Maye Musk’s Remarkable Journey: International Model, Domestic Abuse Survivor, Businesswoman and Mother of Elon Musk

Maye Musk's Remarkable Journey: International Model, Domestic Abuse Survivor, Businesswoman and Mother of Elon Musk

For those who do not know her, she is the mother of the wealthy Elon Musk, but she is also an optimistic and go-getter woman with a career glamour. Recognized as a top model internationally, this woman with a strong character, the most determined, has also experienced dark episodes, including episodes of domestic violence. Today, looking back, Maye Musk communicates his life lessons in his book.

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It can most certainly be said that Maye Musk, now 74, is a great lady who has done very well in life. But this woman has also known the worst, and that’s what she says has shaped her character over the decades.

From the outset we notice, on reading his book, that his parents were different from the others. His father liked to fly small planes and enjoyed going on adventures across the Kalahari Desert in Africa, taking his five children with him. Young, Maye Musk thus acquired a taste for risk, and this is what made her an ambitious woman who erected no limits or boundaries.


Maye Musk's Remarkable Journey: International Model, Domestic Abuse Survivor, Businesswoman and Mother of Elon Musk

Lessons of a Lifetime Book / Courtesy Photo

“We could go on an adventure through the desert for three weeks. My parents took risks, but it got me through the tough times. Very young, they made me understand that I had to make a plan to improve my life,” she explains.

Born in Canada, in Regina (Saskatchewan), Maye Musk will move, a few years later, to South Africa with her family. This is where she took her first steps as a model at the age of 15, after being a finalist in the Miss South Africa beauty pageant, and where she became a dietitian. It is also there that she will marry a South African engineer with whom she will have her three children, Elon, Kimbal and Tosca.

But Maye Musk will experience several rejections while trying to make a career as a model. Unable to support herself, she must return to nutrition. She obtained a master’s degree in nutritional science after returning to Canada. She will have to wait until she is 60 for her career to take off.

“Even when you are rejected, you must never give up, you must continue to persevere and continue to look for work”, she underlines. “You also have to really love what you do.”

Domestic violence

While living in South Africa with her husband and children, Maye Musk repeatedly suffered various abuses from her husband. Verbal violence, yes, but physical too. “The biggest challenge of my life was running away from my husband with three young children,” says Maye Musk. “I was terrified and had no self-confidence, I was destitute, especially since my husband had taken all my savings.”


Maye Musk's Remarkable Journey: International Model, Domestic Abuse Survivor, Businesswoman and Mother of Elon Musk

Photographer Susan Bowlus

Still surprising that a woman of this caliber could have tolerated her husband’s mistreatment for years. “The laws at that time in this part of the world did not favor divorces, even in situations of abuse,” recalls the one who had to move many times and not be afraid to start everything from scratch. “I had to wait for the laws to change and for women to be able to divorce their husbands. It saved my life.”

If she is aware that life can be cruel, the now mature lady is wiser than ever and has learned the hard-won lessons.

His great pride

Although her career may make many women green with envy, having graced the covers of several prestigious magazines, including the Time, and being Dior’s muse, it doesn’t seem to overwhelm her with vanity, which doesn’t prevent her from being proud to display her age, wearing gray hair and posing in a bathing suit, even sometimes naked. Nevertheless, when asked what she is most proud of, Maye Musk answers unequivocally. “My three children are my greatest pride! she exclaims. They are all doing good things in life, to make this world a better place.”

By discovering the extraordinary journey of Maye Musk, we also better understand that of her son, the multi-billionaire Elon Musk, whom she describes as gifted since his adolescence, capable of memorizing the encyclopedia British in no time.

As for the various setbacks that life has in store for us, here is the philosophy she instilled in her children. “You can’t control everything that happens to you in life, but you can have the life you want at any age. You just need to have a plan”, concludes the one who lives in New York today.


Maye Musk's Remarkable Journey: International Model, Domestic Abuse Survivor, Businesswoman and Mother of Elon Musk

photo creditKevin Lynch

The lessons of a lifetime

Maye Musk

Thierry Souccar Editions

253 pages