Women Of A Digital Age: The Life-Affirming World Of Older Influencers

These digital dames are bridging the social media generation gap.
older influencers social media

The term ‘influencer’ might be associated with twenty-somethings but there’s another generation making their own mark on social media.

Sharing their outfits, beauty routines and life advice in TikTok videos and Instagram posts, women in their 50s, 60s and beyond are changing how we expect ‘woman of a certain age’ to show up online—and off.

Take the silver haired Grece Ghanem, a 59-year-old microbiologist-turned-fashion-influencer with 1.6 million followers on Instagram.

Ghanem is as defiantly confident in everything from oversized Miu Miu sweater and Acne jorts as she is in barely-there bikinis.

Similarly, Lyn Slator of @Iconaccidental became an fashion influencer at the age of 61 after posting pictures of her outfits on her fashion blog.

Now, at 70-years-old, Slator is still inspiring her hundreds of thousands of followers with her eclectic style and sharp cultural observations.

Like Ghanem, Slator plays in a space dominated by a younger generation, and by doing so, challenges our expectations of how older women not only dress, but behave and think too.

Closer to home in Melbourne, Ginger and Carman share their creative fashion choices and spirits with over 350,000 followers on TikTok.

The creative duo, who became friends as school mums, first began making videos during a trip to Paris, where they found an “incredible sense of freedom” in doing things a little differently to everyone else.

With a shared dislike of waiting in lines, the friends followed their gut instead of the map, often “turning left instead of right” and finding adventure down “different pathways, laneways and stairwells.”

This adventurous approach to life is at the heart of the pair’s TikTok videos, which don’t only showcase their daring sense of style and contagious humour but an almost rebelliously joyful experience of ageing.

“We’re all so pre-programmed, it’s like breaking the chain,” Ginger and Carman say of their videos.

For women of the same age, who may struggle recognise themselves in the mainstream—and usually younger—influencers on social media, creator’s like Ginger and Carman can provide a valuable source of inspiration.

Because of course, it’s easy to forget that older women need role models too.

The stylish 63-year-old Gym Tan behind @Californiaistoocasual provides a similar service on Instagram, where she offers beauty, fashion and life advice.

While Tan’s advice is not specifically directed at women in their 60s, it possesses an ageless quality that’s hard to find in the beauty routines of twenty-something influencers.

Just as these figures can be empowering to women in their own demographic, they can also inspire a younger generation of social media users.

“Often, they see hope in us,” Ginger and Carman say of their younger viewers.

“We’re not wagging our finger at anyone, we’re just going ‘hey guys, don’t panic about getting older.’”

In a society that places a high value on youth, seeing older women posses as much—or even more—style, joy and joie de vivre as younger women can dispel the fear and stigma around getting older.

Ginger and Carman believe this is particularly important for people without older friends or family members.

“A lot of young people may not connect to someone older in their family. It can be really hard for them,” they say.

Accounts like @brunchwithbabs and @excusemygrandma fill this gap by imparting generational wisdom to those who don’t have someone to teach them how to host a dinner party, dress for a date or fold a fitted sheet.

Without connections to older people in our real lives, we risk missing out on valuable insights from different generations, and remain in a bubble of our own.

It may also be for this reason that people are so drawn to accounts like the sassy 98-year-old Dorothy Wiggins behind @dorothylovesnewyork, and @its_j_dog, who lives in a retirement home and has an Instagram bio that reads, “I’m 91 and probably have more followers than you.”

There are challenges that come with being both part of a younger or older demographic online but both Ginger and Carman believe that age is on their side.

“We’ve got the wisdom to go with our gut feeling,” they explain, “the thing that we stick to is not sticking to anything.”

“I think that with our age, that’s a lot easier. I think young people feel the pressure to post. We don’t. We like to be as authentic as possible in whatever we choose to do.”

When it comes to making a mark online, the pair believe there’s one quality you need to embrace—regardless of your age.

“If you really want to connect in the digital world, you really have to have a bit of courage,” Ginger and Carman say.

With this courage, older influencers are starting to narrow social media’s generation gap, and in doing so, making our feeds a little wiser and a truer to who we are—and who we’ll one day become.

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