Cover Photo: Getty Images

Meet the heiress of French cosmetics giant, L'Oréal

Ask anyone who the richest man in the world is and everyone will immediately think of names like Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos. However, the richest women in the world are not as widely known despite their major contributions to society and achievements.  

This week, Forbes released its list of the richest billionaires around the world and it was revealed that Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, the granddaughter of the founder of L’Oréal, is the richest woman in the world for the second year running.

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Meyers first appeared on Forbes’ World’s Billionaires List in 2018 after her mother Liliane Bettencourt died in September 2017. Bettencourt was the world’s richest woman at that time. Following her passing, Meyers inherited her wealth and became the world’s richest woman.

That said, little is still known about Meyers who has been known to shy away from media attention. Here’s everything we know about her.

1. She is a published author

Born and raised a Catholic, Meyer used her faith to explore the literary world; she wrote and published several Biblical commentaries that looked at words and expressions in the bible as well as the family trees and tribes that were present. 

She also wrote a book on the Greek Gods and focused on their genealogy.

2. She owns a 33 per cent stake in L'Oreal

One of the biggest and most recognisable cosmetics brands in the world is L’Oréal. And behind that brand was its founder Eugène Schueller, who was also Meyers’ grandfather.

Today, Meyers still owns a 33 per cent stake in the company, after inheriting her wealth from her mother. Despite the global pandemic that wreaked havoc on the world economy, L’Oréal reported that its sales revenue reached US$35.5 billion in 2021. 

3. She is a known philanthropist

Meyers is currently the president of a philanthropic foundation that she founded alongside her parents, Liliane and Andre Bettencourt, a politician. Created in 1987, the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation is one that aims to contribute to a better French society, promote inclusivity and boost France’s influence on the international stage in life sciences and the arts.

Since the foundation was founded, it has awarded prizes to 620 laureates and supported more than 1,000 projects that were led by talented individuals, teams, associations and organisations.

Additionally, Meyers and her family (along with L’Oréal as a company) donated US$226 million to help in the restoration of the iconic Notre Dame in Paris after a fire in 2019 left it badly damaged. 

4. She enjoys music and books

Despite coming from a family that always threw huge parties and participated in glamorous events, Meyers preferred to stay away from the spotlight.

According to a Vanity Fair report, she enjoyed playing the piano or indulging in books—hobbies that she picked up since she was a child. 

5. She is the 14th richest billionaire in the world

While Meyers is the richest woman on the Forbes billionaires’ list, she is also the 14th richest person in the world.

Following closely behind is Alice Walton, the daughter of the founder of American retail giant Walmart. 

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