Brain Food: How she made her pile - Madonna Ciccone, Pop Star

Who is she? The most successful female artist ever, and thought to be worth an estimated £350 million. Married to mockney film director Guy Ritchie, she has a £7 million Mayfair home and an £8 million mansion in Beverly Hills.

How did she earn her millions? Legend has it that Madonna arrived in New York from Michigan in 1978 with only $35 in her pocket, determined to find fame. She hit the big time in the '80s as a singer, becoming the Material Girl everyone loved. She has gone on to sell more than 140 million albums. Madonna set up her record company, Maverick, in 1992, but she has also tried her hand at acting (to little acclaim) and writing a children's book.

The secret of her success? The queen of reinvention is lauded as a clever marketer, though her success must be attributed to ambition, hard work and unwavering focus. 'I'm not one 100th as scheming as people think,' she pleads.

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