessica Parker, Victoria Beckham and Madonna all launched their own lines over the past two years.

But few can beat Jessica Simpson for her well-timed and well-executed rise to merchandising moguldom. In 2005, before being dragged down by "mom jeans" and mediocre album sales, Simpson sold the master license to her apparel/clothing brand--the right to market her name worldwide--to the Camuto Group for a reported $15 million. Camuto, which also manufactures and markets the BCBG Max Azaria, Tory Burch and Nicole Miller labels, is known for its surprisingly well-made and chicly designed goods sold at a moderate price point.

The Jessica Simpson Collection rolled out slowly with shoes, averaging $90 at retail, mostly sold through Macy's. That was a huge success--so the line expanded into categories including handbags, sunglasses and jewelry. In 2008, Simpson's products raked in $300 million wholesale, which means that the blond bombshell, who gets royalties once she earns back her reported $15 million advance, would have broken even last year--and everything from that day forward will be more in her pocket.

Of course, there's an almost unlimited array of business deals a celebrity can cash in on--50 Cent and Jennifer Aniston made millions with water (VitaminWater and SmartWater, respectively); Robert DeNiro, Justin Timberlake and Sandra Bullock all have successful restaurants.

But that doesn't mean everything a star touches turns to gold--while the public may want to smell like Britney Spears' perfumes, it doesn't want to eat what she cooks up--her New York City-based Southern-inspired restaurant NYLA closed in 2002, a mere six months after opening.

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