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Each of the women on Forbes’ list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women has their own unique story of how they achieved success. While some were born into wealth, others started from more humble beginnings and had to overcome significant obstacles to get where they are today. Forbes has created a self-made score system, ranging from 6 to 10, to provide context about where these women started out socio-economically.

Members of the list who received a score of 6 include individuals who achieved success and built significant fortunes through executive roles, such as Meg Whitman and Safra Catz. Those with a score of 7, like Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner, got a head start from wealthy parents and a moneyed background. Over half of the list, 54 members, received a score of 8, indicating they came from a middle-class or upper-middle-class background, including Nora Roberts, Reese Witherspoon, and Shuo Wang.

Women on the list who earned a score of 9 came from working-class backgrounds and rose from little to nothing, such as Eren Ozmen and Serena Williams. Ozmen and her husband immigrated from Turkey and bought Sierra Nevada Corporation through a management buyout, while Williams started playing tennis on public courts in Los Angeles’ Compton neighborhood. Five members of the list received a score of 10, indicating they not only grew up poor but also overcame significant obstacles. This includes newcomers like bourbon entrepreneur Fawn Weaver, who was homeless for a period in her 20s, and well-known figures like Oprah Winfrey, Barbra Streisand, Dolly Parton, and Rihanna.

These women have proven that with determination, hard work, and resilience, it is possible to achieve immense success regardless of one’s starting point. Their stories serve as inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs, executives, and entertainers, showing that with the right mindset and opportunities, anyone can overcome adversity and reach their full potential. Forbes’ list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women highlights the diverse paths to success taken by these women, showcasing their strength and tenacity in the face of challenges.

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