Ninety-three year-old Li is more than meets the eye. Li has worked a myriad of jobs, from making rat poison to collecting garbage, also volunteering for the army. But now, Li's famous for his latest job: working as a semi-nude model.
First appearing on Chinese image board TTmop, Li's story is an interesting one. Originally from central China's Henan province, Li is now one of the nude models of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. He's been at the job since 1995.
"My new life began at 75," Li's quoted as saying.
A veteran of the Korean War, Li eventually became a vagabond, traveling all across China to make money to send home to his home town. In 1995, a woman named Zhang Li "discovered" Li and brought him before an art class. It was then that Li's modeling career began.
For his modeling gig, Li has to sit upright for up to 45 minutes at a time. Because of Li's special look and his "professional" attitude, Li's become a staple of the University's nude models.
However, due to Li's advancing age, and to protect the university from liability, the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts stopped employing Li as an official model. Luckily for him, the majority of the universities in Guangzhou are based in the Guangzhou Higher Education Mega Center. Basically, one huge man-made island of higher learning. Due to Li's status, there are still art classes and clubs that have Li to model for them.
Li makes about $324 a month on his modeling alone, and he still picks up scraps to supplement his income. Li smokes a pack of cigarettes a day, but he spends lots of time keeping up his features by washing his face, hair and beard.
Li currently resides in a small apartment near the education mega center with a 24 year-old woman called "Ah Juan." As a result of bad circumstances back home, Juan found herself living with Li. The duo share a small apartment and often do activities together, like watching TV. Li says he thinks of Juan as his granddaughter.
Migrant workers are the backbone of China's working force. Some live in relative comfort but some are a bit more unfortunate. It's good to see that life is treating Li relatively well, considering that he was once a service man.