Annie Leibovitz for Vogue.

Five Things I Learned When Vogue Interviewed Elon Musk

The man has “big hands.” Thing one.


Two: He grew up in a Lord of the Flies kind of environment.

“South Africa was quite a violent place,” he says. “There was a level of violence that wouldn’t be tolerated in any American school…There were a couple of gangs that were pretty evil, and they picked their victims, and I was one of them.”

Three: He was in a “existential crisis” from the ages of eleven to fifteen.

‘(He) struggled with ‘What’s the point of it all?’ kinds of questions. “I read a lot of books, and it didn’t sound like anything really had the answer to what’s the meaning of life,” Musk says. “And then it’s like, ‘Is it all meaningless?’ I was reading Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, and it was terrible. No one should read them. It’s too depressing. They were not happy people.”

Four: He has mad game.

“During their early courtship, Justice (Musk’s first wife) recalls…he had a habit of calling her and letting the phone ring endlessly if she didn’t answer. Then he’d hang up and call right back. Every Valentine’s Day he sent her red roses with a note that read: I like you.”

Five: He’s a man with a plan. An exit plan.

“All the drama aside, Riley (new wife) may in fact be the perfect partner for Musk. They plan to have kids, she says, but she’s also prepared to let her husband go to Mars someday if he needs to. It’s a trip that would likely require being gone for two years at a minimum.”