On this International Women’s Day, the model who raised Tesla head Elon Musk on ageism and being a CoverGirl ambassador at age 69
As part of a series to mark International Women’s Day, Moneyish asked some prominent people to share their thoughts and experiences regarding issues important to females. Read more here.
I’ve never been scared of aging.
Why should you even have time to bother with that? Everybody said I’d be done modeling by 18 years old, but I continued doing it to feed my kids. Now, I do it because it’s fun. People are starting to appreciate women my age who model.
Of course, it isn’t easy. Too many agents have said that nobody wanted to book me. That’s when I changed agencies. I left and suddenly, everybody did want me and I got a Times Square billboard for Target several years ago. Young girls stop me on the street and say my career gives them hope that if I’m doing this at 70 years old, they can do it at 25. My mother worked as an artist until she was 96.
You need to know that you can continue to work at any age.
When the kids were growing up, they learned to be independent. I told them as long as you’re doing something good, it’s worth pursuing. That’s why I invested in them in the first place and gave them as much as I could for their first company, Zip2. I paid for the printing office stuff and got them food and furniture. I didn’t have a big profit from my nutrition practice, but I would fly to Palo Alto every six weeks to discuss the business plan. We were completely exhausted.
My kids were used to this because they have seen me work all my life. Sometimes I would have a runway show and they would read in the front row! I would have a nanny look after them while I worked at home running my dietitian practice. When I got divorced, I knew I needed to step it up, so I taught nutrition at a college, modeled and built my dietitian practice all over Canada. Sundays were for groceries and laundry.
That meant I had no social life. I couldn’t even go on a date because I was afraid we’d have to split the bill and then I couldn’t feed my kids. That’s what you do when you have to survive. I just needed to make rent every month and get enough food into the home. That was always frightening to me. I could still feel that pain in my gut, but I didn’t feel sorry for myself because I was moving ahead.
After Zip2 eventually got funded, I took them out to dinner and put my card down. I told them both this was the last time I’d ever pay for dinner. Then, my kids sold their first company. At my 50th birthday party, they gave me a little wooden house. Soon after, they told me to buy a house and a car. Now, of course, I have a Tesla.
Maye Musk, 69, is a CoverGirl ambassador and dietitian. She has two sons, Elon and Kimbal, and a daughter Tosca.
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