Maye Musk: the atypical and complicated life of Elon Musk's mother
Elon Musk is among the richest men in the world and one of the most famous businessmen in contemporary history. Yet, few people know his mother, Maye.
Maye Musk is a sought-after model who, at over 70 years old, is still on the front line of the fashion industry.
Discreet, elegant, and very tall, Maye Musk has been Elon's companion in numerous events. In this case, the 2022 MET Gala.
The mother-son relationship appears to be excellent. In fact, Elon Musk considers his mother 'the only heroine' he admires, as he confessed on Twitter a few years ago.
The life of Maye Musk has not been easy. She moved across oceans, had a controversial marriage, and had to start her life from scratch with three children and an empty bank account.
Born in Canada in 1948, she moved to South Africa with her parents (Joshua and Winnifred Haldeman) when she was two years old. The family settled in the African country with their five children.
Chiropractors and adventurers by profession, the Haldemans made expeditions that drew much attention in the mid-20th century.
In fact, Joshua Haldeman has the honor of being the first pilot to arrive from South Africa to Australia without the aid of electronic instruments.
With their operational base in Pretoria, the Haldemans gave talks and presentations all over the world, detailing their travels.
The couple's regular visits to the Kalahari Desert, where they eagerly searched for the legendary Lost City, generated particular excitement.
Despite the fame, Maye Musk remembers her parents as very grounded and down to earth, she told The New York Times in an interview.
"My parents were very famous but they were never snobs," she recalls. For her son Elon Musk, too, the memory of his grandmother is special. "She was a wise and strong woman."
Maye Musk began working as a model at the age of 15. She posed for fashion catalogs and was managed by the modeling agency of her mother's friend.
When she was 20 years old, she entered the Miss South Africa pageant, where she became a finalist.
Alongside her work as a model, Maye Musk studied to become a nutritionist. Today she is a worldwide renowned nutritionist.
At the age of 21, in 1970, Maye Musk married her high school sweetheart Errol Musk. He would become an important engineer who made his fortune with emeralds and construction.
Maye and Errol Musk had three children: Elon (1971), Kimbal (1972), and Tosca (1974, pictured).
Nine years after getting married, in 1979, Errol and Maye Musk separated. The model did not sign the divorce until 1981, but by then, she had already been living with her children in Durban for two years.
The reason for the divorce, insiders say, was the physical and psychological aggression that Errol inflicted on Maye. Their son Elon told Rolling Stone that his father was an 'evil' person who deliberately planned bad things.
"He was such a terrible human being. You have no idea. My dad will have a carefully thought-out plan of evil... Almost every crime you can possibly think of, he has done," Musk said about his dad.
In 1989, Maye Musk moved to Canada, where Elon Musk had gone to study a year earlier. She did it without money, as her accounts had been blocked by her husband. In Canada, she worked as a nutritionist, a researcher at the University of Toronto, and a model.
As her children resorted to scholarships, loans, and jobs to study at the University, Maye Musk sacrificed everything she could to support her family.
When things began to improve, Maye Musk passed through San Francisco, New York, and, since 2013, Los Angeles, where she is living now.
Among her most memorable work is a shoot she did for New York Magazine at age 62, without clothes, and then a similar one for the health section of Time. She also made her appearance in the video clip 'Haunted' (2013) by Beyoncé.
Maye Musk was the first dietitian to appear on Special K cereal boxes. In addition, she has been the protagonist of campaigns for companies such as Target and Virgin America.
Interestingly, Maye Musk cut her hair and stopped dyeing it when she was 59. Although her white hair looks great on the model, she spent almost half a year without work and changed agencies because of her decision.
In 2015, at the age of 67, she signed a contract with the exclusive agency IMG Models. Two years later, she made history by becoming, at 69, the oldest model yet to star in a campaign for CoverGirl.
In 2022, she would appear on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. And that will surely not be the last we hear of Maye Musk!