Meet Elon Musk’s sister Tosca, founder of Netflix-style streaming service Passionflix, accomplished filmmaker and mother of twins – but did her brother invest in her company?
In 2017, Musk co-founded Passionflix alongside screenwriter Joany Kane and Hollywood producer Jina Panebianco. Kane initially had the idea of creating a streaming service centred around romance novels that catered directly to women, and Panebianco and Musk quickly joined the project, according to the company’s website.
In early June, The New York Times profiled Tosca and her streaming service.
“Most of the time people look down at romance – there is apparently something radical in having female desire as a main theme – and they don’t think that romance is intellectual enough,” Musk told the newspaper. “I think that is wrong. Romance is about validating emotions. It’s about removing shame from sexuality. It’s about uplifting stories.”
A ‘sexy Hallmark Channel’
Passionflix launched in 2017 in the US and is a subscription service akin to other streaming services like Netflix or HBO. Five years later and it’s now available in almost 150 countries, according to the profile.
The streaming service – which The New York Times described as a “sexy Hallmark Channel” – costs about US$6 a month. The site has dozens of original films and a handful of TV series, as well as some more recognisable films.
Most notably, the content is organised based on a “barometer of naughtiness”. indicated by a series of flame emojis that rank a film from one to five, including categories from Oh So Vanilla to NSFW or Toe Curling Yumminess.
Despite the ranking, Musk told The New York Times she resents any references to the content as a “guilty pleasure” and that the platform prioritised content that would empower women. While the site features erotic content, it does not allow frontal nudity below the waist, she told the paper.
Aside from being the company’s majority owner, Musk is also heavily involved in production for the streaming service.
She has produced and directed many of the films and TV series that appear on the platform herself, as well as produced TV films for Lifetime and Hallmark. She has over 50 producer and director credits, as well as a handful of writing credits dating back to 2001 via her production company Musk Entertainment, according to her IMDB page.
Despite Passionflix’s high output level for a niche streaming service, the company only has six employees, according to The New York Times’ profile. The company has secured US$22 million in early funding per the publication, but it has been hesitant to share data on its subscriber numbers.
Tosca’s older brother, Kimbal, is also an investor in the company, according to Crunchbase. But so far Tosca has been tight lipped about whether Elon has any involvement in Passionflix.
This year, Passioncon was held at the Ritz Carlton in Marina Del Rey, California. Tickets for the event sold for between US$1,000 and US$1,500, including a two-night stay at the luxury hotel.
Tosca and Maye even celebrated the premiere of the third season of Passionflix’s Driven with a pyjama party at the event. Nevertheless, in Maye’s book, A Woman Makes a Plan, she points out that her daughter’s life was not always all glitz and glam.
Tosca was born in South Africa, but moved to Canada in 1989 at the age of 15, according to Forbes. The move came several years after her parents split – a decision Maye attributed to an abusive relationship in an interview she gave to Harper’s Bazaar.
Tosca later built a home base in Los Angeles with her twin children, Isabeau and Grayson.
Tosca moved to Georgia in 2021, hoping to offset expenses for her production company with the state’s tax incentives for filmmakers.
- Tesla CEO Elon and restaurateur Kimbal aren’t the only entrepreneurs in the Musk family – Tosca started a platform for romance films and TV shows for women
- Passionflix may feature categories like Oh So Vanilla and NSFW, but Tosca hopes to empower women with the romance streaming service – taking cues from her fashion model mum Maye