5 Oscar-Winning Actresses That Have Built an Empire

March 11, 2014

Alexandra Tselios, publisher of The Big Smoke looks at five Oscar-winning actresses who have made their fortunes beyond the big screen.

Many of the Oscar-winning Best Actresses have carved out careers that have permeated into other areas, ultimately building themselves an empire.

It stands to reason that Oscar-winning actresses have the potential to cultivate a versatile career trajectory, from Felicity Huffman’s ‘Flicka’ website and Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘GOOP’ initiative – take a look at my top five!

Barbara Streisand    
No self-respecting fan of musicals could forget the Oscar win of Barbara Streisand’s Funny Girl. Now in her 70’s, the memorabilia that this woman has under her belt is absolutely overwhelming. From setting up her own production company, Barwood Films in the 70s, to ongoing CD, DVD and concert sales, the influence this woman has had on almost all aspects of the arts is incredible. Now a firm fixture in pop-culture references, Streisand generates millions through her ‘Streisand Foundation’ initiatives contributing over $16 million in grants supporting medical research, civil rights and even nuclear disarmament.

Joan Crawford
One of my favourite actresses of all time, and one of the quirkiest and decidedly more difficult characters to ever engulf Hollywood, Crawford won a number of Oscars for films such as 1947’s Possessed and 1945’s Mildred Pierce. Regardless of the accounts of her life you believe, one thing is evident about this woman – she was determined and astute. From moving into TV and radio Joan later helped her husband Al Steel expand PepsiCo before coercing the company to assigning her as director on their board in 1959.

Jane Fonda
Receiving two Oscars for Klute and Coming Home, Jane was born into Hollywood royalty, but she is probably best known nowadays for her fitness empire which includes workout videos that have sold more than 17 million copies worldwide. In 2014, she travelled to Australia to promote Fitness First, further cementing herself as an icon at all ages. Coupled with philanthropy work, political activism and writing, she has built herself a solid empire founded on Lycra leotards.

Goldie Hawn
Winning an Oscar in 1969 for Cactus Flower, the actress who cultivated this ditzy blonde routine for years is actually an incredibly smart business woman! A successful producer, property developer, director, author and founder of the Hawn Foundation which provides education programs, Goldie has proven she is so much more than her initial façade indicated – building a revenue-heavy empire with a dazzling smile.

Natalie Portman
Natalie won the Best Actress Oscar in 2011 for Black Swan, a movie which terrified me for life. However, this young actress and Harvard graduate is quickly building a strong portfolio by launching a now-defunct vegan footwear line, owning a production company, promoting a STEM Mentoring program with Marvel and also advocating micro financing as part of her role as ambassador for FINCA international.  At just 32 years of age, she also owns an impressive property dossier, so I think this may be the beginning of a mighty impressive empire.

By Alexandra Tselios, Co-Founder and Publisher of The Big Smoke, Australia’s newest opinion site.

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