Back in 2016, Alux ranked Willow Smith as the 10th richest kid in the world with a net worth of $4 million. These days, she's worth even more. Will Smith's youngest child is now worth a very considerable $6 million. It might not be quite as much as her big brother Jaden Smith's fortune (according to Celebrity Net Worth), Jaden is currently worth $8 million) but it's still hugely impressive - even more so when you consider she's just 20 years old. How did she do it? Sit tight, because you're about to find out.
When your dad's worth $350 million, you could probably go through your entire life without lifting a finger. But Will Smith's kids are clearly intent on forging their own path. Willow's very first job came at the age of just 7 years old when she landed a role alongside her dad in 'I Am Legend.' The experience clearly gave her an appetite for working: just a year later, she starred in her second major movie, ‘Kit Kittredge: An American Girl.' That same year, she booked her first voice-over job with the character of young Gloria in ‘Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.’ Coincidentally enough, her mom, Jada Pinkett Smith, was cast as the older Gloria. A year later, Willow made the move into music. Her film career was put on hold, and by and large, she's concentrated more on making albums than she has on making movies in the years since. But that's not to say she's abandoned it completely. In 2009, she provided the voice of Abby in 'Merry Madagascar.' Between 2009 and 2010, she starred in two episodes of ‘True Jackson, VP.' In 2017, she provided the voice of Helenist in 'Neo Yokio.' Her last adventure on the big screen came as the voice of Beth the Pup Princess in 2018s 'Adventure Time.'
Just a year after Willow made her film debut in 'I Am Legend,' Willow's mother, Jada Pinkett Smith, announced on 'Lopez Tonight' that her daughter would be releasing an album. The announcement was quickly followed up by Willow's first single, 'Whip My Hair'. The single was a huge hit, peaking at number 11 on the US charts and number 2 in the UK. Within just a couple of weeks of release, it had certified platinum and pulled in over a million views on YouTube. The resounding success of ‘Whip My Hair’ was swiftly followed up by Willow's second single, '21st Century Girl.' Unfortunately, the single didn't prove quite as successful as its predecessor, charting at number 99 in the US. But that didn't stop her from continuing. Over the next couple of years, Willow collaborated extensively with other artists, including Jaden, Pia Mia, Kid Cudi, Hana Vu, Jesse Boykins III, Syd, and Nicki Minaj.
In 2013, Willow attracted controversy when she released the single 'Summer Fling.' Critics savaged the single for its mature lyrics, saying it was inappropriate for such a young girl. Undaunted, Smith bounced back the following year with a live concert in New York and the announcement of an upcoming EP. In 2016, she released her debut album, ‘Ardipithecus.’ Despite being dismissed by critics, the album managed to achieve a respectable number 15 chart position on the Heatseekers Albums chart. Her second album, ‘1st,’ received a better reception with critics, with Pitchfork calling it a 'huge leap in the right direction' and praising her ' organic, substantial, and raw' sound. The album was accompanied by a major tour.
In 2019, Willow dropped her third album, ‘Willow,’ in collaboration with producer Tyler Cole. The album was well-received, with NME describing it as a 'mellow and melodic blend of psychedelic folk and dreamy R&B built around gentle guitar strums' that proved Willow had the talent to 'stand apart from her dynastic family.' In March 2020, Willow collaborated again with Tyler Cole on 'The Anxiety,' which was praised as the perfect album for quarantine.
Red Table Talk
The NME may have given Willow the ultimate compliment of saying her talent was enough for her to stand apart from her family, but no one's going to deny that the Smith name holds a certain intrigue - something Willow has been astute enough to capitalize on several times. Case in point - ‘Red Table Talk.’ In 2018, Willow teamed up with her mother and grandmother to star in the web television talk show that promised to offer 'a forum where the perspectives of three different generations on a wide variety of topics are shared.' It proved a runaway hit. USA Today praised it for its 'insightful guests, no-holds-barred topics and Smith’s magnetic hosting presence' while The Washington Post said, 'It's a shrewd business move for the Smiths to acknowledge and address long-standing rumors about their family in a format they can control. That said, there's an authenticity woven throughout the episodes that makes Red Table Talk stand out amid a surplus of celebrity-hosted talk shows.' The series now has three seasons under its belt, along with a 2019 Daytime Emmy Award nomination in the informative talk-show category and an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Host in a Talk or News / Information (Series or Special) - Individual or Ensemble.
She may have been born with a silver spoon in her mouth, but life hasn't always been a smooth ride for Willow. Speaking to Girl Gaze in 2017, the then 17-year-old Willow gave us an insight into the struggles of growing up in the public eye. "I feel like most kids like me end up going down a spiral of depression," she said, "and the world is sitting there looking at them through their phones; laughing and making jokes and making memes at the crippling effect that this lifestyle has on the psyche." But fortunately, she's managed to ride out the tough times and come out the other side. Although she might have her family name to thank for opening up the door to opportunity, it's her own talent and ambition that can take the credit for propelling her career forward. Whereas child stars have an unfortunate reputation for spiraling out of control in their 20s, Willow seems to have a firm grasp on who she is, what she wants, and what it takes to get it. Her brother may be winning in the rich stakes for now, but we doubt it'll be long before Willow catches him up.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee