“I understood that most viewers weren’t going to follow my grandma’s tips since she used non-famous brands,” Ms. Kim said. “But I thought it was a way to tell a story about her.”
Ashley Kim, 30, a Korean-American who lives in Melbourne, Australia, discovered Chang Myung-sook — a.k.a. Milanonna — another YouTube creator, when searching for self-care content online at the beginning of Australia’s lockdown in March 2020. “I was like, oh, it’s a granny?” Ms. Kim said of Ms. Chang, 68. “It’s a Korean granny!” Milanonna’s videos, including one called “Korean Old Lady’s Self Care Night Routine,” include skin care regimens that are similar to those of other YouTubers and to life hacks that come with age.
“In Korea, there’s this idea that once you hit a certain age, you’re no longer a woman, so it’s appealing to see these grandmas not give in to that narrative,” said Esther Oh, 32, who lives in Virginia and watches videos of self-described “Korean grandmothers.”
Jiyeon Kim, 30, who lives in Sweden, subscribes to Ms. Park’s channel but does not necessarily see it as a source of practical beauty tips. “I like seeing how passionate she is, but I wouldn’t wear my makeup like hers because it’s way too bold,” she said.
More recently, some older Koreans are joining TikTok. One account, @thenewgrey_, highlights the Ahjusshis, a crew of fashionable men in their 50s and 60s. Jee Sung-eun, 55, a founding member of the Ahjusshis, said he hopes the crew’s success serves as a reminder that you are never too old to try anew. “They used to say, ‘Life is a marathon,’ but I think it’s more like a triathlon,” Mr. Jee said.