Unless you have an ab blocker installed on your phone, you would have heard of Chuando Tan, the ripped 52-year-old photographer and professional thirst trap who went viral in 2017 for looking impossibly youthful. Heck, you might even have followed him on his Instagram account (@chuando_chuandoandfrey), just so you don’t miss out on the hot shirtless photos he posts. He’s now the third Singaporean after JJ Lin and Aaron Aziz to have over a million followers on the social media platform.
Unlike other meme’d Internet flavours of the month (remember Salt Bae?), Chuando has only gotten more popular over the past year. When he made our cover last September, he had over 450k followers. That number has since ballooned to over a million. In April, he uprooted himself and moved to China, which is really where his viral Internet fame started: a Chinese website had ran an article about the curious case of his everlasting youth.
“China is the place to be now. The whole world is turning their attention there and everything is happening there. That gave me a good reason to move to Beijing,” Chuando tells us during a recent catch-up sesh over tea, when he was back in town from a whirlwind trip to Nanjing to attend an event for outdoors wear brand Timberland. Oh, and he had signed with a “Hongkong artiste management agency that also represents Angelababy and [Japanese model] Kiko [Mizuhara]”.
8 DAYS: Congrats on hitting one million followers on Instagram! When we spoke last August, you had over 450k followers. What happened in between?
CHUANDO TAN: A lot of people from all over the world, like South America, have told me on Instagram that they discovered me and are now following me. And I think it became a trend in India for the Instagram users there to tag me in their photos, even if it had nothing to do with me. I guess they are using my account as a platform [to get exposure for their photos]. They’d DM me too, saying “I love you”, “What’s your diet and skincare like” and things like that. That’s the main part of why people are still following me on Instagram — anti-ageing. They want to find out more about me than my photography work, even though I started this Instagram thing for my photography.
Do you get tired of people asking you about the same things?
Honestly, in this time and age, everyone gets bashed easily online. I appreciate anything that’s not bashing. People can post anything they want and tag me. I have been advised to [untag] myself from the posts I don’t like, but I think it’s fine. Whatever makes them happy. But I have the right to delete comments that are racist, sexist or will negatively affect anyone reading it.
Do people bash you?
They will say things like, “Oh, you’re not really 52. You’re just trying to make yourself famous.” Or they will say I still look good for my age because I’m not married and don’t have kids (laughs). We are all human — who won’t be bothered by such comments?
People judge you for not having kids?
Ya. But people have all kinds of mindsets. After awhile, you get numb to it. In China, people also asked me, “How did you make yourself famous?” And I told them I really don’t know. One day I woke up and my Instagram followers just shot up. It was also a shock to me.