Kiwi TikTok mum often mistaken for her son's sister shares secrets to 'age-defying' looks

Gemma Warby and her son, TikTok screenshots
The Auckland mum is frequently mistaken for her son's sibling - with some even thinking she's younger. Photo credit: @gemz.k / TikTok

An Auckland mum who is frequently mistaken for a teenager due to her youthful appearance has revealed how strangers often assume she and her son are siblings - with some even thinking she's younger than her oldest child.

Gemma Warby, a mum-of-five living in Tāmaki Makaurau, floored her fans on the video-sharing platform TikTok when she revealed the young man standing next to her in a photograph wasn't her sibling, or even her boyfriend - he was, in fact, her soon to be 21-year-old son Tyrese.

The 36-year-old, who had her first child at 15, says strangers and acquaintances alike are frequently shocked when they discover her age.

"When [my son and I] go out in public together, people often assume we are siblings, or even that we are a couple," the consultant told

"Strangers are always shocked, and they'll usually probe for more information.

"They'll say things like, 'You don't look old enough to have a child that age' or, 'Gosh how old are you? You look so young!' I used to get annoyed about it, but after years of hearing them, I just smile and say, 'Thank you for the compliment'."

Speaking to the outlet, Warby recalled a time when she attended a parent-teacher interview at Tyrese's school - and the teacher couldn't quite believe she was his mother.

"The teacher would look at me and say, 'Who are you?' and I'd laugh and say, 'I'm his mum'," she recounted.

Warby has gained a fanbase on the app for her fun and playful videos about the realities of pregnancy and parenting, as well as sweet clips of her brood and day-to-day life. Last month the 36-year-old gave birth to her fifth child, a baby girl named Rylee.

Warby and her husband Richard, who were "childhood sweethearts", are also parents to Tyrese, 16-year-old Lani, eight-year-old Luka and six-year-old Isabelle.

Earlier this year, the mum went viral after she shared a sweet montage of photographs showing her and her eldest, Tyrese, over the years - from her as a new mum and him a chubby-cheeked baby, to the people they are today.

"From newborn to 20 years old," she captioned the clip, which has since been viewed more than 5.2 million times.

In a video introducing Tyrese to her audience last year, viewers were shocked to see how young Warby looked next to her tall and bearded son.

"You look younger than him," one exclaimed, with a second joking: "I bet he has to fend off banter about his mum with his mates!"

"Naaaah, that's your brother," another quipped, with a fourth adding: "Omg! You look like his little sister."

"Nah that's definitely your older brother because you look too young to have kids," another declared.

In mid-2020, Warby shared her first video to TikTok, a clip that challenged her to paint her age at the time - 34 - before the audio ended. It's safe to say, her viewers were stunned.

"There is no way," one declared, with a second agreeing: "Whatttt I thought you were in your 20s! Mind blown!"

"Wow. I thought you were 23 or 24," a third added, with a fourth writing: "No way you're 34."

Others frequently leave compliments on the "stunning" mum's content, with many agreeing she is "radiant" and "beautiful".

But being a young mum understandably had its difficulties, with Warby telling that she'd often face judgement for having a child as a 15-year-old.

"Having a baby as a teenager was a bit hard, as you're still just a kid yourself - but my family were such a great support," she told the outlet. "But when I was younger, I'd get lots of looks and stares whenever I'd take him out. It only gave me thicker skin.

"I never once regretted having him young - it only made me want to be a better mother."

With her glowing skin, long, shiny locks and trendy style, Warby's advice for an "age-defying" appearance is simple: sunscreen and good food.

"I try to eat healthy, always stay hydrated and don't take life too seriously," she told

"I enjoy a good laugh, a great coffee and I'm also a bit of a foodie. I don't use anything too special on my skin but I do love to use collagen oil at night. Sunscreen is also a must."

Earlier this year, a stylish mum-of-two from Hoboken, New Jersey went viral on the video-sharing platform when fans discovered she was 51-years-old - prompting her to share the secrets behind her ageless looks.