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You go, grandma

The story of “Baddie Winkle,” 87-year-old Instagram star and subversive fashion icon

By WITW Staff on September 4, 2015

Helen Van Winkle, who is more widely known by the name “Baddie Winkle,” likes to wear marijuana-print dresses and T-shirts emblazoned with slogans like “Bye Basic” and “Drake would never treat me like this!” She has 1.1 million followers on Instagram. She was Miley Cyrus’ guest to the VMAs. She is also 87 years old. In an interview with Refinery29, Winkle explained that she assumed her alter-ego to help cope with the deaths of her husband and son. “You don’t know what’s going to happen to you,” Winkle said. “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.” Baddie was born after Winkle tried on a tie-dye T-shirt and pair of cutoff shorts belonging to her great-granddaughter Kennedy, who uploaded the photo to Instagram. Baddie quickly became a sensation and a bit of a joke, but Winkle seems to be fully in control of her online persona. “I don’t like ‘old women’ clothes,” she told Refinery29. “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.”

Read the full story at Refinery29.