6 Stupid Celebrities Who Are Secretly Business Geniuses
We love to mock dumb celebrities, because jealousy is a bitter wine. But even if they lucked into fame by playing garbage-like fools in crapsack movies or saying enough drunken, stupid, and/or racist things in front of a camera, most famous folks have heard enough stories about M.C. Hammer to know they'd better learn how to hang onto their money before they end up being forcibly evicted from their space mansions.
That's why, incredibly enough ...
Paris Hilton Turned Partying Into A Serious Career
Before Kim Kardashian was so much as a burst blood vessel in Kris Humphries' eye, Paris Hilton was the person everyone hated for being rich and famous for absolutely no reason. Well, those days are over: Paris Hilton's family money is gone. Her asshole grandfather went and gave it all away to charity, leaving Paris with only $5 million, which isn't even enough to buy Jean-Claude Van Damme's house. This is usually the setup for a whimsical romantic comedy in which the formerly stuck-up heroine learns that money can't buy everything, but you'll be happy to know that Paris doesn't need to learn that particular lesson, and probably never will. While we were all asking, "Why is she even famous?" oblivious to the irony of the fact that we were answering our own question, Paris was outfoxing all of us.
What appeared to us to be a simple case of spoiled rich kids doing what spoiled rich kids do was actually a carefully crafted marketing campaign. The only reason we didn't recognize it was because Paris wasn't selling anything we recognized as a product -- she was selling herself. Every time she showed up on the red carpet, got photographed at parties, or opened her stupid, stupid mouth, she was, quite simply, creating a brand, the same way Coca-Cola or, say, Hilton Hotels does.
And now, that brand is worth billions. All she has to do is put her name on a product, and the next morning she finds a shiny new beachfront property under her pillow. Her perfume alone has done over $1.8 billion in sales, and she owns 60 retail stores that sell only her products. To hear her talk about it these days, she sounds more Warren Buffett than Jessica Simpson: "I always wake early to deal with transatlantic business calls, then there are meet-and-greets. Sometimes there are face-to-face business meetings where I'll discuss the progress of certain products. Sometimes there are photoshoots or interviews. If I'm DJing, I'll do soundchecks before a gig. It's a rigorous schedule, but I'm a hard worker. My social channels also take work; they're very considered."
And yeah, that DJing stuff? She can make a million dollars a night just to show up at a party and put on some tunes. You can make fun of Paris Hilton as much as you like, but she's the one who spent the 2000s building up an image that club owners today will pay seven figures to have show up and put an iPod on shuffle.
Carrot Top Is A Multi-Millionaire
In polite circles, Carrot Top is mostly known for being shorthand for terrible comedy and the dangers of creatine. Between Chairman Of The Board and an unflattering cameo in The Hangover's end credits, Carrot Top has enjoyed the kind of career that, best-case scenario, ends in a casino buffet. So it should come as no surprise that he's spent the last decade headlining the Luxor in Las Vegas, where he no doubt has eaten at least a few plates of complimentary breakfast. However, what is surprising is the fact that Carrot Top has made $75 million doing it.
That's right -- Carrot Top is a goddamned Vegas sensation, with tickets to his shows going for $50 a pop, and those are just the cheap seats. As it turns out, while people like us were busy making fun of him, Carrot Top was working his ass off -- he has performed for 3 million people since 1987, which means, on average, 100,000 people have gone to see Carrot Top every year for the past three decades. For comparison, Madonna has performed for a little less than 10 million people over just about the same time period.
With a draw like that, it's no surprise that the Luxor renewed his contract for another six years back in 2009. He's turned what is usually a humiliating defeat into an unquestioned reign over a mountain of money, and he couldn't be happier about it: "I love Vegas," he told Las Vegas Weekly. "I have a house here. My mom lives here now. My girlfriend is out here now. I get to go onstage every night and do a show and then go home. On the road, there's none of that luxury."
By the way, that girlfriend he's referring to is a professional chef:
So, to recap, Carrot Top is a multi-millionaire who performs a hit show every single night in a giant glass pyramid in the middle of the desert and goes home to a home-cooked meal prepared by a professional chef in his mansion. If you ever felt bad for making fun of Chairman Of The Board, stop feeling bad immediately.
The Olsen Twins Are Goddamn Fashion Tycoons
The Olsen Twins were technically an empire before they could even pronounce the word "empire." Dualstar Entertainment Group was formed when they were just 6 years old to ride that Full House money train and market Olsen-brand merchandise and terrible straight-to-video movies to those "tweens" nobody had heard of yet.
As it turns out, those tweens had billions of dollars to spend on Olsen Twins bullshit. It would have been easy to call it a day once the girls hit puberty and stopped solving adorable mysteries together, but instead they took ownership of Dualstar when they reached adulthood and promptly moved on from the world of child exploitation.
The next year, Mary-Kate and Ashley decided to get into big-girl fashion by launching their first adult label, The Row. Walking around the East Village looking like trendy methadone patients was a look that appealed to enough people that The Row beat out veteran Marc Jacobs for a fancy-pants award a few years ago. They've since launched several more fashion lines, which were estimated to be worth a total of $1 billion in 2012. That's two empires the Olsen Twins have built before age 30, which can only mean some kind of malebolgian twin magic is at work.
