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Maye Musk just made history as the oldest woman to cover the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue at 74.
The model is “excited to make people know that women in their 70s are gorgeous.”
She also hopes the shoot makes women of all ages feel more comfortable when they go swimming or head to the beach.
Model Maye Musk is experienced at breaking age-related barriers, having walked runways at fashion weeks worldwide in her 70s. Now, the star is taking her quest to normalize aging to new heights with her latest feat: posing on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue at 74—making her the oldest cover model in the magazine’s history.
In the cover photo, the author and registered dietician-nutritionist poses powerfully in a ruffled two-tone one-piece, with a picturesque Belize beach behind her. “If I thought I could be a swimsuit model for Sports Illustrated, people would’ve locked me away as a crazy lady,” she told the magazine. “And now here I am.”
In opening up to People about her experience on the shoot—which also features Kim Kardashian, Ciara, and Yumi Nu—she admitted that it felt surreal. “My first reaction was, I could never dream up something like that because why would anyone have a 74-year-old on their cover, especially in a swimsuit,” she said. Nonetheless, she’s happy to be the one to set the bar. “I do think it’s going to make women feel more comfortable in their seventies when they swim, as well as women in their twenties and thirties,” she added.
She hopes her confidence displayed on those glossy pages will inspire women everywhere to walk the beach boldly. “When women go to the beach, we’re kind of shy about our bodies, but men will walk around, looking terrible, and they don’t care,” she continued. “I think we have to not care that much!” Not just when it comes to wearing a bathing suit, but especially when it comes to aging.
At 74, Musk is happier than ever, which is why she doesn’t understand the societal resistance to getting older. “I’ve been through the hard times, now I’m living the life. I mean I really am,” she told Sports Illustrated. “The photo is beautiful. I’m very excited to make people know that women in their 70s are gorgeous.”
In a previous interview with People, she thanked her mom, who aged boldly, for passing down that confidence. “My mother never had a problem with age, nobody could tell her she was getting old,” she said. “She did retire at 96, but before that, she never spoke about wrinkles or getting old or anything—she was just always positive and learning, educating herself.”
So she never really understood what all the anti-aging hubbub was about. “I got into my 60s, people were talking about aging and being scared of aging, and I’m saying, ‘Why are you scared of aging?’” she added. “I mean, for example, when you turn 50, women are scared of losing their jobs. But then men become CEOs and presidents, so what’s that about?”
She continued: “We need to change that around. And if somebody’s making you feel bad about your age, just say goodbye. You don’t need that person in your life.”
Mic drop! We need more women like Musk on magazine covers and beyond.
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