Few models can boast having a career that lasts even five years. Maye Musk's career has spanned five decades. The South African–Canadian model (and mother of Elon Musk) celebrates her 69th birthday this week and has been in the business since she was just a teenager. "When I was 15, they said at 18, I'm done," she recalled when we caught up with her at The Daily Front Row's third annual Fashion Los Angeles Awards earlier this month. They, it turns out, couldn't have been more wrong.
Musk has seen steady success as a model in spite of these initial warnings. "I think I'm doing more exciting things now than I've ever done," confessed Musk, noting how the industry has shifted to wanting older models. The lifelong model signed with IMG in 2015, and her career shows no signs of slowing down. "I'm surprised that it's going so well, and I'm enjoying every moment of it." When she was young, Musk was prepared to have her modeling career cut short. "That's why I studied a lot—I've got two masters of science degrees because I knew that's what I'm going to be doing," she explained. "But now the modeling has taken over … I still give talks on nutrition because I'm a dietitian, but I'm doing more modeling than nutrition, which is a big surprise."
We asked Musk to share the number one piece of style advice she would give to her younger self, and her reply was simple: "to go a little different and be a little more creative." Her current style certainly demonstrates this uniqueness and creative risk-taking. Musk listed Emilia Wickstead and Zaid Affas as two of her favorite designers. "Each one is different and each one suits a certain look at a certain event," she said. "It's just nice to choose different—especially new or lesser-known—designers." At the event, Musk sported a dynamic Dries Van Noten ensemble made up of an opalescent turquoise top and ornate purple wide-leg pants, though her day-to-day stylings are a bit more subdued. "I'm quite relaxed at home—today it was jeans and a T-shirt and sneakers because I was walking my dog and visiting my grandkids," she described, "but I do like to get very glam when I come to an event like this so that people—the creative people–are appreciated for their talent."
Now check out one of Maye Musk's stunning photo shoots and shop swimsuits that are perfect no matter your age.