Sometimes inspiration comes from somewhere completely unexpected. Helen Ruth Elam Van Winkle was born in Hazard, Kentucky in 1928. 85 years later, she became the hottest influencer on Instagram.
Helen, also known as Baddie Winkle, has always been a rebel with a penchant for outrageous behavior, but up until 2014, she was just another great-grandma from Kentucky.
Then, one day, when Baddie was staying with her great-granddaughter Kennedy, the two decided to fool around a bit. Baddie put on Kennedy’s clothes–a tie-dye shirt and denim shirts, an unlikely attire for a woman her age. Kennedy liked the look so much that she asked her grandma to pose for a photo. Later, the two decided to create an IG account for Baddie and shared her image in her short shorts and colorful shirt.
Completely unexpectedly, the new account started gaining followers at a rapid pace. Among her early followers were even stars like Rihanna. Baddie’s new internet fame was a bit startling, but once she got over the initial shock, she decided to just go with it and lean into her new image. She started uploading photos of herself in colorful, wacky clothes and heavy makeup and soon became a fashion icon followed by teenagers all over the world.
It’s pretty easy to understand why she’s become such an icon – everything about her, from her outfits to her bright smile, screams “I’ll do whatever I want”. There’s no such thing as too old, not even in fashion.