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At 74, Maye Musk — yes, Elon’s mom — becomes oldest Sports Illustrated swimsuit model

A woman and a man in matching black outfits smile onstage.
Elon Musk brought out his mother, Maye, when he hosted “Saturday Night Live” in 2021.
(Will Heath / NBC)

Maye Musk wants all women to feel confident in their swimwear.

The longtime model — and mother of Tesla and SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk — just made history on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition. At age 74, she’s the oldest woman to grace the cover of the magazine’s annual issue — and she has a message for women everywhere.

“When women go to the beach, we’re kind of shy about our bodies, but men will walk around, looking terrible, and they don’t care,” she told People. “I think we have to not care that much!”

Musk herself is no stranger to the bright lights. She first began modeling at age 15 while living in South Africa, later coming in as a finalist for the 1969 Miss South Africa beauty competition.

However, her profile skyrocketed in recent years after she posed nude for Time magazine’s health issue in 2011. Soon after, she became Covergirl’s oldest spokesmodel at age 69 and also appeared in Beyoncé's “Haunted” music video at age 65.

“I didn’t think age would be a problem because as a dietician and a scientist, age is not a problem,” Musk told Sports Illustrated. “I’m just so happy that people are actually booking me for talks on ageism and how to feel good about yourself at any age. I’m also very proud that I can give a message to women in the world to aim for happiness, do things you like to do, mix with nice people, be kind to everyone because you never know and pursue whatever you’d wish to do. I really am living the best life ever, and I never expected it.”

For the record:

10:21 a.m. May 17, 2022An earlier version of this story described Tosca Musk as Maye Musk’s son. Tosca is Maye Musk’s daughter.

As part of the cover package, Musk’s daughter Tosca wrote a heartfelt letter to her mother, admiring her journey and accomplishments. Remarking how her mother “wasn’t like the other mothers I knew growing up,” she praised Musk’s work ethic and ability to reinvent herself, while also calling her the most fearless woman she’s ever known.

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After the Tesla chief dismissed meme-inspired cryptocurrency dogecoin during his ‘Saturday Night Live’ hosting gig, its value dropped nearly 30%.

“My whole life, I’ve seen my mom do everything,” she wrote. “As a result I think I’ll always expect her to be able to do everything. Sometimes I wonder whether it’s time I start limiting those expectations, as she gets older. But then I look at her again, still unstoppable, and I think, Not yet.”

Before Musk, Kathy Jacobs was the oldest rookie model to be featured in the swimsuit issue when she was 57, although she didn’t land the cover.

Musk is one of four women — the others being Kim Kardashian, Ciara and Yumi Nu — to have received their own Sports Illustrated swimsuit covers this year.


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