Instagram isn’t just for the younglings, and a few senior citizens are here to prove that. From cooking to dancing and fashion to sex education, these elderly influencers are breaking stereotypes and bringing in a wave of change to the platform. Here’s our pick of 10 senior citizen influencers who are teaching us that it’s never too late to embrace your passion:
1. Dinesh Mohan
There’s no right age to learn new things, and Dinesh Mohan from Delhi, who became a model and actor at 55, is a testament to that.
Almost a decade ago, he weighed over 100 kg and needed assistance even to stand up. But he decided to turn his life around by getting fitter and healthier. His transformation brought him opportunities to model and eventually act in movies.
Now 62, he continues to inspire many by breaking the stereotypes and by proving that anything is possible if one is determined.
2. Ravi Bala Sharma
Ravi Bala Sharma, also known as the ‘dancing dadi’, keeps her passion alive even in her 60s. Her elegant reels feature her dancing and grooving to songs with such energy that it would bring a smile to anyone’s face.
It was her late husband who always encouraged her to pursue her long-lost passion for dancing. Diagnosed with cancer in 2016, it was his wish to see her perform on stage. Unfortunately, he passed away before he could see this happen. So Ravi decided to channel all her grief into her other love, and eventually pull herself out of her trauma.
Her Instagram journey began in 2020, when her son posted a video of her dancing. Recognition soon followed, and over time, she has amassed almost 2 lakh followers.
3. Manjri Varde
Known as the ‘sassy saasu’ on the internet, Manjiri Varde is an artist by profession. With her daughter-in-law actor Sameera Reddy, she makes fun videos on breaking stereotypes surrounding the relationship between mothers- and daughters-in-law.
She is also an independent artist and designer who has her own label, Samanjri, which promotes wearable art, as well as showcases calligraphies along with poetic chants and verses.
Often dressed in colourful sarees and scarves designed by herself, Varde has a unique style of her own. Even at the age of 66, she is a star on Instagram through her videos on art, fun, and cooking with her daughter-in-law.
4. Sheela Bajaj
Sheela Bajaj, a 78-year-old from Delhi, rekindled her passion for crochet during the lockdown and turned it into a business through Instagram. She has been crafting crochet sweaters for her family for years. It was her granddaughter Yukti Bajaj’s idea to start a business showcasing her skills in knitting incredible pieces of art.
The duo launched their crochet business in November 2020, which has seen such warm reception that the demand for their products is now 10 times the supply, they say.
With over 35,000 followers, Sheela makes a wide range of crocheted products like sweaters, accessories, earrings, pouches, toys, and home decor items.
5. Mr and Mrs Verma
Mr and Mrs Verma, residents of Kalka in Haryana, are much older than the average Indian social media influencer, but at 82 and 76, are nothing short of being an internet sensation with their adorable videos.
It was their granddaughter Jonita who encouraged them to showcase their talents. She created an Instagram account and started posting videos of her grandfather Yashpal Singh Verma’s dancing talents. Soon, he was joined by his wife Shanta Verma.
Currently, with almost 60,000 followers, Mr and Mrs Verma continue to entertain through their trendy reels and fashion sense.
6. Poonam Sapra
Poonam Sapra (65), known to the internet as ‘mother with sign’, puts a fun and loving twist to all the wisdom of Indian mothers. It was her son Pranav who suggested she start an Instagram page to share her motherly advice with others.
In 2020, Poonam created her page and started posting photos of her holding up signs with relatable and humorous motherly advice for living a healthy and happy life.
Her advice, sometimes in the form of short stories, sometimes in poems, and sometimes in witty catchphrases, are lessons in life, parenthood, humility, and kindness.
Today, she has over 1.5 lakh doting followers.
7. Seema Anand
At 61, mythologist Seema Anand breaks the stereotypes around physical intimacy through her Instagram account. She gives her insights on topics related to sex, virginity and pleasure, thereby educating her followers in a simple and interactive way.
Her reels often bust several myths around the tabooed topic of sex, and encourage people to unlearn and let go of their misconceptions. She also talks about how older people can have a good sex life.
8. Shanthi Ramachandran
A banker-turned-Instagram food influencer, Shanthi Ramachandran began her social media stint in 2015 after retirement. It was her daughter who insisted she create an Instagram account where she could showcase her recipes, cooking tips etc.
In no time, Shanthi was receiving praises online for her simplistic and authentic Indian dishes — thokku, sambar, rasam, one pot rajma, and so on.
9. Rajini Chandy
The 70-year-old homemaker turned actor first caught the public’s eye with a viral photoshoot in 2021, where she carried off ripped jeans and dresses better than most of us could. Regardless, she had to face severe backlash for choosing to wear these clothes at her age.
Rajini, who has around 20,000 followers on Instagram, started her acting career at the age of 65 through Malayalam movies. She also appeared on a season of Big Boss Malayalam.
10. Kanan Bala
Going by ‘Mama K’ on Instagram, Kanan Bala is known for sharing delicious recipes of traditional everyday meals and exquisite dishes alike.
With around 35,000 followers, her Instagram feed is filled with drool-worthy and aesthetic pictures of food. Her posts and reels are a treat to the eye and invoke an instant feeling of comfort. Besides, most of her dishes are made using vegetables grown in her own house organically.
(Edited by Divya Sethu)