Elon Musk, 50, is known as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world with roles in Tesla Motors, PayPal, and SpaceX, especially after his recent purchase of Twitter for $44 billion. Still, before he was in the spotlight, he grew up with one of his biggest influences, his mother Maye Musk, 74. Maye was a life-changing parent to Elon and his siblings, Kimbal and Tosca, and she’ll be a major presence in the life of Elon and his children.
Maye is clearly very close with her son. Elon brought her along to the 2022 Met Gala on May 2. While the entrepreneur sported a simple black and white tuxedo, his mom stunned in a velvet burgundy dress, which she accessorized with pearl necklaces and floral earrings.
While Maye is definitely supportive of her son and his achievements, she’s also led a successful and impressive life of her own. Find out more about her below.
Maye is a supermodel.
Maye was born in Canada in 1948. After starting out in the modeling business when she was only 15, Maye worked for decades in the print and runway parts of the industry. The work put her in a big spotlight and the cheeky beauty talked to Vanity Fair about her background. “My friends tell me: I was famous before Elon was famous,” she told the outlet in 2017. With her modeling past, it’s no surprise that Elon wanted her to be his date to the 2022 Met Gala.
After turning 60, Maye continued her modeling success when she decided to stop coloring her hair and proudly flaunted her white locks. Some of her work with her natural-colored hair include an ad for Virgin America and a came in Beyonce‘s music video for “Haunted.” She also became the oldest ambassador for CoverGirl at the age of 69 in 2017.
She has two Master’s degrees.
One is in dietetics and the other is in nutritional science. She started a dietitian practice in South Africa and went on to reestablish the business when she moved to Canada in her 40s. She’s been open about the fluctuation of her weight over the years and often shares her journey in learning to eat healthier.
Maye is an author.
The successful businesswoman wrote a few books that are based on her life and work as a dietician. Feel Fantastic was released in 1996 and A Woman Makes a Plan: Advice for a Lifetime of Adventure, Beauty, and Success was released in 2019. In addition to life advice, Maye’s latest book includes healthy recipes that she herself eats on a regular basis.
She’s appeared in beauty pageants.
After a friend reportedly entered Maye in a beauty pageant when she was 20, she ended up winning and and became a finalist for Miss South Africa in 1969.
Maye is a domestic abuse survivor.
Maye and Elon’s dad Errol Musk got married in 1970, but she claims things eventually went downhill after he started to allegedly abused her and make her cut off contact with her family. Seeking a divorce was hard considering that at the time, South Africa’s divorce laws didn’t consider abuse to be a good enough reason to end the marriage. When the laws changed in 1979, Maye was able to walk away from the marriage and lived as a single mother. She went on to openly talk about the process in interviews and in her 2019 book.
“After my divorce, I had to house and feed three kids without maintenance,” she told the Huffington Post. “Poverty makes you work really hard. I remember crying when one of my kids spilled milk. The saying goes ‘don’t cry over spilled milk.’ I cried because I couldn’t buy another milk that day.”
Her hard work and determination ultimately led to success and her ability to provide comfortably for her and her children. “I never felt guilty about working full-time, because I didn’t have a choice,” she told CNBC. “Taking care of my children was the top priority; I worked hard to keep a roof over our heads, food in our stomach, and basic clothes on our back.”