Instagram has recently earned its latest and probably oldest super star in the form of the 1.5 mln follower account of Helen van Winkle, aka Baddie Winkle. The 87-year old woman has become an internet sensation for wearing the type of hipster clothes and raver outfits mostly worn by a generation 70 years younger than hers.
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“I don’t like ‘old women’ clothes. I never wore them in my life.”
Winkle created her badass alter ego – who doesn’t shy away from wearing marijuana printed T’s or seemingly smoking weed on her Instagram photos – to cope with the death of her husband and son. “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.”
It all began when she picked out some adventurous clothes from the closet of her great-granddaughter: “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.”
That first photo became an immediate hit on Instagram, from which point Winkle and Kennedy set her up with an Insta account of her own to start posting the unique images more frequently. It has led to Winkle being sent a ton of clothing and apparel by major brands, of course as a method to claim endorsement from the old lady, if she’d decide to wear them in one of her photos. “We wear some of them, and some of them we don’t, because we don’t like them. Most of the time, Kennedy picks what they send over. She’s my stylist, too — she helps me out a lot. Of course, she wants me to do things I don’t want to do, too, but that’s neither here nor there.”
Secondly, the antics of Baddie Winkle have made her into a pseudo-celebrity, with many of the rich and famous all wanting a piece of the action. It even led Miley Cyrus to invite Winkle as her companion to the VMA’s last month.