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ROCKET MUM
Maye Musk flies solo. In her new book, the model opens up about escaping an abusive marriage and raising three geniuses (including Elon) on her own.
Faran Krentcil

“Shall we get ready for space?” asks Maye Musk, holding out a silver flight suit. “I haven’t been, but it seems fun.” For a second I think she’s serious. After all, as the mother of tech genius Elon Musk, she’s got some inside knowledge of the subject. But though we’re surrounded by astronaut helmets and NASA patches, we’re not in one of her son’s top-secret labs. Instead we’re perched on a cliff in the Hollywood Hills, where Musk poses gamely for a retro-fabulous space fashion shoot inspired by one of Richard Avedon’s iconic BAZAAR spreads. There are giant sunglasses and moon boots. There are reflective running jackets and piles of toy rockets. And there are trays of red CoverGirl lipsticks because—as the eldest campaign star in the beauty brand’s history—Musk is always prepared to go glam.

It wasn’t always the case. For most of her 20s, Musk was held captive in a viciously abusive marriage, one that left her penniless and fearing for her life. After escaping with her three children—Elon, then eight; plus younger siblings Kimbal, now an eco-food mogul; and Tosca, a film producer and director—she rebuilt her life as a dietician and model for catalogues and department stores. (She would later walk couture for Dolce & Gabbana, “but that wasn’t until my 60s!”) Musk is finally ready to share her extraordinary journey, in the book A Woman Makes a Plan (Viking), which will be published December 31. It includes not just memories but also life advice, her beloved bean soup recipe, and never-before-seen photos from Musk’s family vault.

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January 2020