Wang Deshun is an 80-year-old artist, actor, athlete and model who has been aptly dubbed “China’s hottest grandpa”. At 80, he has a toned body that makes him look half his age.
Unlike most places, old age in China begins relatively early. Women retire at 50 while most men retire at 60. Although old age comes with respect it also comes with a stigmatization of old people as weaklings.
Wang scoffs at China’s expectations of the elderly, such as wearing long robes and being unfit. He however decided early on not to be subject to those expectations, instead, he sought to explore new skills and ideas while improving on his physical and mental fitness.
“One way to tell if you’re old or not is to ask yourself, ‘Do you dare try something you’ve never done before?’ ” he told The New York Times.
“Nature determines age, but you determine your state of mind,” he said.
Born in Shenyang, north-eastern China in 1936 to a family of nine, he began working as a streetcar conductor after the communist party came to power.
“I liked acting, singing, dancing, playing musical instruments so much that I joined my work unit’s band.”
Mr Wang has always been one to fancy athleticism. As a child he was a swimmer, he still swims more than half a mile each day. Gym sessions are also a part of his everyday routine.
“Morning is my learning time,” he said. “I read books and news. From 3 to 6 p.m. is my exercise time, in a gym near my home.”
Despite his fit frame, Deshun says he eats whatever he wants, with the only restriction being alcohol.
“I am not picky at all about what I eat. I eat whatever I want.”
In 2015, Wang Deshun walked the runway for the first time, giving him international recognition.
Since then he has garnered thousands of admirers on Weibo, China’s twitter, who admire his body and aspire to be like him at his age.