50 Cent Is An Incredibly Smart Investor
You might not call 50 Cent dumb, but you also probably wouldn't expect a former crack dealer who attracts bullets like a tin can on a shooting range to make the shrewdest financial decisions. He's also made some less-than-stellar acting choices -- Get Rich Or Die Tryin' (Fiddy's 8 Mile) and Escape Plan made a combined domestic box office total of $56 million, which is less than what America spent to see Honey, I Blew Up The Kid.
Consequently, you would be shocked how many successful companies 50 Cent owns. Fiddy's investment portfolio looks like the Amazon homepage, including companies that sell energy drinks, underwear, and headphones, and that are involved in fucking NASCAR sponsorships. The only thing they all have in common is how wildly successful they are. That's not an accident: It turns out he's amazing at spotting the opportunities nobody else does. When he told his manager he wanted to sell water, his manager was certain the rapper must have fallen headfirst down a staircase, but Fiddy rationalized, " is the top-selling beverage, and it's consumed where music is played." The company he chose, a little thing called Vitamin Water, was later bought by Coca-Cola for $4.1 billion.
He's great at not just choosing companies but also at hooking those companies up with each other, multiplying his money in the process. One of his latest ventures includes Star Wars-themed headsets, in collaboration with Lucasfilm and his SMS Audio headphone line, because even someone as slick as 50 Cent recognizes the value of slapping Star Wars characters onto plastic accessories.
Unfortunately, the prescience of Fiddy's investments do not always extend to his creative endeavors -- he recently filed for bankruptcy protection in response to a lawsuit filed against him by a woman featured in a sex tape, which Fiddy leaked online along with "hilarious" commentary from his character "Pimpin' Curly."
Donald Trump Makes A Shitload Every Time He "Runs For President"
Let's not mince words: Donald Trump is such a dumb asshole that it's a wonder he survived long enough to need that comb-over, let alone build a financial empire. Whether he's going on infantile rants on Twitter or running for president on the ever-popular "hating brown people" platform, you would think nobody with any sort of concern for their public image would want to associate with him. And you wouldn't be wrong: Trump real estate is not looking like a solid investment right now, because nobody wants to be anywhere near anything with his name on it. At this point, Trump probably couldn't even get a Blockbuster card.
The thing is, hurting the Trump brand probably isn't a huge concern for The Donald, because he doesn't actually have a big share in the Trump brand. After the housing bubble burst, Trump resigned as chairman of the board, walking away with only a 10 percent share of the company. Meanwhile, the louder his mouth gets, the more people watch him. For proof, look no further than his impressively awful Twitter account, where he has over 3 million followers. How many of those people do you think are earnest fans, kissing their Trump posters every night before going to sleep on sheets made of racist tirades, and how many do you think are just following him to see what hilariously dumbshit thought will plop out of his brain next?
That's where his big payday comes from, and that's why NBC gave him a $65 million raise after his last presidential sideshow. Sure, they dropped him after he declared that all immigrants are stupid criminals, but he may still come out on top after suing absolutely everyone. As long as it continues to pay so well, Donald Trump probably doesn't care how many people hate him, or that his hair is the most naive lie anyone has ever insisted on perpetuating.
Adam Sandler Created The Perfect Formula For Comedies
For the last decade or so, a bizarre mystery has surrounded Adam Sandler's movies -- specifically, why is he still allowed to make them? Even the studio that produces them can't answer that question. Sandler's movies have steadily earned shittier and shittier reviews over the years, to the point where they've become little more than excuses for him to take lavish vacations with his friends and make out with Drew Barrymore. That's not a joke, by the way -- those are his own words. Apparently, nobody cares less about Adam Sandler's movies than Adam Sandler.
However, the reason Sony is so willing to keep footing the bill for Sandler's glorified vacations is that they are insanely reliable moneymakers. Look at the numbers for his recent shitshows and you'll notice an oddly specific pattern: They all have a budget of $80 million, and they all make somewhere between $150 million and $250 million. What that means is Sony knows exactly how much money will go into each Adam Sandler film and what the return will be. Sandler knows it, too: In the same email where a Sony employee bitches about the movies, they admit that "this arrangement has disproportionately benefited Adam Sandler and his team." His movies are also packed with a ton of product placement (a nice, cool, shameless 51 in Just Go With It), which is another income stream to supplement ticket sales.
Fortunately, Sony can stop drying their eyes with all those hundred-dollar bills, because Sandler has struck an even sweeter deal with Netflix. His contract not only locks them down for no fewer than four movies, it puts them on the hook for all of the risk. That means Sandler can literally film himself shitting in a box for two hours and still get paid $80 million to do it -- up to one-fourth of which goes directly in his pocket. That staggering new arrangement explains this recent photo, taken at a press event for Hotel Transylvania 2:
That's Adam Sandler not giving one willowy taco fart about Sony's new Adam Sandler movie, because his contract with Sony is up.
Manna is building her very own brand of stupid on Twitter.