China’s answer to Iris Apfel has arrived in the form of street style maven Huang Yanzhen, whose colourful, punchy outfits and badass Harley Davidson-riding shoots have made her the darling of the internet. Affectionately known as ‘Goddess Grandma’, the 73-year- old native of Xiamen, Fujian province, counts the hardships she has endured over her lifetime as her motivation to live life to the fullest. ‘Age is nothing but a number,’ she told Chinese media outlet West Strait Morning Post. ‘It is never too late to aspire to be beautiful and pursue one’s dream.’
Earlier this year Huang was bedridden for over six months by a chronic bone condition caused by years of labouring on a farm since she was 18 years old. The determined Huang, however, undertook a strict exercise regime that eventually helped her get back on her feet so she could compete in a nationwide qipao fashion competition. She did so well that she was invited to the CPPCC [Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference] Assembly in Beijing to receive a prestigious style award (read more about how Chinese fashion design is evolving and reclaiming its heritage).
This caught the attention of photographer Jesse Xiaoye , who reached out to the stylish veteran and produced a shoot that featured her closet of vintage finds and modern classics. The shoot blew up the internet, and the whole world was able to appreciate her playful use of accessories and charming style. Huang undoubtedly proves that a little passion and tenacity goes a long way, no matter what your age.