Jennifer Hawkins may well be Australia’s answer to a female Donald Trump.
While their political views may not align, Hawkins has a lot more in common with the man who made her famous than you might think.
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Since her Miss Universe win, Hawkins has used her star factor to land several high-paying endorsements, her own brand of swimwear, self-tanner, shoes and tequila and a property portfolio experts estimate to be worth more than $10 million.
The stunner recently praised the Miss Universe pageant owner and Republican candidate for his work ethic, but stopped short of commenting on his politics.
“Sorry, I am sitting on the fence there,” Hawkins said. “You want to be careful what you say out there because it can be turned and … I don’t know.”
This response illustrates Hawkins’ approach to life – and business. Australia’s golden girl is measured and calculated, and guards her image – or rather, her J Brand – closely.
Hawkins’ caution is for good reason: she has plenty to lose. If it’s not her role as face of Myer it’s her ambassadorial work for lingerie brand Lovable, health food company Bioglan, Mt Franklin Lightly Sparkling water, car company Land Rover, real estate development Trinity Point, her own swimwear brand COZI or her hosting gig on Foxtel show Australia’s Next Top Model.
The burgeoning mogul owns at least six companies, including her shoe brand JLH, her self-tanning brand J Bronze, her new tequila brand Sesion and her umbrella company Universal Strategies Pty Limited.
Inspired by Elle Macpherson?
Retail Doctor Group Founder Brian Walker says Hawkins is modelling herself on Elle Macpherson, who he credits with setting a precedent for model entrepreneurs.
“If we look at Elle as a comparison, we can see she branched out into intimate apparel and other products and she has since built a business that has a revenue stream not relying on her modelling credentials,” Mr Walker told The New Daily.
“[Macpherson] is now worth about $60 million … the question is whether Jen can do the same”.
Mr Walker says Hawkins’ business strategies can be grouped into categories: the “intangible” and “tangible”.
“For example, if Myer pays Jen $5 million, she’s going to have to generate $50 million in revenue, because there has to be a return on investment,” Mr Walker said.
“This is the intangible aspect to her business: it’s a mix of current and future value.”
On the other hand, revenue from her property portfolio and shares (Hawkins has Myer shares which, according to News Corp, were worth $1 million back in 2009) can be directly calculated.
Impressive property portfolio
Jen’s foray into property began in 2005, when she signed up as a spokeswoman for a new multimillion-dollar property development in Hong Kong.
Since then, the model has quietly amassed a portfolio which experts estimate is worth upwards of $10 million.
Property consultant Robert Klaric, located in Sydney, says Hawkins’ decisions to buy premium land and properties and then add value to them by either redeveloping or renovating shows financial acumen.
“Her strategy in terms of buying quality is critical: you know what they say, it’s all about location, and she’s always bought in the right places”.
Although Jennifer is a tight-lipped about her property acquisitions, it is estimated that she owns between four and six investment properties.
Last year, Hawkins sold off a three-bedroom investment property in the Newcastle suburb of Merewether for $731,000. According to Domain, the former beauty queen bought the house nine years ago for $620,000.
Hawkins and her husband of three years Jake Wall are known for their love of Sydney oceanfront properties, purchasing at least three homes in the beachside suburb of Curl Curl between 2007 and 2014.
One home, a three-bedroom cottage with a large pool and oceanic views, sold for just over $1.6 million in March 2013, while another five-bedroom property in Curl Curl was sold four years ago and is estimated to be worth $3.2 million.
In 2007, they bought a two-bedroom apartment in Bondi for $895,000, which they sold in September 2014 for $1.2 million.
Two years ago, the public got a rare glimpse into the model’s multi-million dollar waterfront property on Sydney’s northern beaches after she and husband Jake Wall put the penthouse on the market.
The couple built the four-bedroom, three-bathroom Curl Curl home after buying the headland lot for a reported $1,375,000 in 2010, and spent three years renovating the land with luxury Japanese-Australian architects Koichi Takada before finally putting it up for sale in 2014, netting a massive $4.1 million.
‘Quality and beauty’
Hawkins’ love for real estate has culminated in J Group Projects, a branch of her company J Group (which she runs with Wall) specialising in “high-end architectural designed home construction across Australia”.
J Group Projects’ latest venture involves two adjoining waterfront blocks Hawkins and Wall purchased in the affluent Sydney suburb of Newport for $4 million in 2014.
Mr Klaric, who often advises clients interested in Sydney’s waterfront properties, says Hawkins’ new home is just “quality real estate”.
“It’s also beautiful, and it goes hand-in-hand with the image she is wanting to project: real quality and beauty.”
He believes the beauty queen and Myer ambassador is worth at least $10 million – and that’s just based on her property portfolio.
For Mr Walker, Hawkins’ property investments can be seen as her “superannuation strategy”.
“The real estate empire that she’s creating is to make sure she always has something to fall back on in the event that something ever happens to her work environment,” Mr Klaric told The New Daily.
“It’s just really prudent business”.
Looks like this former Miss Universe has graduated to become a master of the universe.