Meet the 5 Top Influencers Who Have Made a Fortune on Social Media

You know them as Zoella and NikkieTutorials. Meet the people who have made money from social media.
IMAGE Zoe Sugg | instagram.com/zoella, Michelle Phan | instagram.com/michellephan, Nikkie de Jager | instagram.com/nikkietutorials

These days, you'll find that more and more people are monetizing their social footprint—digital influencers aren't just about #feedgoals, they're actually becoming career goals, too. If you've ever wondered just how influential your favorite social stars are, you might want to pay attention.

Forbes just released their first ever top influencers list, which includes social media superstars in different industries. These are people who have been successful in creating their business online. Some of these faces might look familiar to you because you follow them on Facebook, like their Instagram, fave their tweets, or subscribe to their YouTube channel.

In the first wave, the American business magazine, has published the Top 10 influencers in these three categories: Home, Beauty, and Fitness. Check out some of the people included on the list.


Spanning over 49 million Instagram followers, 11 million Twitter followers, 16 million Facebook likes, and 47 million YouTube subscribers, the top 10 influencers in Beauty have a combined reach of 135 million! Crazy, right? 


Zoe Sugg

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Zoe Sugg is a British beauty blogger who started out filming her beauty hauls. She's also a published author with her very first novel Girl Online breaking records upon its release.

Michelle Phan


You've probably followed Michelle Phan's transition from content creator to entrepreneur. After successfully penetrating the YouTube market, she eventually started her own makeup line, which she recently relaunched with a more streamlined look and roster of products.

Nikkie de Jager

Who doesn't know Nikkie de Jager aka NikkieTutorials? We've watched countless makeup challenges hosted on her YouTube channel, but one of our favorites of all time? Her "Power of Makeup" video with a whopping 35 million views and counting.



Aside from being total fitspiration, the people on this list have made a fortune promoting a healthy lifestyle to their followers—all 106 million of them.

Kayla Itsines

If you've ever heard of The Bikini Body Training Guide (#BBG on Instagram), then we're pretty sure you know who Kayla Itsines is. The 25-year-old fitness queen from Australia developed a training program that promises changes in just 12 weeks (that's 3 months!). Her app Sweat with Kayla made $17M in revenue last year.



The total reach of the top 10 influencers from the home category is 7,370,000 followers. Lots of DIY bloggers (ones whose work you've probably pinned on your Pinterest boards already!) who have turned their handmade passion into full-fledged businesses!

Elsie Larson

Starting out as a lifestyle blog 10 years ago, A Beautiful Mess has turned into a complete lifestyle company. Elsie Larson teamed up with her sister Emma and have since created 2 books (they're working on their third) and apps, with their photo editing app A Color Story hitting 3 million downloads already!


Check out the full list here for more inspo!









About the author
Macy Alcaraz
Former Editor in Chief, candymag.com
When she's not busy online, she's in the kitchen on a mission to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

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If you know me, and know me well, I am not the biggest fan of idyllic lifestyles. With a Type A personality, I act immediately upon whatever challenge that needs to be addressed. I actually enjoy keeping my mind preoccupied: doing university work in my favourite cafe then running errands around town, grocery shopping here, updating my accounts there, photocopying documents on the way down the street - all just in time before having a glass of champagne at the bar with my friends come evening.

And so, you could imagine my bewilderment when the next challenge to be faced was an extensive self-quarantine protocol. I didn’t know what to do when my greatest responsibility in this situation was to do nothing at all. My first few attempts to combat my consternation were very much rooted in distraction and imagination. My distractions involved conducting research, writing songs, calling family and friends, filming videos, and eating chocolate! My imaginations and fantasies were centred on travelling, shopping, even clubbing (which I rarely do) for when they find a cure to COVID-19. I did anything and everything that could be considered constructive in order to pass the time, mainly hoping I could just undertake the basic human necessities to survive - that is, eat and sleep the day through - until the next day comes, until the world is closer to becoming a better place, until quarantine ends, until my flight follows through, until I see my family and friends again.

Days in self-isolation and suspended flights turned to weeks and turned to months. By the third extension here in Spain where I study Fashion Business, I had to tell myself this shall be my new normal now, that I was blessed to be healthy, that I was tired of merely existing and missed what it was like to actually live - even if just within four walls. Little by little, I began to find significance in the simple occurrences of the day: the soft glare of the rising sun beaming golden streaks through my bedroom window upon waking up, the fragrance of freshly washed bed sheets that I had painstakingly hung to fit a relatively small clothes rack without crumpling them, the crunch and tanginess of warm toasted bread topped with raspberry marmalade, the buzzing sound of a phone call from home just waiting to be answered, to the caress of a fuzzy sweater to keep warm at night. I realised, “What pleasures to be enjoyed in the pause of slow living!” Through this continued pause, which I loathed at first, I began to appreciate each moment of the day rather than wish it would pass more swiftly, moments I had overlooked so often before the lockdown. I started to find that the challenge of self-isolation was never to pause both the regular routines of life as well as the positive emotions that came with these - as initially, I thought it meant to pause all happiness, so as to withstand a time of endurance in hopes for a better tomorrow, much like a form of delaying gratification. Life is just too fragile these days to delay gratification any further.

Life has paused, but it has not stopped. Believe that like any punctuation mark in a sentence, the pause will provide the right timing of things to take place. Till then, let us not waste our time waiting. Instead, we could be in the moment, seek substance in simplicity (that is, in what we already have), And enjoy the pleasure in pause. “Practice the Pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray.”

They say time heals all wounds, but it has been ages - is heartbreak exempted?

I have forgotten when was the last time we shared a smile - the last time when I saw the glow in your eyes and the last time when you whispered an I love you to me. I have forgotten when, but here I am - writing to you again.

I do not know if you will read this or you will just add this one to my proses and poems that you left unread, but you see, I am still hoping. I am mailing the pain of us to the gods out there - hoping they can take the pain away. I should have gotten over you, but instead of forgetting and accepting our ending, I am writing about us in tissue sheets, carving about us on trees, telling about us on the back of my journals, hoping that a thousand or a million write ups about us, can make me forget about what happened.

I am writing, waiting for the point where I can no longer write anymore, for I have none to tell - but when? I have nothing in me anymore, but the memories of us - and no matter how hard I try put those to its own grave, the memories grow back like lilies in the swamp - painful and beautiful at the same time.

No matter how hard I try to silence those and put it at the back of my mind, those ring back, playing like the favorite song we used to listen. They say heartbreaks turn into poetry and that is what happening to us - but poetry should be dulcet and dreamy, why does ours sound like pain and agony? They say time heals all wounds, but it has been ages - is heartbreak exempted? Darling, I guess not.

Anne Luna A day ago
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