Wang Deshun, an 80-year-old actor known as “China’s hottest grandpa,” is gaining international attention for changing perceptions of what it means to get old.
Wang’s unusual appearance, devotion to athleticism and youthful energy have made him a celebrity in China. Many people hold him up as an inspiration, not only in fitness but in life.
Most people give up, slow down and vegetate in front of the television as they get older, but Wang’s still as active as a man in his 20s.
Wang first caught the nation’s eye at a fashion show in 2015 when he walked the runway modeling Sheguang Hu’s designs. The then-septuagenarian stole the show with his confident strut and flowing white beard. (The fact that he was the only onstage not wearing some kind of weird floral quilt mask helped, too.)
Since then, he has been interviewed by the international press and has appeared on the state-run CCTV network’s The 1.3 Billion series:
Wang says he likes skiing, swimming and hitting the gym. Wang used to be a stage actor, but an illness forced him to quit and become a mime. He became a living statue performer at 60, the age when most Chinese men retire. At 70, he went back into acting. He has always been athletic, but he started really working out at the age of 49. He exercises every day from 3-6 p.m.
Chinese authorities temporarily barred Wang from performing in public in 1993 after he gave an unusually sexy human statue performance, The New York Times says.
More recently, Reebok has enlisted Wang to appear in its “Be More Human” ad campaign.
A Reebok spokesperson quoted in Shanghaiist explained, “Wang’s example has helped reshape China’s views on aging and shown you’re never too old to pursue your goals.” (And you’re never too old to buy Reebok’s products, we guess.)
(Featured photo by Hubert Cecil)