Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Forget Gangnam style; Chinese farmer does 'Grandpa style'

By Hilary Whiteman, CNN
updated 8:12 AM EST, Thu November 22, 2012
Liu Qiangping spent decades working as a farmer in Hengyang, Hunan province, before turning his hand to modeling for his granddaughter's online fashion business. He's 72. Liu Qiangping spent decades working as a farmer in Hengyang, Hunan province, before turning his hand to modeling for his granddaughter's online fashion business. He's 72.
HIDE CAPTION
China's model grandfather
China's model grandfather
China's model grandfather
China's model grandfather
<<
<
1
2
3
4
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A 72-year-old grandfather has become an Internet hit after modeling young fashion
  • Liu Qianping appears on China's version of eBay, wearing short skirts and tights
  • His granddaughter invited him to visit her, and he tried on a hot pink cloak
  • Their photos online have attracted a lot of talk on social media

Hong Kong (CNN) -- Wearing aviator sunglasses and a selection of thigh-high tights and frilly skirts, 72-year-old Liu Qianping has caused quite a stir in China.

In the past few weeks, images of the former farmer from Hunan province have appeared on Taobao, the Chinese version of eBay, marketing clothes for Yecoo, a business set up by his granddaughter Lv Ting and four of her friends.

Lv told CNN she invited her grandfather to visit her in the southern province of Guangzhou earlier this month, and while unpacking boxes of clothes to sell, he pulled out -- and slipped on -- a hot pink cloak.

Struck by how well he wore it, a friend assembled some amateur lighting and starting taking photos that were later posted online.

There's Liu in a white tights, a pink skirt and a fur-lined red polka dot coat. In other images, he's posing demurely in bright green leggings, clutching a handbag and wearing a layered pink shawl. Sometime he wears a wig, sometimes not, but the aviator glasses are always present.

My grandfather is happier than before, he enjoys being interviewed. He calls our relatives at our hometown about his experiences here in the city.
Lv Ting

Liu has attracted a lot of attention on Weibo, China's version of Twitter.

"That's a good example of 'Enjoying life at the moment.' The old man enjoys it. And it's making me happy too!" writes one user, whose handle translates to "Kite walking on the ground."

Aging stylishly, online and in the streets

@S_ziming writes: "I love this grandpa! And I hope life for all elderly people can be as interesting and colorful."

But others aren't so sure: "Is he crazy, being weird and mess around like this?"

@GuYue adds: "Neither fish nor fowl, inappropriate."

Lv told CNN that her grandfather is loving the attention.

"My grandfather is happier than before, he enjoys being interviewed; he calls our relatives at our hometown about his experiences here in the city," she said.

Liu's fame has also translated into higher sales for the fledgling company, which only launched in May.

Sales have surged fivefold since his image appeared on the site, an unforeseen benefit according to Lv, who says the photos were just taken for fun.

"I wasn't intended to raise the sales. It's just for fun, for both my grandfather and me. I'm surprised that this went viral online," she said.

Lv said she had no intention of hiring any other "older" models. And no, he wasn't paid.

The range of clothes Liu models has now been dubbed "Grandpa style."

And they'll take more photos, Lv says, as long as Liu enjoys it.

When fashion and reality collide

CNN's CY Xu and Dayu Zhang contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
See CNN's complete coverage on China.
updated 12:10 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
President Xi Jinping's campaign to punish corrupt Chinese officials has hit its biggest target -- where can the campaign go from here?
updated 3:12 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
All you need to know about the tainted meat produce that affects fast food restaurants across China, Hong Kong, and Japan.
updated 10:30 PM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
Some savvy individuals in China are claiming naming rights to valuable foreign brands. Here's how companies can combat them.
updated 5:11 AM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Is Xi Jinping a true reformist or merely a "dictator" in disguise? CNN's Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz dissects the leader's policies
updated 11:44 PM EDT, Mon July 7, 2014
With a population of 1.3 billion, you'd think that there would be 11 people in China who are good enough to put up a fight on the football pitch.
updated 2:31 AM EDT, Fri July 4, 2014
26-year-old Ji Cheng is the first rider from China to compete for competitive cycling's highest honor.
updated 7:24 AM EDT, Mon July 7, 2014
China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, may not yet be a household name outside of China, but that could be about to change.
updated 7:57 PM EDT, Thu July 3, 2014
When President Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul this week, the Chinese leader will have passed over North Korea in favor of its arch rival.
updated 2:56 AM EDT, Tue July 1, 2014
The push for democratic reform in Hong Kong is testing China's "one country, two systems" model.
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
Along a winding Chinese mountain road dotted with inns and restaurants is Jinan Orphanage, a place of refuge and site for troubled parents to dump unwanted children.
updated 4:36 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout invites Isaac Mao, Han Dongfang, and James Miles to discuss the rise of civil society in China and social media's crucial role.
updated 11:34 PM EDT, Wed June 25, 2014
Chen Guangbiao wants rich people to give more to charity and he'll do anything to get their attention, including buying lunch for poor New Yorkers.
updated 7:44 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
Architects are planning to build the future world's tallest towers in China. They're going to come in pretty colors.
updated 7:47 AM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
Anna Coren visits Yulin's annual dog meat festival. Dogs are part of the daily diet here, with an estimated 10,000 dogs killed for the festival alone.
updated 2:38 AM EDT, Thu June 19, 2014
People know little about sex, but are having plenty of it. We take a look at the ramifications of a lack of sex education in China.
updated 12:14 PM EDT, Mon June 16, 2014
A replica of the Effel Tower in Tianducheng, a luxury real estate development located in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang province.
What's the Eiffel Tower doing in China? Replica towns of the world's most famous monuments spring up all over China.
ADVERTISEMENT