mayan musk |  happiness at 74

mayan musk | happiness at 74

Within The lessons of a lifetime, Maye Musk, mother of the controversial billionaire Elon Musk, recounts her life, between South Africa, Canada and the United States, her hardships, her violent ex-husband and her career as a dietitian-nutritionist and model. We spoke to her earlier this fall when she was on a promotional tour in Paris for the launch of her autobiography, translated into French.


Maye Musk’s life changed at age 59 when she let her hair turn gray. Two years later, she appeared on the cover of the magazine New York. At 67 she first walked the runway at New York Fashion Week, at 69 she became a Cover Girl and at 74 she posed in a bathing suit for the cover of the magazine. Sports Illustrated and recently became an ambassador for Dior.

“If someone had told me one day that I would be on the cover of the magazine Sports IllustratedI wouldn’t have believed it! “, she exclaims in a telephone interview. “I have worked hard all my life, as a dietitian and as a model, but suddenly, thanks to social media, my gray hair kicked in. Now we look at older women differently, and the demand is higher. »

Have a plan

Maye Musk isn’t afraid of getting old. Maybe because every decade of her life has always been better than the last. She writes that her twenties were terrible, except for the birth of her three children, her thirties were bad, her forties a whirlwind of activities to survive. At 50 in New York she tried to start her own business, at 60 she was more stable with her children, grandchildren and her job, and today she is busier (and happier) than ever. “What I learned is that you can always find a way out, you have to have a plan,” she explains. At certain moments in life, I believed that she would never be happy. »


PHOTO THEO WARGO, GETTY IMAGES, PROVIDED BY AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Maye Musk walks the runway during New York Fashion Week in September 2017.

In an interview, Maye Musk reminds us that she is Canadian. Maye Haldeman (his maiden name of hers) was born in 1948 in Regina, Saskatchewan. Two years later, her family moved to Pretoria, South Africa. Her parents were great travelers and, together with her five children, she lived multiple adventures in Africa, Europe, Arabia, in the small family propeller plane. With the slogan “she lives dangerously. Carefully.” She has extraordinary memories of all these trips where she encountered lions, scorpions, wildebeests, vultures and where she developed a great sense of wit.

She participated in beauty pageants from the age of 15, then she was a finalist in the Miss South Africa pageant, but modeling has always been a supplement to her income since she became a dietitian and nutritionist. “It became a second race. Modeling was a plus. I met different, creative people, they changed my scientists. »

His marriage, “a mistake”

Maye Musk describes her nine years with her violent and abusive ex-husband (Errol Musk) as the most painful of her life. He beat her, she was ashamed and lived in fear. She doesn’t like to talk about it, but she decided to do it in her book to help women in the same situation find the strength to get out of it.


PHOTO PASCAL LE SEGRETAIN, GETTY IMAGES, PROVIDED BY AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Maye Musk and her son Elon at the 2017 Vanity Fair Party in Beverly Hills, CA

She had three children in three years, Elon, Kimbal and Tosca, the best of her life, she says, even though her marriage was a mistake.

I had to flee from a violent husband with my three children, without money. I was scared the whole time because he might come after me, but I was able to get a restraining order against him, and despite my financial difficulties, I was able to save my life.

mayan musk

“I started from scratch, at 31 I moved to Durban, then Johannesburg,” he adds.

She does not advise moving all the time as she used to, because it is exhausting, says someone who has lived, as an adult, in nine different cities and three countries. Because at the age of 42 she landed in Toronto to do her doctorate and open a dietetics practice. “I didn’t speak French well enough to go to the University of Montreal, but I really like her city,” explains the woman who still has family in Ontario and Alberta in French.


PHOTO ROY ROCHLIN, GETTY IMAGES, PROVIDED BY AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Maye Musk at New York Fashion Week in February 2020

It was his son Elon who wanted to move to Canada because he wanted to pursue his interest in computers. He got his first computer at age 12, in 1983, and created the game. blaster Some months later. Maye Musk knew very early, around the age of 3, that her son was gifted. She nicknamed it the Encyclopedia because she had read theBritannica Encyclopedia and that he remembered everything.

“You know, there are a lot of geniuses who stay in their basement inventing all sorts of things without being able to apply them. I’m happy to see what Elon has managed to do, she said. A lot of people ask me about Elon, but I always say that I have three successful children. My daughter Tosca created the Passionflix platform and makes romantic comedies, and Kimbal founded The Kitchen and Big Green, sets up educational gardens and orchards in schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods. He always let his children develop his passions and interests, while he encouraged them.

Today, Maye Musk lives in New York, alone, with her dog, and she is very happy. She takes advantage of her children and grandchildren. “I am 74 years old, I feel good about myself, I like what I do, I have fun and I hope to continue for a long time! Maybe this is the secret of my happiness? »

The lessons of a lifetime

The lessons of a lifetime

Editions Thierry Souccar

253 pages
In bookstores on Wednesday


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