A 72-year-old former farmer in China becomes an internet sensation after modeling women's clothes for his granddaughter's online boutique.
GUANGZHOU, CHINA (NOVEMBER 24, 2012) (REUTERS) - Lui Qianping is the new face of a Chinese teenage girls' clothing line 'Yue Kou' with the kind of physique every model hopes for and the reason the company is suddenly attracting buyers around the world. The catch: the model is a 72-year-old grandpa.
Lui's 24-year-old granddaughter Lu Ting, is one of the college graduates who started up the online boutique in May. Since her grandfather became involved, visits to their online site have increased four-fold and continue to rise.
Lui's career took off during a visit to Lu in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, when he saw his granddaughter packing boxes.
"One day I walked into the room and saw them packing up some clothes. And I thought they looked quite interesting and quite cute. So I tried on a jacket and they found it really funny, and I thought it was quite funny. So they asked if they could take pictures of me and post them on the Internet to sell the clothes. And I said, 'why not?'" ," Liu told Reuters.
Lui, who has the nick-name 'MaDiGaGa', which literally means 'funny elderly', is now one of China's most recognised models.
Lui says he sometimes looks at fashion programmes on television for ideas on how to pose but generally relies on direction from Lu's team but he does, however, have his own opinions on styling.
"He will tell us which items should be stronger and what should be improved. He really likes bright, contrasting colours while I prefer more tone-on-tone combinations. So he gives lots of advice when we try different combinations, so we have some very different styles," Lu said.
Last week, Liu a former farmer from central China's Hunan province, travelled to Shanghai for the first time to appear on television with his granddaughter. He said he had been approached by other companies to model for them but has turned them all down.
"I never dreamed of lucky things like these happening to me. My name has become known. Now my name has spread everywhere in the country. So I feel very happy. My life also changed a bit."
Lu has been criticised on the internet and accused of using her grandfather but he insists the experience has put a spring in his step. Lu says the two are now closer than ever.
They don't have firm plans for the future, but Lu says as long as her grandfather is happy and healthy, he will carry on as the face of her business.