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See the 74-Year-Old "Sports Illustrated" Cover Model Who Just Made History

Maye Musk is now the oldest model to ever grace the magazine's swimsuit issue cover.

Another year, another round of Sports Illustrated swimsuit models. This year, the magazine has furthered its efforts to diversify the annual issue. One major step forward? Featuring the oldest cover model in the issue's history. At 74 years old, Maye Musk covers the 2022 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Prior to Musk posing for the outlet, the oldest featured model was Kathy Jacobs, who was featured in the magazine in 2020 at age 56, though not on the cover.

Musk, meanwhile, has had a lengthy career as a model and dietician with much of her modeling success coming later in life. Now, that experience includes the honor of a Sports Illustrated cover. Read on to find out more about her background and her SI experience.

READ THIS NEXT: See '70s Icon & Model Bianca Jagger Now at 76.

The cover came as a total surprise to Musk.

Maye Musk on the cover of "Sports Illustrated"
Sports Illustrated

Sports Illustrated surprised Musk with the news that she was not just going to be in the issue but was going to be one of the cover stars. A video on the SI website shows the big reveal and Musk seeing herself on the cover of the magazine for the first time.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated during her photoshoot in Belize, she said, "If I thought I could be a swimsuit model for Sports Illustrated, people would have laughed me away as a crazy lady. And now, here I am."

Musk's fellow cover stars are reality star Kim Kardashian, singer Ciara, and model and musician Yumi Nu.

Musk hopes she makes other women feel more confident.

Maye Musk at the season 3 premiere of "Driven" in May 2022
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

Speaking to People about being on Sports Illustrated, Musk explained that she hopes posing for the issue helps other women feel more comfortable in swimwear, too.

"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. "I do think it's going to make women feel more comfortable in their 70s when they swim, as well as women in their 20s and 30s."

Musk continued, "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!"

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At this age, she's the "happiest she's ever been."

Maye Musk at The Fashion Awards 2021
Cubankite / Shutterstock

Musk also talked to People about how she's regarded differently in her 70s and how women shouldn't have to wait that long to be treated respectfully.

"I went through different stages of my life where I was rejected, insulted, disappointed and it just takes away your confidence," she said. "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?"

This is not the first time she made modeling history.

Maye Musk walking in the Christian Siriano Spring/Summer 2020 show in September 2019
Sam Aronov / Shutterstock

Providing representation for mature women is nothing new for Musk. In recent years, she has modeled for various editions of Vogue, in advertisements, and on the runaway, and she was in Beyoncé's music video for the song "Haunted." In 2017, she became the oldest CoverGirl spokesperson at age 69.

"I'm turning 70 in April of next year. I think that women will be really inspired to see that even at 69 you can get a beauty campaign," she told The New York Times at the time. "Aging has been good for me. 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. I'm so proud that I'm going be 70."

READ THIS NEXT: See '80s Supermodel Kathy Ireland Now at 58.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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