Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Forget Gangnam style; Chinese farmer does 'Grandpa style'

By Hilary Whiteman, CNN
November 22, 2012 -- Updated 1312 GMT (2112 HKT)
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
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 0518 GMT (1318 HKT)
A top retired general has confessed to taking bribes, becoming the highest-profile figure in China's military to be caught up in President Xi Jinping's war on corruption.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
A group in China escapes from a stuck elevator thanks to one man and his trusty hammer. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout reports.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 1352 GMT (2152 HKT)
Facebook's founder says he taught himself Mandarin and tested his skills with students in China.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0133 GMT (0933 HKT)
China launched an experimental spacecraft that is scheduled to orbit the moon before returning to Earth.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1619 GMT (0019 HKT)
Full marks for ingenuity: This was a truly high-tech scam.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0526 GMT (1326 HKT)
The rationale behind Confucius Institutes -- an international chain of academic centers run by an arm of the Chinese government -- is understandable.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 1511 GMT (2311 HKT)
Smooth jazz saxophonist Kenny G wants everyone to know that he's not a foreign agitator trying to defy the Chinese Communist Party.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
A smuggler in Dandong, a Chinese border town near North Korea, tells CNN about the underground trade with North Korean soldiers
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 0511 GMT (1311 HKT)
Yenn Wong got quite a surprise one morning earlier this month when she found out an exact copy of her Hong Kong restaurant had opened in China.
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 0315 GMT (1115 HKT)
When I first came across a "virtual lover" service on e-commerce site Taobao, China's version of Amazon, I thought it was hype.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1315 GMT (2115 HKT)
Each year Yi Jiefeng does what she can to stop China turning into a desert.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1454 GMT (2254 HKT)
As its relationship with the West worsen, Russia is pivoting east in an attempt to secure business with China.
October 8, 2014 -- Updated 0229 GMT (1029 HKT)
Aspiring Chinese comics performing in Shanghai's underground comedy scene hope to bring stand-up to the masses.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1654 GMT (0054 HKT)
Liu Wen is one of the world's highest-paid models and the first Chinese face to crack the top five in Forbes' annual list of top earners.
October 3, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
Cunning wolf? Working class hero? Or bland Beijing loyalist? C.Y. Leung was a relative unknown when he came to power in 2012.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
 A man uses his smartphone on July 16, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. Only 53.5% of Japanese owned smartphones in March, according to a white paper released by the Ministry of Communications on July 15, 2014. The survey of a thousand participants each from Japan, the U.S., Britain, France, South Korea and Singapore, demonstrated that Japan had the fewest rate of the six; Singapore had the highest at 93.1%, followed by South Korea at 88.7%, UK at 80%, and France at 71.6%, and U.S. at 69.6% in the U.S. On the other hand, Japan had the highest percentage of regular mobile phone owners with 28.7%. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
App hopes to help those seeking a way out of China's overstrained public health system.
October 3, 2014 -- Updated 0020 GMT (0820 HKT)
Yards from pro-democracy protests, stands the Hong Kong garrison of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), China's armed forces.
ADVERTISEMENT