Elon Musk’s mom, Maye, becomes oldest model to grace Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover

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Maye Musk says she never considered herself to be a swimsuit model. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
Maye Musk says she never considered herself to be a swimsuit model. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

Looking stunning in a one-piece orange suit, the 74-year-old supermodel made history as the oldest model to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit issue.

“It’s about time!” she shared the news on Instagram. Maye Musk is the mother of billionaire Elon Musk. 

The Canadian-born model, who wears a swimsuit by Colombian designer Maygel Coronel on the cover, also revealed she had to keep the news about the shoot in the South American country of Belize a secret.

“I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone. Nobody knew,” she told the New York Post.

Maye said she didn’t go on any extreme diets to prepare for the shoot.

“I don’t do crazy diets; you lose your energy. When I need to lose weight, I take away my high-fat foods — no fries, or fried chicken or sauces. I’d cut out dessert, and then I can drop a couple of pounds quite quickly.”

READ MORE | From classroom nerd to mega billionaire: Elon Musk’s sister chats to us about the world’s richest man

The beauty, who was married to Elon’s father, Errol, for nine years, says she hopes her gracing the cover of the magazine will help redefine the conversation around ageing and so-called bikini bodies.

“I think woman of all ages . . . they’re scared of aging, and they’re scared they won’t look good in a swimsuit. So now you know that I’m setting an example so women can walk freely in swimsuits and not worry about it.”

This isn't the first time Maye, who's also the mother of Elon’s siblings Kimbal and Tosca Musk, has got people talking.

The model, who's a big advocate for ageing gracefully, posed nude for Time magazine’s health issue in 2010.  

In 2011, at the age of 63, she posed with a fake pregnant belly and her natural grey hair on the 2011 cover of New York Magazine to portray women over 50 having children.  

Then, at the age of 69, American cosmetics company CoverGirl picked her to become their oldest ambassador.

She also made a cameo appearance in Beyonce´’s music video for Haunted in 2017.

READ MORE | The great Twitter takeover: why Elon Musk wanted it so badly

But life hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the model.

After moving to South Africa in 1950 with her parents, she met Errol in high school and married him in 1970. She divorced the engineer in 1979, citing abuse she allegedly suffered during the marriage.

“I was too scared to tell anyone [about the violence]. Like every abused woman, I was embarrassed,” she later told Harper’s Bazaar.

After returning to Canada, she was at one stage working five jobs just to survive.

“I was a research officer at the University of Toronto. I was teaching two nights a week at a nutrition college, and two weeks a night at a modelling agency, I modelled, and I gave talks, and I had a private practice,” she told Forbes.

She holds two master’s degrees. The first is a master's degree in dietetics from the University of the Free State, and another in nutritional science from the University of Toronto.

The grandmother of 13 isn’t planning on slowing down anytime soon.

She’s going to the Cannes Film Festival and Korea to promote her new book, A Woman Makes a Plan, over the next few weeks. Maye previously told The New York Times, “I'll never retire. My mum never retired. I’ll work until no one wants me anymore, and then I’ll find something else and I’ll still be a dieticiandoing nutrition research, which I love.”

Maye is one of four cover girls for the latest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition. She joins Kim Kardashian, Ciara and Yumi Nu on the glossy front page.

SI Swimsuit editor-in-chief MJ Day says the edition celebrates women who represent a wide range of backgrounds and body types.

“No matter your age, whether you’re a new mom, partner, sister, entertainer, athlete, entrepreneur, advocate, student, mentor, role model, leader or dreamer – or all of the above – we want to celebrate these women, their evolution and the many dimensions of who they are,” Day says.

Nu’s appearance on the cover, making her the first plus-sized model of Asian descent to do so, hasn’t been without controversy.

Canadian psychologist and author Jordan Peterson took to Twitter to voice his opinion on Nu's cover.

“Sorry. Not beautiful. And no amount of authoritarian tolerance is going to change that,” he tweeted on 16 May.

Jordan, who received backlash for his comments, has since left Twitter, leaving his staff to do the tweeting for him.  

In response, Nu took to TikTok to share her thoughts on the insult. The model used a verse from Nicki Minaj's song Itty Bitty Piggy. The viral video, titled Anyways, has already attracted more than 300 000 views and 50 000 likes.

Sources:,,,, Instagram, TikTok

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