Baddie Winkle’s life is a Cinderella story. Except substitute the fairy-tale ball gown with punchy neon lips, green hair, club kid sequins and a cigarette; the white mice with 1.7 million Instagram followers (bio: “stealing your man since 1928”); and the carriage with a high-speed jet, transporting her worldwide for appearances and photo shoots, including Paper Magazine and a 12-page spread in Galore. Miley Cyrus has proclaimed her a style icon, and with good reason. Baddie (née Helen Ruth Van Winkle) is blowing up the fashion world with her audacious, no-holds-barred, age-defying approach to style.
“Confidence is everything to me. It is who I am and who I have always been. You have to own your identity and embrace you for you. You have to love yourself no matter what others think of you. It’s all in the way you carry and believe in yourself.
“I do love colourful clothes, I don’t wear too much black or anything like that. I love being in LA, because most of the time I’m doing shoots and things, but I also get to have my hair and makeup done and that makes me feel fabulous.
“I never take a break or breather. I have never sat down and said ‘Oh I am so old, I can’t do this anymore.’ It has never crossed my mind. I just keep going. People think, ‘I’m 50, I won’t get to model anymore.’ Well, that’s not true. All they have to do is keep on keeping on.
“I am embracing who I am even more so in my 80s. I have always been stylish; I just developed a more ‘out there’ attitude. I guess you could say I am living the dream of wearing what I want and not worrying about other people’s impressions. As I say, ‘Live and let live.’ I will wear what makes me feel fabulous and others can wear what makes them feel the same way. What does ‘age appropriate’ really mean? I mean, does it really apply to me or anyone else in this world? My opinion is they need to throw out that term, period. Who am I to judge others on what they wear? I think we only have one judge in this world, and I’d say he is ok with my dressing selections.
“I love Miley Cyrus. I think we think alike. I’ve only met her once and talked with her, and she was great. I like her style. I can see where she’s coming from, being younger and always on TV and she had to change herself. She’s a little wild of course, but that’s fine. That’s Miley. I guess I’m a little wild once in a while myself!
“Embrace your inner being in every way possible. It’s ok to get old. You don’t have to sit in a chair and watch the news. Enjoy your older years. These can be some of the best years of your life. Enjoy music festivals. Go out and experience all the things you were always afraid to try because you were afraid of what your family or friends would think. Live your life for yourself now. For years I, too, tried to do what my family thought was best for me. Now I just do it and don’t ask permission from anyone. I am the one who has to ultimately answer to my actions and myself. Have fun!”