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Forbes' richest women list ranks wealthiest "self-made" females

Kylie Jenner is youngest "self-made" billionaire
Kylie Jenner becomes world's youngest self-made billionaire, according to Forbes 00:26

With an estimated net worth of $7 billion, Diane Hendricks may be among the wealthiest Americans most people have never heard of. Yet Hendricks resides at the top of Forbe's annual list of richest self-made women, thanks to running ABC Supply, the wholesale roofing, widow and siding distribution business she cofounded with her late husband, Ken. 

When they met in the mid 1970s, Diane Hendricks sold custom homes for a builder and Ken Hendricks was a roofer. Since his death in 2007, Hendricks has overseen two major acquisitions, adding $2.1 billion to her net worth in the past year, Forbes relayed. 

Meg Whitman places second in the rankings, with an estimated net worth of $3.8 billion. She was the CEO of eBay for a decade starting in 1998, and then at Hewlett-Packard and its spin-off, Hewlett Packard Enterprise until last year. Whitman is followed by Marian Ilitch, who cofounded Little Caesars Pizza with her husband in 1957, and is now worth an estimated $3.7 billion.

While many of the 80 women included in this year's ranking started companies with their spouses, one famous name on the list never married. Worth $2.6 billion, Oprah Winfrey fronted a televised talk show for 25 years, now runs a media and business empire, and is 10th in the Forbes' ranking.

If the future is female, as #MeToo movement slogan suggests, it stands to reason that Forbes' count of the richest self-made women under the age of 40 has ballooned to seven from just four in 2016. 

The youngest in the rankings is 21-year-old reality-television star and cosmetics mogul Kylie Jenner, whose estimated net worth is $1 billion, according to Forbes. (See the full list here.) Jenner's inclusion on the list had some questioning the meaning of "self-made," given the family name and the help she got along the way. The half-sister of Kim Kardashian West did get help building her business from her mom, Kris Jenner, but Forbes says its definition includes those who did not inherit any or all of their fortune. 

The nation's richest female musician, Rihanna is making her debut in the rankings not because of singing, but largely thanks to a lucrative partnership with LVMH, the luxury goods maker. At 31, Rihanna is the first black woman to run a sizable fashion house in Paris, called Fenty. She's worth an estimated $600 million.

Another newcomer to the Forbes ranking, Serena Williams, is best known for her tennis achievements, but off the court, the 37-year-old has ventured into venture capital and fashion, compiling a fortune estimated at $225 million.

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