Elderly laundromat owners inadvertently become Instagram-famous models

Emerald Pellot

A Taiwanese couple just became viral on Instagram.

No, Chang Wan-ji and Hsu Sho-er aren’t connected to the high fashion industry, they’re laundromat owners. Wan-ji, 83 and Sho-er, 84, model clothing left behind by customers. The Wansho Laundry owners have amassed over 542,000 followers on Instagram because, well, they’ve got swag.

The couple’s unofficial stylist is their 31-year-old grandson Reef Chang.

“I was really surprised,” Chang told the New York Times. “I had no idea so many foreigners would take interest in my grandparents.”

Chang began posting the outfits during the pandemic to help boost their business. Taiwan has successfully mitigated the crisis only reporting 458 cases and seven deaths, but the seniors were still hesitant to risk leaving their homes.

“They had nothing to do,” he said. “I saw how bored they were and wanted to brighten up their lives.”

A peek at the wantshowasyoung Instagram will make anyone feel like they’ve been transported into a world of hipster cool. Wan-ji and Sho-er sport matching beige suits, bucket hats and fanny packs in the photos.

Wan-ji and Sho-er married in 1959 and had two sons and two daughters. They ran the laundry business Wan-ji had participated in since he was 14 in the semi-rural district of Houli. Today, Wansho Laundry has moved locations but still has a loyal customer base. The couple are the only employees. Both their relationship and business have endured numerous changes in the country, including decades of martial law that ended in the ’80s.

Ultimately, Wan-ji and Sho-er hope to encourage other elders in Taiwan to get active with their Instagram.

“It’s better than sitting around watching TV or napping,” Wan-ji said. “I might be getting on in my years, but I don’t feel old.”

If you enjoyed reading this interview, check out B. Hawk Snipes explaining how they grew into the style icon they are today.

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