Silver fox: Elon Musk’s model mom

13 October 2016 - 10:38 By Bethan Holt

This year's Paris Fashion Week has thrown up a novel star: a 68-year-old model, who also happens to be the mother of Elon Musk, the billionaire inventor who has announced his ambition to put people on Mars. Thanks to a new modelling contract with Gisele Bündchen's model agency IMG, Maye Musk found herself sitting on the front row for the first time and being accosted by street-style photographers eager to capture her avant-garde look.Born in Canada in 1948 but raised in South Africa, Musk - who began modelling at 15 - married her high-school sweetheart Errol and trained as a dietician. The couple had three children: Elon, his brother Kimbal (the entrepreneur targeting the US's reliance on fast food) and daughter Tosca, a film producer and director. But when they divorced in 1979 their sons opted to live with their father and Musk found herself as a single mother, struggling to make ends meet.Modelling helped her do that - acting as a kind of glorified Saturday job to her dietician's business."After I had my third child at 28 I was asked to do runway shows as the token 'old' model, showcasing a 'mother of the bride' look," she says. "At 42 I did my first advert modelling as a grandmother. By then I'd moved to Canada and was the oldest model in the country. But I had three teenagers. I needed to work."Musk's modelling forays have included catalogues, catwalks and cover shoots for everything from fashion to cruise magazines. She also appeared in advertising campaigns for Virgin America and Phillips - "and once I even played a 90-year-old Alzheimer's patient". She was recently spotted on Instagram and signed to her new agency. "My best friend has been styling me for 26 years, and she said: 'You have to get on Instagram, every model is on the app.' "A campaign she worked on for La Ligne, a chic New York-based brand, was recently released. It shows her reclining in a bath in luxurious silk trousers and posing in an armchair wearing takkies and tracksuit bottoms."Who would believe at 68 you'd be getting better jobs? I wouldn't have believed you if you told me that when I started 53 years ago. But it's just so much fun." With her innate elegance and striking silver-grey hair ("I decided when I was 60 I would see what my natural colour was"), it's easy to see why IMG was so keen. But Musk's signing is also part of a bigger "greynaissance" across the fashion industry, which recognises that there is a huge untapped market of older people with the funds to buy into fashion and beauty."When I'm on a shoot with teenage models they feel inspired when they realise there's a chance they can model later in life," she says. So what does her billionaire son make of the fashion world? "He likes to dress well, he likes good quality, even if it's just a T-shirt," she says, before refuting any suggestion that he might have learnt his good taste from her. "I haven't taught my kids anything," she says. "They learnt it all themselves." - ©The Daily Telegraph, London..

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