Maye Musk is proving to women–both young and old–that beauty and grace are timeless and you can make history at any age.
In May, the model with over 50 years of experience in the fashion world, proved that age really is just a number–she posed on the cover of Sports Illustrated Magazine wearing a tasteful one piece maillot de bain. With her hair cropped in a short, sleek do, minimal maquillage, and the confidence of a woman who has mastered her talent, Musk’s SI cover exemplifies the art of aging gracefully.
She’s also breaking barriers. Maye’s cover, where she dons a Maygel Coronel one-piece suit, is the first Sports Illustrated cover that features a model of her age (she’s 74 years old). And she’s happy about it. “It feels great,” Maye says in an interview with The New York Post. “I’ve been modeling for 50 years, and I wasn’t considered a ‘swimsuit model,’ but now Sports Illustrated has let me know that they have a wide diversity of swimsuit models. I think it’s wonderful.”
Set in tropical Belize, using the coastline as backdrop, Musk approached the photoshoot with style and class. She dons an assortment of beautifully cut swimwear that are flattering to a woman’s curves from top designers such as Zimmermann, Angelys Balek, Maygel Coronel, Bahia Maria, Cali Dreaming, OYE, and ERES.
Maye wants her cover to redefine the conversation around aging, women, and their bodies. “I think [women] of all ages [ . . . ] they’re scared of aging, and they’re scared they won’t look good in a swimsuit,” Maye says to the Post. “So now you know that I’m setting an example so women can walk freely in swimsuits and not worry about it.”
A model by trade, Maye has a reputation for making strides in the fashion industry. Musk found her calling by gracing the covers of some of the most popular magazines in the United States such as Women’s Day and Time Magazine. Her face has also been on international editions of Vogue Magazine.
By the time she was 21 years old, Maye’s coquettish look–blonde hair, deep set eyes, and slender build–garnered her a spot as a finalist in the Miss South Africa beauty competition in 1969. A year later, she married Errol Musk, a South African engineer and birthed three children: Tosca, Kimbal, and Elon.
Musk knows a thing or two about multi-tasking between a growing family at home while expanding her career. She learned the formula from her parents. Born Maye Haldeman as a twin in Canada, Maye was always a part of the good life. Her parents, Winnifred Josephine “Wyn” Fletcher and Dr. Joshua Norman Haldeman, a chiropractor, gave her and her siblings a taste of wanderlust, regularly traveling the globe in a prop plane. According to reports, Norman moonlighted as an archeologist, bringing his family to exotic locales such as the Kalahari desert. The Haldeman family later relocated to Pretoria, South Africa.
Like her father before her, Maye pursued her education while raising her children, earning a master’s degree in dietetics from the University of the Orange Free State. She later earned another master’s degree in nutritional science from the University of Toronto.
She’s also incredibly observant when it comes to her kids. In light of Elon’s public sharing of his now stalled Twitter deal on social media, she shares that she hid the news of her impending cover shoot from her brood, fearing that they’d leak the story to social media. “I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone,” Maye says to the Post. “Nobody knew. I haven’t told my kids–I can’t tell anyone until Monday. [Elon] doesn’t even know I went to Belize.”
Maye’s cover is part of Sports Illustrated’s push for inclusivity. This year for the annual issue, the publication focused on different sizes, figures, and race.