‘Granfluencers’ Are The Unlikely Next Gen Of Influencers — & We’re Here For It

I’m watching a video of a woman rating her exes. And look, I don’t normally go in for that kind of content but this particular video has got me hooked. Actually, it’s got me in stitches, because it’s not the typical “rate your ex” content.
“This is Bruce, may he slay in peace. I liked him because he had a motorcycle. But as you know, he didn’t hold the door open for me. I’ll give him an extra point because his funeral was fun. 4/10.”
The video is from Grandma Droniak (@grandma_droniak), a Tiktoker with, at the time of writing, 11.5 million followers and 333.9 million likes. According to her bio, she’s 93 years old. 
Her feed mimics that of as any other influencer, with GRWM videos, story times, funny skits, trying the latest filters (yes, even the aged filter) and house tours. Her favourite word to say is “slay!” and she gives, to put it bluntly, zero fucks. Perhaps that's why the Gen Z and millennials of TikTok are so obsessed with her.
Grandma Droniak is not the only “granfluencer” dominating the scene. TikTok, often lauded as a “young people” app, actually plays host to a number of older influencers. There are many influencers over the age of 50 with enormous social media clout: there's Baddie Winkle (@baddiewinkle), often considered to be the OG “granfluencer”, who is best known for her outlandish fashion statements; Carla Rockmore (@carlarockmore), a fashion designer and influencer known for her GRWM videos; and the “Old Gays” (@oldgays), Robert Reeves, Michael Peterson, Bill Lyons and Jessay Martin. The only thing they all have in common? They’re significantly older than the traditional social media influencer.
The appeal of the "granfluencers", or older influencers in general, could be simply that their videos are delightfully different from the typical highly curated, aspirational content that floods our FYPs. These creators offer a new perspective that we might not have seen before, and with their “been there, done that” approach to life, some of the appeal is that they're regularly dishing up wisdom for their young viewers. 
There also is the fact that the prevailing narrative around ageing is growing into obscurity. To age is to become invisible — especially if you’re a woman. These older influencers are challenging the idea that growing older means having to take a back seat and fade away. 
Ting Ma (@tingmystyle) makes fashion, beauty and fitness content, the likes of which you might see on any young twenty-something Bondi Beach influencer’s page. She works actively to challenge the notion that to be over 50 is to be “frumpy.” In one of her most viral TikToks, Ma explains, “I don’t dress cool to impress men. I dress so that when a young girl passes me, she things being older is not a fearful thing, and women can have grey hair and wrinkles yet still look confident and be excited about growing older.”
Of course, there is something to be said about older generations still feeling the need to dress fashionably, perform beauty rituals and maintain svelte figures into their golden years. And while making older women more visible in social, beauty and fashion spaces is always going to be a good thing, it’s worth also noting that women fading into the background as they age makes up but a small portion of the systemic issues that ageing presents, particularly for women.  
A big draw of the granfluencers is their humour. Think morbid jokes like: “I got ghosted last week, but it was because he turned into a ghost. Slay in peace Andrew!” So often, we’re told that there’s an age limit for social media, or for producing content. When I, a woman in her early thirties, tell my peers that I regularly scroll TikTok, most are quick to tease me that I’m “too old” for that app. I know it’s in jest, but it rankles sometimes to be told that consuming certain types of content is limited to people in their twenties or younger. It’s almost like being told, “you’re too old for fun things.” 
There’s an odd sort of narrative that as you get older, that you need to disengage with pop culture. While for some people that might be a relief, it can feel like if you happen to be my age and across the zeitgeist, you’re told to stop trying to be cool, to act your age. I’m not trying to be anything; I just think this stuff is fun!
So it’s delightful to see older influencers breaking barriers and killing it on TikTok with fun, irrelevant content. Older influencers imparting wisdom on TikTok is great and so necessary in many instances, but I get more of a kick out of the ones who take part in the “young people” trends. It feels almost subversive — as if they’re not playing into the trope of the wise elder doling out advice, often considered the only space an older person can carve out in the social media landscape. Because why should the kids have all the fun? 
In the immortal words of Grandma Droniak, “I slay while they lay!”
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