Hamako Mori, 90, Japan
The world’s oldest gaming YouTuber has been playing video games for four decades.
“It looked so much fun, and I thought, It’s not fair if only children played it.” That’s why Hamako Mori started playing games in her 50s. Four decades later, her passion is stronger than ever.
“Gamer Grandma,” Mori’s YouTube channel, boasts almost half a million subscribers. They watch Mori deliver unflappable commentary while playing everything from Fall Guys to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
Mori does more than just play games in her videos. In one, she unboxes a high-end PC gifted to her by the tech company Nvidia, and in her most-watched video, she blows out her 90th birthday candles … before diving into Dauntless on her PlayStation 4.
In May 2020, the Guinness World Records acknowledged the nonagenarian as “the oldest gaming YouTuber” in the world. “After living for this long, I feel more than ever that playing games for this long was the right choice,” said Mori. “I am truly enjoying my life — it’s rosy.”
Park Mak-rye, 73, South Korea
YouTube’s “Korea Grandma” says life starts at 71.
Park Mak-rye spent most of her life as a small restaurant owner in a remote suburb of Seoul, raising three children and paying off her ex-husband’s debts. But in the past four years, the septuagenarian has become a social media sensation, with 1.3 million subscribers on YouTube and nearly 400,000 followers on Instagram.
Park’s path to stardom began in January 2017, when she shot her first vlog during a trip to Australia, describing what it felt like to dive into the ocean for the very first time. The video was a huge hit, striking a chord not just with fans but with Park herself. “As I started doing this, I realized that life begins at 71 years old,” Park told the Associated Press.
Park specializes in mukbang (eating videos), cosmetics reviews, and travel vlogs. She has also met a number of celebrities, including Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
Park’s granddaughter, Kim Yura, encouraged her to start the channel as a way to fend off the risk of dementia. “I learned then that my grandmother was just like us. She likes to travel, eat tasty food, and take pretty photos,” said Kim, who shoots and edits Park’s videos.
Chang Wan-ji and Hsu Sho-er, 84 & 83, Taiwan
This elderly couple specializes in fashion portraits, using clothes sourced from an unusual place.
Hsu Sho-er and her husband Chang Wan-ji became fashion icons during the pandemic, and not just for what they wear but for where their clothes come from: they take self-portraits in outfits made up of clothes abandoned at their laundromat. Their Instagram account @wantshowasyoung now has over 650,000 followers — 10 times the population of their town in central Taiwan.
Their grandson, Reef Chang, started the project to give the couple something to do on quiet days at work. “They would doze off in the shop, and their spirits weren’t high,” he told the BBC. “So I thought, Since our family has these clothes, I can remind people to pick up their clothes and remind my grandparents their life can still be great, even in old age.”
Hsu and Chang used to confuse “followers” with stalkers, but now they are happy to receive comments from their fans worldwide fans. The couple were featured in Vogue Taiwan and a Mercedes-Benz commercial.
The octogenarian couple donate neglected clothes to charities, but they won’t run out of outfits any time soon: their grandson told The Guardian last year that at least 400 items of unclaimed clothing are still laying around the laundromat.
Wang Dewen, 63, China
This carpenter’s masterful woodwork draws attention both inside and outside China.
The Great Firewall, separating China’s internet from the rest of the world, has allowed for a separate and parallel online ecosystem to emerge. But Wang Dewen’s fame spans this digital divide: he has 1.3 million subscribers on his YouTube channel “Grandpa Amu” and nearly 3 million fans on the Chinese short video platform Xigua.
A carpenter and woodworker in Guangxi, China, Wang has mastered the traditional art of woodworking without nails or screws. Millions have watched videos where Wang makes a folding stool or even a small arched bridge across a stream.
The Chinese internet has extolled Wang’s craftsmanship, comparing him to Lu Ban, a legendary carpenter and woodworker in ancient China. The Wang family now has an online workshop on Taobao, the Chinese e-commerce platform. The local government has tapped into Wang’s popularity to foster tourism and develop roads, street lamps, and an upgraded sewage system in the area.
Despite that, Wang stays humble. “I’m just an old carpenter doing woodwork every day,” he told the South China Morning Post. “In China, there are many more skilled carpenters than me. I am merely showing our traditional culture to friends at home and abroad.”
Narayana Reddy, deceased, India
“Grandpa Kitchen” catered large quantities of food for underprivileged people. His legacy continues after his death.
Narayana Reddy was 73 years old when he died in October 2019, two years after he posted his first cooking video on YouTube. He had 6.1 million subscribers when he died — but the channel has over 9 million today.
“Grandpa Kitchen” featured videos of Reddy cooking large quantities of food for his local community in the state of Telangana in southern India. His mega-sized meals included traditional Indian dishes like biryani and samosas, Western staples like french fries, and even more international fare such as quesadillas and Scotch eggs.
After Reddy’s death, new videos have continued to appear on the channel. His successors include grandnephew Srikanth Reddy, who quit his full-time job to focus on the channel, along with other family members, according to CNN.
Nilson Izaias Papinho, 73, Brazil
This grandpa vlogger broke a YouTube record with … slime.
Nilson Izaias, a retired janitor living quietly on the outskirts of São Paulo, had around 1,800 subscribers on YouTube in January 2019. Virtually overnight, he became a social media star, known as Vovô do Slime: grandpa of slime.
It was all thanks to one video in particular, in which he tried to make toy slime. To say the video went viral was an understatement: according to YouTube, it was the fifth most-liked video on the platform in 2019. According to Wikitubia, a crowd-sourced database about popular YouTube creators, Nilson Izaias once held a global record for gaining the most subscribers in a single day: 927,929.
But his newfound fame wasn’t entirely positive. After the explosion of attention, the septuagenarian became a target of online disinformation attacks. Fake profiles impersonating Nilson Izaias began cropping up, and baseless claims accusing him of pedophilia circulated on the Brazilian internet.
Still, the grandpa of slime never forgot his supporters. In a now-deleted video which was captured by viral media outlets, Nilson Izaias thanked his subscribers by attempting to write down all of their names in his notebooks.
Doña Angela, 70, Mexico
This Mexican grandmother shares her traditional recipes with millions of fans.
One of the most famous social media stars in Mexico is also one of the more secretive. Doña Ángela Garfias Vázquez is the Spanish-speaking internet’s favorite abuelita, or grandma. Her YouTube cooking channel, “De mi Rancho a Tu Cocina” (“From my Ranch to Your Kitchen”), has 3.4 million subscribers. Over 5 million people follow her on Facebook.
But away from her social media channels, Doña Ángela keeps a low profile. NPR reporters said that they “tried for weeks to reach her through her social media accounts without success.”
Based in the central Mexican state of Michoacán, Doña Ángela posts videos about twice a week in which she teaches viewers how to make authentic Mexican food. She often uses fresh ingredients from her garden, such as eggs and nopal cacti. Her cooking takes place in a traditional kitchen with a big wood stove.
Doña Ángela debuted on YouTube in August 2019, and her daughter and son-in-law now help her shoot and upload videos. With her growing international influence, Forbes magazine’s Mexico edition selected Doña Ángela as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Mexico in June 2020.