Over one million people around the world have fallen in love with this 87-year-old who turned her life around after the death of her husband and son.
Meet Helen Van Winkle, the Instagram star who believes that age is just a number and that she doesn’t feel old.
In an interview with Refinery 29, Van Winkle or Baddie Winkle as her followers know her, she revealed the tough life she’s had and how she embraces life – including wearing outlandish, bright outfits that scream “age-inappropriate”!
But she doesn’t care, this is her second “her”, her alter ego and one that doesn’t care about what others think.
“I don’t feel old. I have never felt old. I think you can dress any way you want to”, she said. Van Winkle lives in Knoxville, TN, with her granddaughter and her 19-year-old great-granddaughter, Kennedy, who was the one responsible for her fashion sense.
“Kennedy is responsible for all of this. Kennedy and I have a lot of fun together. We’re very close”.
Following the sad deaths of her husband and son, Helen began dressing more adventurously: “You don’t know what’s going to happen to you. I blamed God forever. I cried all the time because I couldn’t come to terms with it, so I made myself over into Baddie Winkle”.
The beginning of her fun, flamboyant alter ego began like this: “One day, I was laying out in the sun, and I put on some tie-dyed shirt and a pair of cutoff shorts of my [great-]granddaughter Kennedy’s. She came home and said, ‘Oh, Granny, you look so cute! Let me take a pic of you.”
She’s now a social media celebrity, amassing fans from all over the world and more clothes than she could find time to wear. “We wear some of them, and some of them we don’t, because we don’t like them,” Van Winkle says about her and Kennedy.
There are videos and pictures of Baddie Winkle smoking pot but she says it’s all in good fun – and she doesn’t actually smoke marijuana.
In defence of her crazy style, Baddie said, “I don’t like ‘old women’ clothes. I never wore them in my life. But I would also never be caught dead in pasties or short-shorts that show half of your butt. I’ve had pictures made like that, but I just did it for the fun of it”.
Helen has shown how grief can her use to reclaim ourselves and learn how to enjoy life again. “Baddie Winkle has helped me a lot — in spirit, anyway. The lessons that I have learned is live and let live,” she says. “I would love to be a role model for older people. You’re only here once in your lifetime, so have fun”.
We 100 per cent agree!
Take a look at her interview here and tell us, have you embraced growing older?
Meet 87-Year-Old Instagram Sensation Baddie WinkleThe true story of 87-year-old Instagram star BaddieWinkle. 1 million followers and counting.
Posted by Refinery29 on Monday, 31 August 2015