Hip, happening ‘Granfluencers’

THIS Father’s Day, meet the grandfathers defying the stereotypes of ageing and rocking social media platforms with their self-confidence and style. They are ‘Granfluencers’ – seniors who are influencers on social media and taking it by storm. For many of them, their viral popularity was kick-started thanks to their Internet-savvy grandchildren. Happy Father’s Day!

China: Grandpa Kang, 83
Douyin: @kangye1937 (2.37m followers)
TikTok: @kangye1937 (760k followers)

Grandpa1 - China
Photo credits: @kangye1937 on TikTok

This octogenarian from Wuhan, China, rose to fame in September 2019 after his grandson, Kang Kang, posted a video on Douyin (the Chinese TikTok platform) showing how he almost couldn’t recognise his grandfather dressed in a cap and sunglasses. Since then, the former university professor has become a fashion blogger with over a million fans, showing off various looks from an edgy skater to a hip-hop fashionista; Grandpa Kang oozes style and confidence. He hopes to inspire other seniors and bridge the generational gap with young people through his stylish pursuits.

Germany: Alojz Abram, 75
Instagram: @jaadiee (1m followers)

Grandpa2 - Germany
Photo credits: @jaadiee on Instagram

Affectionately known as “Gramps”, Mr Abram is Germany’s hipster grandpa, thanks to his photographer grandson, Jannik Diefenbach, who manages his Instagram page. It began as a hobby in 2016 when Mr Diefenbach took pictures of Gramps in bright-coloured streetwear. Gramps also recreates the looks of celebrities like Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Bernie Sanders and Kylie Jenner to much success. The social media influencer has turned his popularity into a business opportunity; he has his own website and merchandise including T-shirts and caps, and he collaborates with other brands.

Japan: SLVR Tetsuya, 86
Instagram: @slvr.tty (156k followers)

Grandpa3 - Japan
Photo credits: @slvr.tty on Instagram

This nonchalant Ojiisan (grandfather in Japanese) with an attitude is an accidental style icon. The retired chemistry teacher who lives in Akita, Japan (four hours by Shinkansen from Tokyo) had no real interest in fashion, but agreed to let Naoya Kudo, his fashion-conscious grandson who is also a photographer, dress him up in his own designer clothes for a photo shoot in 2019. What started out as a pastime and bonding activity for the pair eventually catapulted Tetsuya to fame, resulting in photo exhibitions and even the publication of a photo book called Endress Note.

United States: Irvin Randle, 59
Instagram: @irvinrandle (476k followers)

Grandpa4 - US
Photo credits: @irvinrandle on Instagram

In June 2016, Irvin Randle became an Internet sensation after photos of him (which his Facebook friend reposted on Instagram) went viral on social media. The suave grandfather of two from Houston, Texas, even earned the tongue-in-cheek hashtag #MrStealYourGrandma. He gained overnight fame when his Instagram follower count grew from a mere 300 to over 300,000. Today, this age-defying grandpa keeps in shape by running regularly and hitting the gym to lift weights at least three times a week.

Hong Kong: Grandpa Maoyu, 67
Instagram: @grandpamaoyu (10.5k followers)

Grandpa5 - HK
Photo credits: @grandpamaoyu on Instagram

Born in Amsterdam, this chic silver fox grew up in Europe and is currently a clinical psychologist based in Hong Kong. After joining Instagram, Grandpa Maoyu has become one of Hong Kong’s hottest and most stylish influencers. Besides showcasing his love for streetwear, the grandfather of five also aims to promote good mental health to his followers.

United Kingdom: Joe Allington, 88
TikTok: @grandadjoe1933 (4.3m followers)
Instagram: @grandadjoe1933 (27.5k followers)

Grandpa6 - UK
Photo credits: @grandadjoe1933 on Instagram

Joe Allington may not strike you as an influencer, but he has a whopping 4.3 million followers on TikTok! That is more than his 16-year-old granddaughter Brooke Paintain, an active TikToker who introduced him to the social media platform; she has over 312,000 followers. Thanks to her guidance, Mr Allington found his “second childhood” by creating videos making light of serious situations he has encountered. In one video, the delightful senior dances to a song in front of a green-screened image of him lying in bed after a massive heart attack in 2019.

India: Yashpal Singh Verma, 82
Instagram: @mr._and_mrs._verma (35.3k followers)

Grandpa7 - India
Photo credits: @mr._and_mrs._verma on Instagram

Yashpal Singh Verma’s humorous personality inspired his 22-year-old granddaughter, Jonita, to start an Instagram page last year called "Gangsta Grandpa" to showcase his wit and talent to the world. While filming Mr Verma’s dance videos, Jonita would hear her grandmother Shanta Verma, 76, snickering and commenting off-camera about how she could outperform her husband. The page was then renamed to "Mr and Mrs Verma" to include the bubbly grandmother!     

South Korea: Grandpa Chan, 80
TikTok: @grandpachan (1.5m followers)
Instagram: @drawings_for_my_grandchildren (411k followers)

Grandpa8 - Korea
Photo credits: @grandpachan on TikTok

Six years ago, Chan Jae Lee (known as Grandpa Chan on TikTok) and his wife, Marina started a family project called Drawings for my Grandchildren on Instagram depicting their four grandchildren’s childhood through watercolour drawings and stories. The couple would also regularly post videos of themselves dancing on TikTok to connect with their two grandchildren living in the United States. Their videos ended up getting overwhelming attention. Last year, they published a book based on their artwork and stories.

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 photo contest and video competition with attractive prizes to be won!

Article published on 16/06/2021