Baddie Winkle: So Much Cooler Than *Your* Grandma

by:   |   Sep 2 2014

Most of us imagine what we’ll be like when we get older. Will we join a bridge club and wear out our library cards? Will we get hooked on Mucinex and turn into hoarders? Or will we become social-media legends and be renowned for our sassy attitudes and impeccable clothing taste? That’s the route that 86-year-old Baddie Winkle chose. One day, she and her great-granddaughter were messing around in their hometown in Kentucky; they dressed Baddie up in some thuggy outfits, took a few snaps, and uploaded them to Twitter. And naturally, the Internet proceeded to freak out and barf on itself. We called Baddie Winkle to talk to her about being a dang web celebrity, her workout plan, and life as an elderly badass.

So how did all of this Internet fame and craziness start?

I was visiting my granddaughter and great-granddaughter. One day, I had been out in the sun, so I’d pulled on a pair of cutoffs and a shirt over my bathing suit. And my great-granddaughter came home from school,and said, “Oh Granny, you look so cute! Let’s make a picture.” That’s what she does—she loves to make pictures. But she said, “Wait a minute, I got something else I want you to put on first.” It was a pair of multicolored socks. So we went outside and she took this picture. She said, “Grandma, I think I’m going to post this on Twitter,” and I said, “Uhhh, I don’t think so.” But she said, “Lemme post it and we’ll see what happens.”

So the next day when she came home from school, she said, “Grandma, you can’t believe this—you’ve got 5,000 followers.” And she started reading me what people were saying: “You’re the cutest grandma,” “I wish you were my grandma.” “I hope when I get as old as you, I’ll be just like you,” and all kinds of stuff like that. So she said, “We’ve got to give you a name.” So we sat around for a few minutes and came up with names. I said, “How about Bullwinkle? It used to be a thing on TV a long time ago.” And she said “No, that’s no good.” But we came up with “Baddie Winkle.” And it’s gone on from there. I cannot get my head around it. I mean, I’m all over the world. I just made a TV thing for Australia on Friday on ABC.


What do you friends and family think?

They think it’s great. My friends, they don’t do Twitter or Instagram, but they think it’s great. It’s mostly high school kids and college kids. And I also have followers from TV shows, singers—famous ones.

How often do you take new pictures?

We make ‘em sometimes every day, or sometimes we’ll wait a while. Of course, I’m busy too. I’ve got my own thing to do—I go to water aerobics three days week, I walk, I go out with friends.

I saw you said you “pray for basics.” What’s your advice to them?

To get a life! There are so many people that sit around on their butts and do nothing. They sometimes comment like, “I don’t like her, I wish she would die.” They should get a life.

They’re probably jealous of yours.

Well, I don’t want anybody to be jealous. I want them to like me. And most people do.

What’s your advice in general, for younger women?

Always stay in shape. Don’t overeat and get fat as a pig. Really! It’s so easy to stay in shape. If you gain five pounds and you don’t want that, then take it off! I mean, you can take it off in a week. Exercise is the main thing, it’s the key. But I eat anything I want. I guess I’ve got a real high metabolism.


Are there current celebrities that you think are handsome?

Oh yeah, Mark Harmon—NCIS is practically my favorite show. Otherwise, I mostly like police stuff, and when I read, I like mysteries.

What did you used to do for work? I’m assuming you’re retired. 

I worked for 28 years as a “tool clerk” administrator—I ordered all the tools and the parts that went to the machinery.  Then I retired from there, and lived on a little farm, about 6 or 7 acres.

How do you think that you’ve remained so cool at 86?

Well, my husband died 30 years ago, and my son died almost 16 years ago. And for a long time after they died, I was not cool. I was very depressed. So one day, I was out mowing, and I thought, “I am through with this. I’m selling my house and I’m moving into town.” And that’s what I did. And that’s when I reinvented myself. I still grieve, don’t get me wrong. But I take a walk and I talk myself out of dwelling on things like that. You go through this world one time, and you make the best of it every day.

It’s very inspiring to talk to you!

I believe in God, and I love to sing in church. That inspires me too.

What’s coming up next for you?

I really don’t know. I’m talking to this guy about a reality show. And I would really like to do a commercial.

I seriously cannot wait to see it. Thanks for chatting, Baddie!

You are very welcome!


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The Co-Founder and Ed-in-Chief of G.A.L.