What’s your life going to look like at 70?
I can imagine sitting in an armchair, reading. Looking out the window at my beautiful garden, which I have all the time in the world to tend.
With any luck, I’ll have grandchildren who come over and eat my freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies.
I’ll look back on my life and feel satisfied.
That’s NOTHING like what Maye Musk’s life is like.
Musk is 70. But the only thing she has in common with my vision is the adorable grandchildren.
Musk sounds like a typical grandmother in many ways. She calls her three kids her greatest achievement. She loves spending time with her ten grandchildren.
Unlike many grannies, she’s social-media savvy. She spends a lot of time on Instagram.
Not posting pictures of the grandkids…
But posting pictures of herself.
That’s because Musk is a model with nearly 200K followers, which helped her become the oldest Cover Girl in history last year.
“Aging has been good for me,” she says. “You develop confidence, you’re able to handle the knocks a little easier. I model for my age. I’m not trying to hide it and say I’m 50.” 
She’s silver-haired, gamine, and ready to embrace the next decade as her career keeps heating up.
She’s an influencer on social media, she’s in the pages of most major women’s magazines, and she’s just getting started.
Retire? Gardening? Maybe when she’s 90.
So how did Maye Musk become this … well, superwoman?
And does she have any secrets we can steal?
Through Hardship to the Stars
Musk was born in Canada in 1948 to the kind of parents you only find in the pages of children’s novels.
When she was two, her parents moved to South Africa. Along with the typical luggage—clothes, household goods—they’d packed pieces of a prop plane. Two years later, her parents would fly that plane 22,000 miles around the world.
Musk didn’t get left out of the fun. Every summer for nearly a decade, her entire family—which by then included five children—flew across the Kalahari Desert looking for the fabled Lost City. They never found it, but they did find lions, hyenas, and tribes of Bushmen who’d never seen a white person before.
Although she considered herself a science nerd, Musk didn’t shy away from using her striking looks to earn money. She started modeling at 15. She was a finalist in the 1969 Miss South Africa contest.
She always assumed she’d grow too old to keep modeling, so she studied what would become a lifelong passion: nutrition. She’d eventually earn two master’s degrees, one in dietetics and the other in nutritional science.
A 9-year marriage to Errol Musk produced three children: Elon, Kimbal, and Tosca. Today, her children are best known as the inventor of the Tesla (Elon), a founding father of the modern food movement (Kimbal), and a filmmaker (Tosca).
After the divorce, she moved back to Canada, this time to Toronto, where she worked up to 5 jobs to make ends meet. She ran a modeling school in the evenings and expected her children to do their part. “They also had to be responsible for themselves,” she said, “because they had to help me.” 
The Power of Silver
Her modeling career didn’t peter out, as expected.
But it didn’t explode until she turned 60 and decided to stop dying her hair.
She wanted to see what her natural color was. To ease the transition, she dyed her hair blond, then let it grow out. Once she had enough natural growth, she cut the old dyed strands off. She was left with a silver pixie cut that booking agents loved.
Since then, she’s become an international phenomenon. She appeared in a Target billboard in Times Square. She walked in two shows for New York Fashion Week. You can even spot her in the music video for Beyoncé’s “Haunted.”
“I’m optimistic,” she says, “but even with all my optimism I never would have said to myself, ‘When I get to 70, I’m really going to take off.’ I would have sounded like a crazy lady.” 
Musk admits that it’s not her stunning good looks that got her international stardom but rather the transformative power of makeup.
“[M]y face is pretty plain,” she confesses, “and I’m very fair with very few eyebrows and very short eyelashes. Makeup transforms me. I feel like I’m in disguise when I walk my dog without makeup on.” 
She draws on her background in diet and nutrition to eat healthy. She’s not a fan of fad diets and jokingly calls almond milk “sugar water flavored with almonds.” 
For her, nutrition is about the basics. Whole foods. Lots of vegetables. Keeping all sweets out of the house to avoid temptation.
Her skincare is basic, too. “I eat well to keep my skin looking good,” she says, “and I stay out of the sun. I put on SPF if I’m going outside, even with a hat on. I always have moisturizer on my face and lip balm because my lips get dry.” 
For Musk, the real secret of lifelong youth is loving the work she does.
“People are living longer and enjoying their lives more and know they don’t have to disappear at 65 when they retire. I will never retire. My mom never retired. I’ll work until no one wants me anymore, and then I’ll find something else and I’ll still be a dietitian doing nutrition research, which I love.” 
She adds, “My hashtag is #justgettingstarted because I really think the world is opening up for us. I hope other women of my age and older and very much younger realize we can just keep going.” 
Stay Tuned for More #BrilliantBabe Profiles
Here at Your Brilliance, we believe the best way to figure out how bright you’re able to shine is to look up to other woman who are doing what you’ve always wanted to do.
The women you see featured in glossy magazines, climbing sheer rock cliffs and heading Fortune 500 businesses and crafting unique Etsy art from the comfort of their own homes, got there on guts and faith.
They didn’t know if they’d be able to succeed at their dream. But each and every one made the decision to take the first step. And the second. And the third.
We hope these profiles of brilliant women inspire you to reach for your dreams.