“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. I think we have to not care that much!”
Maye Musk is proving that women of all ages can cover the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.
As she becomes the first 74-year-old model to grace its cover in 2022, the author, mother, nutritionist and activist is changing the narrative about women’s bodies as they age.
“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,” Musk joked in an interview with People Magazine. “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.”
“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!”
“Everybody was polite, kind, considerate, caring, so I felt very comfortable in my swimsuit,” she said, noting that her nerves always fade after the first shot. “Once you’ve done your first shot, you’re fine with all the others because they give you so much confidence about looking good in a swimsuit.”
Maye has always been an outspoken advocate when it comes to aging.
“I went through different stages of my life where I was rejected, insulted, disappointed and it just takes away your confidence,” Musk confessed. “Then you just have to get over it. So here, I’m 74, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, and I don’t care, and nobody’s insulting me because — you don’t want to insult a grandmother. The point is, people are really good to me at this stage, but why should it take so long?”
“If we’re mixing with people that are cruel to us, and do things that are mean, and we accept that, well, then you’re going to suffer like I did,” she added. “But instead, you need to move to people who are kind.”
Editor in Chief of SI Swim, MJ Day, said that Maye’s activism helped this year’s issue stay true in authenticity.
“We all deserve the chance to evolve. So in this issue, we encourage readers to see these models as we see them: multifaceted, multitalented—and sexy while they’re at it. The world may label them one way, but we want to focus our lens on all the ways they see themselves and how they own who they are,” said Day. “No matter your age, whether you’re a new mom, partner, sister, entertainer, athlete, entrepreneur, advocate, student, mentor, role model, leader or dreamer—or all of the above—we want to celebrate these women, their evolution and the many dimensions of who they are.”
The other cover models for this year are Kim Kardashian, Ciara and Yumi Nu. The issue hits newsstands May 19.