Glam, groovy ‘Granfluencers’

WE HAVE trendy social influencer grandfathers, now meet the ‘glam-mothers’ – fashionistas and trend-setters who are making an age-defying coup on social media. Millennials, move aside, here come the ‘Granfluencers’. These seniors-turned-influencers on social media are capturing the hearts of netizens with their confidence, authenticity and zest for life. I Feel Young SG picks out eight inspiring ‘glam-mas’ who are rocking social media.

China: Fashion Grandmas, 50s to 70s
Douyin: @时尚奶奶团 (3.9m followers)
TikTok: @fashion_grannies (582.2k followers)
Instagram: @fashion_grannies (6.3k followers)

Fashion Grandmas
Photo credits: @fashion_grannies on Instagram

‘Fashion Grandmas’ is a group of women aged between their late 50s and mid-70s who aim to redefine ageing by literally walking the talk. They are often seen strutting confidently down the streets of Beijing in traditional cheongsams, and their catwalks have garnered substantial attention on social media. They have also amassed a substantial fanbase in China and abroad. One of them, 76-year-old Sang Xiuzhu, claims that her stylish and happy retirement life is a testament that there’s nothing to fear about ageing and seniors can stay optimistic. Take that, Kim Kardashian!

Taiwan: Moon Lin, 92
Instagram: @moonlin0106 (100k followers)

Moon Lin
Photo credits: @moonlin0106 on Instagram

Despite her age, Taiwan’s Moon Lin is known as a streetwear icon. Her journey to fame began when she asked a stranger on the street to take a photo of her. The person subsequently shared the encounter on a popular Taiwanese private Facebook group, added her on Facebook and shared her Instagram account, propelling Moon to fame. For this fabulous senior, it’s not only important to be fashionable; one must also live without worrying about what others think.

South Africa: Yasmin Furmie, 58
Instagram: @yasminfurmie (22.1k followers)

Yasmin Furmie
Photo credits: @yasminfurmie on Instagram

Yasmin is living proof that it’s never too late to find your true passion. The former social worker became a fashionista at the age of 52 after catching the eye of South African designer Jamal Nxedlana, who admired her style and fashion sense and proposed to collaborate with her on a collection. Yasmin later started her own fashion brand, SiSi The Collection, with a designer friend. She went on to be one of the faces of L'Oréal's Age Perfect campaign which includes world-renowned actors Dame Helen Mirren and Jane Fonda. Her motto is “Life is too short; do what you want, do what you like and never act your age!”. What a star!

South Korea: Park Mak-rye, 74
Instagram: @korea_grandma (383k followers)
YouTube: 박막례 할머니 Korea Grandma (1.32m followers)

Park Mak-rye
Photo credits: @korea_grandma on Instagram

With her granddaughter’s encouragement, Park Mak-rye, who goes by the moniker Korea Grandma, started creating videos in 2017 as a way for her to keep herself occupied. Today, the sprightly and candid senior has amassed over a million subscribers on her YouTube channel, which covers topics like fashion, beauty, cooking and travel. Mak-rye also runs a diner in Yongin, Seoul, while her online popularity has paved the way for opportunities such as hosting a home shopping show for retail giant Lotte and appearing in a Samsung commercial. 

Australia: Sarah Jane Adams, 66
Instagram: @saramaijewels (206k followers)
Instagram: @mywrinklesaremystripes (48.1k followers)

Sarah Jane Adams
Photo credits: @saramaijewels on Instagram

Sarah Jane Adams initially started the @saramaijewels Instagram page to showcase the accessories she designed for her vintage jewellery business, but gained unexpected popularity after posting a photo of herself sporting a red Adidas varsity jacket that her daughter gifted her (top left image). That led to her posting more photos of herself in fashionable apparel. Sarah also firmly believes in staying authentic. Once during a modelling job, a makeup artist wanted to conceal her wrinkles but she refused, preferring to wear them as a badge of honour instead. She went on to hashtag all her posts with #mywrinklesaremystripes, which explains how her second Instagram account came about. 

United States: Helen Ruth van Winkle, 93
Instagram: @baddiewinkle (3.5m followers)

Photo credits: @baddiewinkle on Instagram

Baddiewinkle is a rebel at heart, as you may have guessed from her Instagram handle. The nonagenarian, whose real name is Helen Ruth van Winkle, catapulted to fame after her great-granddaughter snapped a picture of her in a pair of cut-off shorts and tie-dye shirt and posted it on Instagram. Since then, Helen has become a fashion icon in the United States and around the world, and even wrote a book titled ‘Baddiewinkle’s Guide to Life’ at the age of 88. Today, the Instagram star has an impressive 3.5 million followers and continues to turn heads with her love for loud colours, ostentatious outfits and devil-may-care attitude. Her golden advice is to “always be kind to every human that you meet”.

India: Ravi Bala Sharma, 62
Instagram: @ravi.bala.sharma (137k followers)

Ravi Bala Sharma
Photo credits: @ravi.bala.sharma on Instagram

Nicknamed ‘Dancing Dadi’ (dancing grandmother), Ravi Bala Sharma from Mumbai set the Internet ablaze when her audition dance clip for a senior citizen dance competition went viral. The former music teacher’s followers on Instagram have since grown exponentially to over 100,000, among whom are famous Bollywood celebrities. Ravi believes her fans appreciate her passion for dancing and never-say-die attitude. She posts her dance clips regularly with the help of her son, who edits her videos.

Singapore: Ong Bee Yan, 65
Instagram: @grey_evolution (3.7k followers)

Ong Bee Yan
Photo credits: @grey_evolution, @lofficielsingapore and @rongliangchia on Instagram

When sexagenarian Ong Bee Yan decided to embrace her age and let her hair grey naturally two years ago, she did not expect her silver mane to kick-start a modelling career. Today, the grandmother of two runs an Instagram page called @grey_evolution. By journalling her modelling activities, she hopes to inspire and empower other seniors to overcome their fears and embrace their age without letting it define them. Bee Yan hopes to use her influence to encourage her followers to "love what you do and do what you love".

Do you think you can be a ‘Granfluencer’ or get your grandparents to join you on social media? Stay tuned to our Facebook and Instagram pages as we will be launching a video competition with attractive prizes to be won!

Article published on 08/07/2021