Leanne Ho was 40 when she signed up for an Instagram account.
Her first photo was a bottle of SK-II lotion which she placed unceremoniously on her toilet seat cover. It got just a few dozen “likes” at first. But it was enough to spur her on.
Five years and 4,260 posts later, Leanne has amassed a following of 60,100 on her Instagram account @loveforskincare, with each post of a beauty product typically garnering between 400 and 1,000 likes. She also has a beauty blog of the same name that grabs thousands of eyeballs a day.
Today, she is pursued by hundreds of cosmetics and lifestyle brands. Many offer her freebies or a fee to have their products featured on her platforms. On top of that, she gets invited to write for magazines, sit on beauty-award judging panels, and be involved in product tests and launches.
The fact that she’s 45 and a mother of two only strengthens her credibility and appeal.
“If I had let age stop me from embarking on social media, I’d have missed a beautiful, enriching journey,” she says.
In a landscape awash with teenage and 20-something influencers, Leanne is one of a growing number of lifestyle influencers in their 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond who have figured out how to break into the game.
Instead of selling their youth and popularity, these older folks are selling their wisdom and expertise, or simply the “realness” of living, raising a family, holding a job and dealing with ageing.
And there are huge swathes of audiences who would rather listen to them than young baby-faced influencers.
Older women who’ve figured out how to dress fashionably but age-appropriately, fathers struggling to make their children do their homework, or housewives deciding between which brand of soya sauce is healthier – all have the potential to find a following online if they can write well, take good pictures and aren’t publicity-shy.