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Maye Musk: ‘This is only the beginning for me’ as a model, aged 69

Maye Musk walks the runway at Concept Korea during New York Fashion Week

Youth is not everything – at least not 69-year-old model Maye Musk. But, as Alina Isachenka reports, is her success more than just a trend?

The recent “Spring 2018” shows in New York, Paris, Milan and London saw a record number of models in their 50s and 60s on the catwalk – 27, according to the industry’s forum, Fashion Spot.

Does this mean that the fashion industry is finally breaking with beauty stereotypes and becoming more age-diverse?

“I’ve never worked as much over the past 50 years as I did in 2017,” says 69-year-old model Maye Musk, mother of billionaire entrepreneur and Tesla founder Elon Musk.

Canadian-born Musk started modelling in South Africa at the age of 15, but it’s only in recent years that her career has picked up.

Musk signed a contract with IMG Models, who also represent supermodels including Gisele Bündchen and Gigi Hadid.

She also appeared on the covers of New York Magazine, Elle Canada and VOGUE Korea. And she starred as the oldest brand ambassador for American cosmetic company CoverGirl.

A fashionable grandmother of 10, Musk believes that allowing her hair to naturally whiten has helped her career. But being a successful model comes with certain challenges.

“I have to plan all my meals and snacks every day, or the wheels come off and I gain weight,” says Musk, a nutritionist with two masters degrees.

“It then takes two weeks of being really strict to lose it. I’m a UK size 8, so not skinny.”

Maye Musk with her son, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk at the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party

Debra Bourne, a director of All Walks Beyond the Catwalk – an initiative that aims to promote racial, age, size and body diversity in fashion – attributes much of the success of older women in modelling to social media.

“With the growth of social media through platforms like Instagram we have seen very successful examples of where elder models have created huge audiences themselves,” says Bourne, a psychotherapist and a former fashion editor.

This is certainly the case for Musk, who frequently posts photographs on Instagram where she has almost 90,000 followers.

“There is less competition when you’re older, but also less jobs,” says Musk. “If you keep on working and posting your work, you can build up a following.

“Also, you can be booked directly from your photos and don’t have to go to castings.”

With sweat and tears

“I think many designers believe the current focus on silver-haired models is merely a trend that will be over next year so they can return to tall, thin, young colts,” says Rebecca Valentine, founder of Grey Model Agency, which focuses on models aged 35+.

Launched in 2015 to ‘represent the new diverse older population’, London-based Grey Models works with clients such as London Fashion Week and Hunger fashion magazine, and represents models including Vivienne Westwood’s former muse Sara Stockbridge and 82-year-old Frances Dunscombe – one of the oldest models at the agency.

To Valentine, who is also an experienced photography agent, the emphasis on older models “is a response to market pressure where, for the first time, this ageing group are refusing to sit down and shut up.”

“They are the generation of rebels, punks, rockers, rappers, gay-coming-outers after all, they are used to being listened to and when they are not they shout louder and demand more,” she explains.

An older model is seen wearing Prada for Hunger Magazine

She believes the industry is catching up with the trend, but admits the process remains challenging.

“They [older models] can see that this is a hard mountain to climb with much adversity, prejudice and tradition to fight.

“It is wonderful to be surrounded by such strength and optomism at work,” she adds.

Beauty = youth?

But not all industry experts agree on the rise of older women in fashion.

Vincent Peter, co-founder of SILENT modelling agency in Paris, says: “You can see older women on an anti-ageing cream advertisement, but they are unlikely to be booked for high-fashion jobs.

“Occasionally they are on a catwalk but rather as an exception. I don’t see any trend here.”

Maye Musk became the oldest model to be the face of CoverGirl last September

While the fashion industry may hold on to its rigorous age frames, Musk continues to secure jobs worldwide and hopes to work well into her 70s and beyond.

“It’s been amazing to see how brands, magazines and designers are focusing on real stories from older women.

“Young models love to see me on a modelling job as it gives them hope for the future. My hashtag is #justgettingstarted.”

Henry Sapiecha

Expert advice on anti-wrinkle injections here


Around 33,000 anti-wrinkle injections are administered each year in Australia. However, despite their popularity, some women still remain uninformed when it comes to the different brands on offer, the different results they achieve, and what product they have received.

To ensure you’re fully educated about anti-wrinkle injections, we asked Dr Joseph Ajaka, cosmetic surgeon at Cosmos Clinic, seven of the most imperative questions you’ll need answered to guarantee you’re getting the best treatment possible.


bh: Are all anti-wrinkle injections the same?

Dr Ajaka: When it comes to anti-wrinkle injections, each product is different and the risks and benefits vary between brands. People considering treatments should speak to their doctor regarding the possible side effects, the effect of the treatment and how long the results will last. Also, ask your doctor about the benefits and risks associated with the brand they recommend and ensure they are using a brand with a trusted heritage of quality that is supported by clinical data for safety and effectiveness.

bh: Around half of all anti-wrinkle injection patients in Australia do not know there are different types of anti-wrinkle injections available. Why do you think this is?

Dr Ajaka: Women are doing some research ahead of their treatments – such as searching online or talking to friends – but they shouldn’t stop once the appointment is booked. The most important thing a patient can do is come in prepared and ask the right questions before, during and after their treatment. This ensures there’s no mystery to the treatment and increases patient satisfaction.

bh: Why is it important for a patient to know what brand of anti-wrinkle injection is being used on them?

Dr Ajaka: Patients who are the most satisfied with their treatment are the ones who are informed, are asking the right questions and are ensuring the anti-wrinkle injection they’ve requested is indeed what they are receiving.

bh: How can a patient ensure they know what type of anti-wrinkle injection is being injected into their face?

Dr Ajaka: There are five specific questions people should ask their doctors during their consultation:

1. Which brand do you use and why?
2. Has this anti-wrinkle treatment been extensively tested and researched?
3. How quickly will I see the effects of the injection and how long will the results last?
4. Are side effects different between brands?
5. How satisfied are you with the results?

You can download this question checklist from to your phone and take it with you to your next appointment.

bh: What kinds of side effects are commonly associated with anti-wrinkle injections?

Dr Ajaka: When it comes to side effects, each brand is different. Ensure that you discuss the possible side effects with your doctor and understand the variations between the different brands.

bh: When will a patient see the results of the treatment and how long will they last?

Dr Ajaka: Effects of anti-wrinkle treatments can be seen within the first week following the treatment and last up to four months depending on the area being treated. However, results can vary from brand to brand.

bh: How does a patient know if their doctor is using the right product for them?

Dr Ajaka: The best way to decide if the treatment will meet your needs is by looking at real results. Ask your doctor to show you some before and after images, and explain the result you want to achieve. You’ll want to ensure your doctor can provide a product that has a long heritage of achieving results for patients and can do the same for you.

Henry Sapiecha