Huang Citong, a retired factory worker in Changsha, Hunan province, is becoming an emerging senior internet fashionista.
This lady is changing the stereotypes that many people in Asia, have about the elderly and the figure of the grandmother. Huang has 74 years and she is not the local typical elder oatmeal-chewing and she isn’t a grandmother that participate in group street or square dances. Huang Citong recently likes to wear dresses black tinted shades, but also colored; she likes to try makeup and use bright burning red lipstick; appreciates fuzzy fur coats and try to wear everything with style and swag, just like any chic young models. Guo Jingjing, her 20 years old granddaughter, is a college senior, who loves fashion and photography.
Becoming a Chinese internet celebrity
In February last year, when she came to visit her, Guo was fascinated by grandmother’s aura of elegance and thought she was chastened by the too modest clothing. Guo had then thought that making a series of photos could capture the sweetness and transmit this new image of old lady aging with style to help to get rid of the stereotypes of the “old” grandmother wearing poor mediocre clothes and who does not take self-care. She asked her grandmother to help her for a school project and Huang had accepted and posed as a model for a first photo shoot near Songya Lake. To help her grandmother to feel comfortable, Guo, chose a set near their home and to make the photos as natural as possible she improvised during the shoot, as well as for the choice of clothes. Grandma worried initially and had placed a condition to her granddaughter, “Please not too weird or ridiculous …”.
Huang had never taken part in a photo shoot before then and her poses reflecting an image of a person intimidated and reserved. To help the grandmother to relax, Guo had started chatting lightheartedly and take pictures between conversation. After a few photos, Huang had become more confident and the photos had exceeded the expectations of her granddaughter, so Guo immediately shared these photos on WeChat for her friends and family to see. At first, they were surprised, especially Guo’s father. Huang had a lot of fun since she had felt young again and these images had been very successful and also she won many Chinese fans on the internet. New followers demanded more photos, so, a few months later, Guo and Huang had planned a second photo shoot.
This time, Huang had worn dresses and suits that she had never wear before. Surprising to her granddaughter, this time, Huang was perfectly at ease with the camera, and proposed new poses for each of its new dress. Now when she chose an outfit, the grandmother, is imagined dressed like a celebrity, but at the same time intimidated blushed like a young girl. Guo said that after taking to her grandmother a photo in front of a concrete wall, with a white wedding dress holding her hands like a ballerina, because, Huang had felt natural and beautiful as a princess, since she enjoys her dress so much had started wearing this dress, even to the supermarket.
These photos have turned Huang in one of the few senior Chinese fashionista on the internet in China. She shyly said that she does not feel her life is much different than before, probably because the way she dresses in daily life is not identified with that of the photo. In Guo’s eyes, the grandmother figure is still the one who always loves in her own way the family. She would knit to make sweaters for her grandchildren, which might even prepare 10 sweaters for an unborn great-grandson. This fashion photoshoot was a project to show to Huang all her love and that she sees her in a special way. Guo has also recently created an animated photo album where her grandmother looks like she was in Paris and in different places, that’s because she would like that her grandmother could have the chance to travel the world, could have fun, and do what she loves. Guo aims to keep her company, a fashionista couple like Ann Morgan Guilbert and Fran Drescher namely Yetta Rosenberg and Fran End from the American TV show “The Nanny.”
Source and Photos: China Daily
CHINA-UNDERGROUND. Ciao! My name is Dominique. I’m Italian and I’m proud to be a mix. My father was an Italian chemical engineer and high school teacher, with Greek and Polish heritage. My mother is Haitian, she was high school language teacher, with Dominican, Spanish, French, Portuguese, African and Native American heritage. Being a mix makes me appreciate to want to understand different cultures and lifestyles. I grew up in Italy, lived few years in Haiti, travel around main European capitals, lived seven years in China, six in Spain and UK. Traveling makes me feel that we can learn something from every situation in every part of the world.