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Top 10 Celebrity Business Fails

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script Written by Nathan Sharp. Maybe these celebrities should’ve just stuck to what they’re good at. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 celebrity business fails. For this list, we’re focusing on people who gained their celebrity in movies, music, whatever, and who decided to use their fame to venture into business – only those endeavors didn’t work out so well. These enterprises were either critically panned or commercially unsuccessful, but more often than not, it was a combination of the two. Special thanks to our user kenn1987 for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Transcript
Script written by Nathan Sharp.

Top 10 Celebrity Business Fails


Maybe these celebrities should’ve just stuck to what they’re good at. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 celebrity business fails.

For this list, we’re focusing on people who gained their celebrity in movies, music, whatever, and who decided to use their fame to venture into business – only those endeavors didn’t work out so well. These enterprises were either critically panned or commercially unsuccessful, but more often than not, it was a combination of the two.

#10: Fashion Cafe
Naomi Campbell, Elle Macpherson, Claudia Schiffer & Christy Turlington

These four supermodels decided to go into the restaurant business in the mid-1990s, and why not use their area of expertise as a theme? With two businessmen brothers, the ladies opened New York’s Fashion Cafe in 1995, and quickly began construction on a London location that never opened. The restaurant never drew crowds, and critics found the connection between fashion and food puzzling, saying the theme was off-putting to customers – or at least didn’t inspire them to, y’know, eat. That, plus in-fighting between the supermodels, compounded by the fact that their businessmen partners were arrested for fraud, bankruptcy and money laundering, meant the restaurant closed in 1998.

#9: Shaq Fu
Shaquille O’Neal

You’re a major basketball star and popular personality in the early-1990s: what do you do? Make a 2D fighting game starring yourself, of course! The “Shaq Fu” videogame was released in 1994 for Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo, and is often listed among the worst videogames ever. With a terrible title and premise, which sees you playing as Shaquille O’Neal in battles against otherworldly enemies – all while on your way to a charity basketball game in Tokyo, of course – the game was bound to fail. You’re good at a lotta things, Shaq, but you weren’t meant for the gaming community.

#8: Nicky O Hotels
Nicky Hilton

As heir to the world famous Hilton brand of hotels, you’d think that Nicky would have some business smarts – especially when it comes to the family biz. Well, evidently, not so much. Meant to be a lavish chain of hotels with a signature scent, designer suites and other extravagant details, with original locations in Miami and Chicago, the business never got off the ground. The company filed for bankruptcy after one year, and to add insult to injury, Hilton was later sued by her partners for breach of contract. That business-savvy gene may’ve skipped a generation…

#7: Flav’s Fried Chicken
Flavor Flav

In the early 2010s, Flavor Flav tried to make it in the fast food business, hoping that his fried chicken-oriented restaurant – which used his secret home-grown recipe – would provide competition to KFC. Well, he was wrong. After opening one store in January 2011 in Iowa, the restaurant quickly closed just three months later. The reason behind the closing is disputed, with Flav blaming manager Nick Cimino for mismanagement, and Cimino blaming Flav for being largely absent from the business and for his general lack of knowledge about the restaurant biz. Either way, it was a failure.

#6: Té Casan Vegan Footwear
Natalie Portman

This famous actress is an outspoken vegan, advocating animal rights on a regular basis, but her love of animals did not mix as well with her business ambitions as she might’ve hoped. Portman partnered with designer shoe store Té Casan in 2008 to create vegan-friendly footwear, meaning shoes that are not made from any animal byproduct, and a portion of the proceeds would go towards animal charities. While it was undoubtedly a good cause and idea, the shoes flopped, as no one ended up buying them. Later that year, the store closed, leaving Portman’s business dreams unfulfilled.

#5: Tourist Destination: Braselton, Ga.
Kim Basinger

This model and actress had big ambitions, planning to turn a nowhere town, Braselton, Georgia to be exact, into a major tourist destination. With plans of hosting large film festivals and building movie studios to attract the Hollywood crowd, Basinger bought the town for $20 million in 1989. However, after some unrelated financial difficulties, she was forced to sell the land in 1995 for a fraction of her original investment. She had big dreams, but unfortunately, they did not come to light, and Braselton remains a relatively tourist-free town of 8,000.

#4: Pastelle Clothing
Kanye West Kanye may think he is the king of all music, but his career in business has struggled to reach those same heights. In 2005, fashion plate West began to have dreams of his own fashion line, and started sampling his clothes to crowds at his concerts. Pictures of the threads then went online, but almost immediately it was announced that the Pastelle line was done and no clothes would ever be released. Despite this failure, however, Yeezy went on to release a relatively successful women’s brand; so we’re thinking we haven’t seen the last of Mr. West’s passion for fashion.

#3: Kardashian Kard
Kardashian Sisters

In 2010, the Kardashian sisters launched the Kardashian Kard: a bright, glitzy-looking credit card that actually acted as a prepaid debit card, and targeted to young adults, specifically women, who were still trying to get on their feet financially. The card was canceled less than one month after its release due to extremely high fees, legal problems and tons of bad press. The girls made a statement, saying they didn’t want anything to do with predatory lending and that their reputation as “honest, ethical, and fun-loving individuals who are kind and caring to others” was too important to sacrifice, thus why they scrapped it.

#2: XFL
Vince McMahon

In 2000, WWE owner Vince McMahon started the XFL, an extreme version of football that was meant to keep the football crowd entertained during the off-season. The sport never took off, as it was never taken seriously due to outrageous rules and its general extreme nature, which people couldn’t disassociate from the WWE. Worse yet, some spectators accused the XFL of being scripted, with outcomes predetermined for maximum excitement factor. Lasting only one season, broadcaster NBC canceled XFL due to abysmal television ratings and poor reception of the sport itself. Guess it’s back to baseball.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

- 38 Studios
Curt Schilling

- Madrè’s Restaurant
Jennifer Lopez

- Pastamania
Hulk Hogan

- Nyla Restaurant
Britney Spears

#1: Planet Hollywood
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore & Sylvester Stallone

Aiming to duplicate the success of the Hard Rock Café, this Hollywood-themed restaurant allowed patrons to eat while looking at real props from movies and other various film-related items – with various A-listers backing the venture. The company opened its doors in 1991, but high prices and mediocre food kept patrons away, leaving the restaurant’s shares to drop dramatically. Planet Hollywood has since filed for bankruptcy twice, and – while at one point there were over 100 locations worldwide – today there are fewer than 10 remaining. Arnie has also severed his ties with the company, claiming that the restaurant never had the success he dreamed it would – and we don’t blame him.

Do you agree with our list? What celebrity business failure do you consider to be the worst? For more hilarious top tens published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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