Elon Musk's mother raising funds for coronavirus-impacted fashion industry

Maye Musk is modeling for good, raising funding for those impacted by COVID-19

Before her son became one of the world’s most influential businessmen, Maye Musk launched a successful career as a model, now she's helping her colleagues in fashion who need it most.

The self-made 71-year-old continues to work the runway, using her platform for a good cause -- to raise money for those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Maye Musk and her son, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. 

Musk turned her home into a makeshift catwalk Tuesday. Clad in sunglasses, red lipstick and jewelry, she posted a video on Instagram where she explained in her caption she was walking to raise funding for fashion industry workers who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. She's partnering with New York Fashion Week and IMG modeling agency to support A Common Thread, a fundraising initiative by Vogue and The Council of Fashion Designers of America, and encouraging fans to post their own modeling videos and tagging friends.

“Models will walk the runway at home to raise funds for an initiative for young, struggling designers who have had to close down and lose their staff," Musk told FOX Business' Neil Cavuto on Wednesday.

"Their families still have to eat. People who are making the clothes, working in the stores that are closed, the truck drivers who are driving the clothes to the stores, are all now out of work. We need to think of these young, struggling designers."


Musk said she's had her own fair share of hardships during her early career. She started modeling in South Africa in the late 1960s. When she became a single mom at 31, she struggled financially to provide for her three kids. So she took on a job teaching nutrition and built out her dietitian practice in Canada while taking her kids to her fashion shows where they’d read in the front row.

"For most of my life if I had to stop working, even for a week, I wouldn’t know how to feed my children," Musk said, explaining that her kids had a humble upbringing.

“They had no problem with it if they had asked for something I just couldn’t afford. We ate very inexpensively. We didn't go to restaurants or movies and they just accepted that. They didn’t feel underprivileged. When they were teenagers they started working and that helped me a lot," she said.

The author of "A Woman Makes a Plan," is no stranger to adversity. She says she's faced ageism throughout her career and managed to defy the stereotype that female models have an expiration date.

Maye Musk began her modeling career in the 1960s and carved out her own nutrition business. (Paul Archuleta/Getty Images)

“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,” the Covergirl ambassador told MarketWatch in 2018.


And her career continued to thrive as she got older, often taking on work that challenged the status quo. At 63, she appeared nude with a fake pregnant belly on the cover of New York Magazine in 2011 for a cover story about new parents over age 50.

 “Everybody said I’d be done modeling by 18 years old, but I continued doing it to feed my kids." 

- Maye Musk 

And at age 69, she became Covergirl’s oldest spokesperson. She’s starred in campaigns for Target, Virgin America and Clinique, was featured in Beyonce’s music video for “Haunted” and signed with modeling agency IMG, which also reps the likes of Joan Smalls and Gigi Hadid.

Musk’s career enabled her to financially support her kids’ early businesses. She invested in sons Elon and Kimbal Musk’s first company, Zip2, a firm that provided and licensed online city guide software to newspapers. She would fly to Palo Alto to discuss their business plan before they raised funding