Culture Hack

Culture Hack

Five Women Who Have Built Business Legacies Beyond Their Star Status

Becoming a master of your craft is one form of success. Becoming a master of your craft and going on to succeed in other fields, however, is something rare and harder for most to accomplish. We think that, because we know one thing so well, it’s only right to pursue it until our bodies and minds cannot perform anymore. In the process, any other career move or investment is ruled out and we keep our eyes on one prize, following one path. Despite this natural inclination to stick to the status-quo, there are a few trailblazers in the public eye that prove there is always a number of opportunities to pursue. 

    While we honor the achievements of women throughout the entirety of March, it is only fair that we pay tribute to women who have risen to success in the industries they were first publicly known for and have found even more fruitful opportunities elsewhere. These women have proved that their star quality is so uncontainable, it has called them to other opportunities. In following these calls, five women have proved that talent knows no bounds and is always looking for new fields to perform in. 

Rihanna and the Fenty Empire

    Known for hits like “Umbrella” and “Love on the Brain,” Rihanna established her title as a pop and R&B diva nearly a decade ago. The public immediately fell in love with her on-stage sass and the love she has for her fans as well as her bold fashion statements. But in 2017, the superstar exploded onto the beauty industry, initiating her new business empire. Fenty Beauty was a success from the minute it was launched, catering to the wide spectrum of skin tones in ways other beauty brands could never imagine while maintaining the cool girl energy Rihanna exudes.

Since then, the Fenty family has grown: the size and gender-inclusive lingerie company Savage x Fenty, luxury fashion brand Fenty, and, the most recent addition, eco-conscious and cruelty-free Fenty Skin make up the collection of causes Rihanna is involved in. And with each Instagram post the diva puts out for each of these companies, you can feel the passion of the dedication she has for Fenty.

Reese Witherspoon and Inclusive Media

    If you showed anyone a photo of Reese Witherspoon, chances are they’d recall her classic role as Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde.” For over two decades, the actress has had our hearts with her on-screen performances and the complex women she becomes. But two decades in an industry that is historically unkind to women can teach you a lot of lessons if you’re willing to listen which, thankfully Witherspoon was.

In late 2016, the actress launched her answer to the inequality in the entertainment industry: Hello Sunshine. The media company’s mission is simple yet surely impactful: to prioritize the stories of women as told by books, shows, films, podcasts, or whatever other media platforms. So far, the company has put out projects like the “Little Fires Everywhere” Hulu series and Apple TV+’s “The Morning Show.”

Jessica Alba and Clean Living

    In the early 2000s, Jessica Alba broke on the acting scene and won our hearts over with the sincerity she brought onto the screen. Everything about the emotions she portrayed screamed genuine and so her activity off-set makes a lot of sense. In 2015, Alba launched The Honest Company: a company that promotes healthy living through the clean products they put out. According to Alba, she “created The Honest Company because you shouldn’t have to choose between what works and what’s good for you.”

The mission is to make products that feel good and look good, moving past the days where you had to settle for chemicals that really did no good. From bath + body goods and baby necessities to cleaning and beauty products, everything on the Honest website contains the same wholesomeness and pristine energy Alba puts out. 

Issa Rae and the Success of the “Awkward Black Girl”

    Issa Rae is no stranger to dealing with investors and raising funds to support her vision, In fact, the Insecure star and creator began her rise to fame with a web series for which she was constantly exceeding the budget goals she set. She maintains this hustle mentality with her new company, Hoorae Media. The main goal of Hoorae is to elevate the recognition of creators of color, using the platform to promote small, BIPOC-owned businesses as well as creating other companies and collaborations.

The motivation for starting this platform came from Rae’s frustration with bigger names saying they wanted to fix the lack of diversity rather than just taking action to give credit where it was long overdue. The media company currently consists of music label and audio company Raedio, a management company for writers of color called ColorCreative, and production company Hoorae Film & TV. Each sector of Hoorae believes in being transparent about the social issues currently affecting minority groups by giving those groups a blank canvas for self-expression in all its different forms. 

Michelle Obama and Her First Lady Legacy

    Although Michelle Obama is different from the other women mentioned in that she became famous because she was — arguably the most impactful and inspirational — First Lady of the United States, she has also proven that making it in other fields is possible. Even before her husband was elected president, the former First Lady was a brilliant lawyer, preparing her to lend her intelligence to issues the country was dealing with.

Since their family’s time in the White House came to an end, Obama still holds the problems our nation has been facing near and dear to her heart. In pursuit of bringing awareness to and, hopefully, remedying these troubles, Obama and the former president started Higher Ground Productions: a media company where stories not often prioritized will be shared on larger platforms. Since its start, the production company has agreed to partnerships with Netflix and Spotify to roll out a plethora of content. And the former First Lady won’t be expected to stay behind the camera the whole time; in fact, “The Michelle Obama Podcast” and the “Becoming” documentary series on Obama are the first major products the company has put out. There are also plans for a new children’s show that will focus on promoting healthy lifestyles — another passion of Michelle’s. 


If you ever find yourself feeling stuck or uninspired by the industry that once meant everything to you, let these women be an example that there is an endless amount of opportunities waiting for you; all it takes is a willingness to follow your instinct and to learn from any necessary lessons.