Top Model Maye Musk Visits FIDM

November 18, 2016

Maye Musk, top model, dietician, and mother of Elon Musk, Kimbal Musk, and Tosca Musk, visited FIDM last week as a guest speaker for the Marketing Essentials class taught by FIDM Instructor Vincenzo Lodato.

Maye grew up in South Africa and started modeling at a young age. Looking back, she said she was a “science nerd,” but was asked to model so she did. It was not the priority, however.

She earned her B.S. of Science while modeling, then became a dietician and nutritionist. She’s always been committed to education first. In fact, when she was first starting out, she wouldn’t take off school. “I modeled only on the weekends,” she said.

In recent times her presence on Instagram has been very beneficial to her career as a model and public figure, she told the class. She gets invitations to red carpet events through social media. And famed photographers such as Mike Ruiz found her through Instagram. He shot her for the cover of Borealis Magazine, and refers to her as his muse.

She presented a slideshow of her work to the students, narrating it as she went along, with stories about each of the images and photoshoots.

She landed a small part in Beyonce’s “Haunted” music video, wearing a 10K Euro dress, a 50’ veil, spikey necklace, and shoes “not made for walking, only made for modeling.”

Since the age of 28, she started getting cast as the “older woman.” She told the students that it was at that age that she started getting hired to do mother-of-the-bride gigs because all of the other models were only 20 years old.

In her late 30s she started getting flown around the country to model. It seemed everyone was casting “older” models. Later, she was even hired to pose as a would-be 60-year-old Marilyn Monroe. Vogue Italia cast her for their cover shot as Head Mistress of a charm school.

Maye opened up the discussion for questions from the students. When asked what tips she has for young professionals embarking on their careers in the fashion industry, she said, “Know what you want to do, and then pursue it.”

She said she used to go on 20 auditions before she would get one call-back. It’s all about perseverance. And when it comes to setbacks, she suggested that to overcome them, “you just have to keep going, because the setbacks do end.”

As far as how she wants to market herself these days, she said, “I like that I’m inspiring older women to still work. A woman of 68 can still be relevant, and contribute to society.”

In fact, she had just returned from a trip to China where she was asked to give a talk about older women still have a place in the community.

The students were left with one final thought. The three most important values she holds dear in her life are family, working hard, and being honest.

Categories: Merchandising & Marketing