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10 hottest billionaire heiresses

May 17, 2007 12:10 IST

There are thousands of gals out there who are related to billionaires. But only a few of them have the buzz to go with the bling. These modern princesses have become celebrities in their own right, photographed at fashion shows, nightclubs or in the streets, and followed around like movie stars.

So who are the most fabulous of the bunch? We evaluated all the familiar faces to come up with our second annual list of the world's 10 hottest heiresses. To compile our list, we considered the size of their relatives' fortune and their relationship to the billionaire. Daughters, for instance, were given more points than more distant relations.

In pictures:
Hottest billionaire heiresses
World's billionaires 2007
Celebrity billionaires

But because this list is more about that buzz than billions, we gave three times more weight to exposure as measured by Google hits, mentions in print publications and media transcripts. No surprise that six of the winning women are under the age of 30, seven are single and all of them are attractive.

Grabbing the No. 1 spot by a wide margin is Paris Hilton, the great-granddaughter of Hilton Hotels founder Conrad Hilton. At the time, she had 18 times as many media hits as the next person. The press's favorite celebutante made news in the past year for reuniting with her estranged best friend Nicole Richie and for her rumored romances with shipping heir Stavros Niarchos, quarterback Matt Leinart and television star Josh Henderson. The grotesque overexposure eventually prompted The Associated Press to institute a weeklong ban on Paris Hilton stories.

But all of that was eclipsed by the biggest news story yet: In early May, Paris was sentenced to 45 days in jail for driving with a suspended license. The grim news only raised her already sizzling profile, as hundreds of television stations, magazines and newspapers ran stories on her prison term, even speculating on how she might look in zebra stripes.

In pictures:
Young billionaires
Billionaire women we envy

Scandal also helped propel her sister, Nicky Hilton, to the list's third spot. Nicky, whose breakup with Entourage star Kevin Connolly was well chronicled, got lots of bad press for her failed forays into the hotel business. Her Nicky O Hotel in Florida's South Beach reportedly went belly up, and her developer on a planned Chicago hotel sued her for allegedly using him to underwrite her lavish lifestyle. The suit was dismissed.

In second place between the Hilton sisters is another native New Yorker, Ivanka Trump, the brainy businesswoman who is helping her famous dad develop properties in far-flung locales like Dubai. Ivanka raised her profile in the past year with frequent appearances in the boardroom alongside The Donald on The Apprentice as well as sharing a Forbes cover with her dad and brother.

In pictures:
Billionaire bachelors
New billionaires

Newcomers to the list included two Brits, Tamara Ecclestone and Holly Branson. Daughter of Formula 1's Bernie Ecclestone, Tamara is following closely in Paris' footsteps. The former model hosts a reality-TV series and is filming another show with younger sister Petra, to be called The Ecclestone Girls.

Holly Branson, whose father is high-profile marketer Richard Branson, is good friends with Prince William and was recently all over the tabloid news for dancing and chatting with him at a London nightclub soon after his breakup with Kate Middleton. Both Tamara and Holly have been named to U.K. lists of the most eligible bachelorettes.

Rounding out our top 10 are television star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, candy entrepreneur Dylan Lauren, Lily Pulitzer model Amanda Hearst, Estée Lauder Vice President Aerin Lauder and LVMH board member Delphine Arnault Gancia.

Billionaire blunders

As for drop-offs from last year's list--Amanda Hearst's cousin and a fellow model Lydia Hearst-Shaw, Russian socialite Anna Anisimova and award-winning equestrian Georgina Bloomberg--all three failed to make the cut this time.

We'll continue to watch them along with such fresh faces as Robert Johnson's daughter Paige, another equestrian who was named one of Washington, D.C.'s 25 most beautiful people.

Chaniga Vorasarun and Luisa Kroll, Forbes