THE Only Way Is Essex started life as a show starring people no-one had ever heard of on a little-watched TV channel.
So it’s is some achievement that these days its stars are now among the richest celebrities in Britain – and the show a huge hit that has thrived for more than a decade.
Towie’s cast are unlikely to have ever imagined how much money they would makeCredit: Rex
But who has done best from the fame game? Well, according to a new report published today there are some clear winners.
Mark Wright is at the top of the tree according to the Sunday Mirror – with some surprising names also filling up the Top 10 of wealth.
Here we reveal the wannabes who turned their reality fame into serious riches and just how they did it…
Mark Wright (£9.1m)
Mark Wright turned Towie into a springboard to a world of big-money jobsCredit: Splash News
The star owns a fitness clothing range with actress wife Michelle KeeganCredit: Instagram
The reality rich list estimates Mark’s riches at £9.1million – perhaps no surprise since he’d done every job going, from Hollywood TV presenter to football star.
His remarkable work rate has paid off too thanks to his Train Wright fitness website and the Mysa Active gymwear line he has with wife Michelle Keegan.
Mark is also thought to be on the cusp of launching a clothing range called AYTEE7 after 1987, the year of his birth (say it out loud).
Perhaps it’s no wonder the plans for their new house are so fancy they make Buckingham Palace look a bit shabby.
Samantha Faiers (£8.8m)
Sam Faiers, seen here with sister Billie in 2011, was in the first ever episode of TowieCredit: Rex
She is now a millionaire many times over and owner of a string of big businessesCredit: Rex
The success of Sam’s show The Mummy Diaries has kept the money rolling in for the likeable star – and her older sister Billie.
She became a multi-millionaire long before she hit 30 at the end of last year, having made an estimated £8.8million from TV and endorsement deals.
Sam left Towie in 2014, following it up with an appearance on Celebrity Big Brother and becoming sought-after by big business.
She launched clothing lines with River Island, Quiz and Very, has her own home furnishings line, a fragrance, a babywear collection and her own fashion range. So probably best not to call her lazy.
The star also has a string of books – everything from a guide to being a ‘Towie’ girl to her new-mum secrets – worth at least £750,000 and she signed a £250,000 deal with Pampers in 2019.
Sam also founded Essex favourite Minnie’s Boutique, which Billie now runs.
The older sibling is worth £4million in her own right, according to number-crunchers, making £500,000 alone from plugging fast-fashion empire In The Style.
Joey Essex (£6.3m)
Joey Essex, here posing by his swimming pool with a snake at his 30th birthdayCredit: Instagram
The 30-year-old star showed off his personalised Lamborghini on MTV’s CribsCredit: MTV Cribs
It probably suits Joey Essex that everyone thinks he’s a total airhead – because all the while he’s raking in a fortune.
As anyone who has seen his incredible house knows, the former Towie favourite, 30, is not short of a bob or two (or 6.3million).
He’s appeared on every reality show going from his own hit Educating Joey Essex to I’m A Celeb, Celebs Go Dating, Celebrity SAS and pretty much any show that ever had ‘Celebrity’ in the title.
In the past he has had a clothing and hair products line and commands huge money for personal appearances.
Joey has also made six-figure sums by endorsing McDonalds, Jaffa Cakes and even soup and once released a song called Reem, though that’s not thought to be a big contributor to his riches.
Gemma Collins (£3.7m)
Gemma Collins, seen here in 2011, joined Towie in its third seriesCredit: Rex
The star now has her own clothing line and a string of endorsement dealsCredit: Instagram @gemmacollins
The reality rich list published today puts Gemma Collins on an estimated £3.7million thanks to TV, endorsements and her own clothing line.
The 40-year-old former car dealer runs her own fashion empire, has a range with Boohoo and is renowned for landing big endorsement deals.
The ‘meme queen’ surprised everyone in 2017 when she popped up on Orange is the New Black to plug the show and has even been the face of an airline.
She’s fronted her own show Diva Forever and presented on Loose Women and This Morning.
Her endlessly quotable TV appearances on the likes of Big Brother – “I’m claustrophobic Darren” have appeared on all manner of products.
And the savvy businesswomen even adapted them for the lockdown age. “I’m claustrophobic, Boris” anyone?
James ‘Arg’ Argent (£1.1m)
James ‘Arg’ Argent is thought to be a millionaire on the back of big brand dealsCredit: Louis Wood News Group Newspaper Ltd
Like pal Mark Wright he is one of the original stars of The Only Way Is EssexCredit: Rex
Gemma’s maybe-on maybe-off boyfriend has made no secret of his struggles, but he’s managed to bag a small fortune himself.
James is thought to have made £1.1million thanks to Instagram brand deals as well as stints on everything from Sugar Free Farm to The Jump and Celebrity Coach Trip.
The 33-year-old star, now facing a gastric op after hitting 26 stone, also has enduring star power thanks to his eight years on Towie.
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