Instagram sensation Baddie Winkle claims she’s been “stealing your man since 1928.” With 3.9 million followers, she has grown a huge fanbase in the last five years. I spoke to “Baddie,” aka Helen Van Winkle, about how she became an internet fashion icon well into her 80s.
Baddie Winkle recently moved back to her hometown of Richmond, KY, to be closer to friends and family members. (She has an older sister who’s 94 and another sister who’s 88.) Baddie describes her new occupation as a “social media celebrity.”
Born in 1928, Baddie grew up on a farm and spent 28 years working for Dresser Industries ordering gauges for machines. She spent her days with engineers and her nights raising children, grandchildren and, more recently, great-grandchildren. It was one of those great-grandchildren, Kennedy, who first introduced her to Instagram. Baddie shot to social media fame when 19-year-old Kennedy posted a photo of her great-grandma in cut-off jean shorts and a tie-dyed shirt on Instagram.
In speaking to Considerable, Baddie said, “Do you need money to dress fashionably or stylishly? I’d be lying if I said money did not help, but it does not have to define you or your style.” Baddie revealed that she’d found some of her favorite pieces in second-hand stores. “One man’s trash is another fabulous woman’s rainbow of treasures.”
Baddie describes her style as “glamorous streetwear,” though admitted, “I think I might be in my own fashion category.” She explained that she has always dressed to keep up with the times. “People of my age are afraid that will upset their family or friends. Just dress to suit you, and not others.”
“My suggestion for women is to find something that they feel comfortable in and then add color and maybe some bling,” she continued. “Color never hurt anyone before. Start with color and the rest will fall into place. Don’t look for validation from others, especially your family. Keep an open mind and go for what makes you happy!”
I asked Baddie if she’d received any negative comments due to her outrageous style. “I get pushback everyday. I get some hate, but I just pray for them for being so basic.”
“The key is to find fashion that looks good on you,” says Baddie. “If it looks good on your body type — rock it. Who cares what anyone else thinks? My advice for the future is to keep moving, enjoy life and absolutely don’t worry about the little things, those little things will take care of themselves. Always provide a smile to others and they will smile back.” We couldn’t agree more. Follow Baddie Winkle on Instagram here.
All images courtesy of Baddie Winkle.