Entrepreneur, model, and nutritionist Maye Musk was the featured speaker at the 2019 Siebens-Binz SNC Tahoe Forum on October 5th. Ms. Musk was welcomed to the stage on the Sierra Nevada College campus for a moderated talk with Michael Thomas about her multi-faceted career. Musk’s experience juggling her careers, social expectations of women, and the responsibilities of raising three young children resonates with audiences worldwide.
Maye began her professional career as a teenage model in South Africa. She has been a successful model for most of her adult life, but she became a modern style icon when she moved against the ageism so common in the fashion world. On her 60th birthday, she cut her hair short and let its natural white color, which she had been hiding for many years, shine through. Her new look led to worldwide ad campaigns and even a spot on a Beyonce music video. At 69, she became the oldest Covergirl ever.
Despite her work as a model, Maye is a self-professed “science nerd.” She studied dietetics as an undergraduate, and went on to earn two master’s degrees in the field later in life. As a professional, she is not an advocate of restrictive diets. Instead, she is a believer in eating wholesome, complete meals that meet all of your body’s needs. Getting up and moving is another critical part of Maye’s advice to her clients. She described how she has modified her exercise regimen to work around her injuries instead of getting surgery. She avoids anything that physically hurts her and is in favor of her clients doing the same. In 2006 Maye was awarded the Outstanding Nutrition Entrepreneur Award in recognition of Excellence in Entrepreneurism and Dedication to the Field of Nutrition.
When she started her dietician practice as a young entrepreneur, her kids were young. She worked long hours and multiple jobs. Her youngest child, Tosca, would answer the phones at her office. Because she was too young to have a good grasp of spelling, Tosca would ask clients to sound out their names so she could write them down. The clients were initially skeptical of Maye’s secretary’s abilities but found it comical when they realized they were talking to a young child.
Maye’s work ethic rubbed off on her children, and she is proud of their success as entrepreneurs themselves. Her oldest son, Elon, is known for developing Tesla and many other successful businesses. Her younger son, Kimbal, owns The Kitchen Restaurant Group, which is a family of farm-to-table restaurants in Boulder, Chicago, Cleveland, Memphis, and Indianapolis. Kimbal was also the co-founder and chairman of Big Green, a non-profit that has built hundreds of “learning gardens” as outdoor classrooms in schools around America. Maye’s daughter Tosca works in the film world working as a producer, director, and co-founder of the streaming service Passionfix.
Maye Musk proves that there’s no age limit to innovation and entrepreneurship.
The Siebens-Binz SNC Tahoe Forum was endowed in 2004 through a generous gift by Nancy Siebens Binz, to bring greater knowledge and understanding of the broader world through exposure to some of the major thinkers and doers of our time. On behalf of our family of students, faculty, and staff, we thank Nancy Siebens Binz for her personal commitment and financial support of Sierra Nevada College.
Reporting by Zoe Tuttle