How an 87-Year-Old Grandmother Makes Thousands in Endorsements on Instagram

How an 87-Year-Old Grandmother Makes Thousands in Endorsements on Instagram
Riley Schatzle
October 26, 2015
The 87-year-old Helen Van Winkle, better known as Baddie Winkle, is quickly becoming a household name with her provocative and controversial posts.
Her Instagram title states: “Stealing your man since 1928.”
Winkle already has 1.7 million Instagram followers and has procured celebrity endorsers such as Miley Cyrus, Nicole Richie and Gwen Stefani, according to CNN Money. She said:
“They want to be me when they get older. They want to do what I’m doing when they get as old as I am.”
Winkle’s husband died in car accident on their 35th wedding anniversary and her son died 16 years ago from bone cancer. Winkle lamented:
“I lost my husband and my son, and I got tired of grieving so, I reinvented me.”
Winkle grew up on a Kentucky farm and worked for energy tech company Dresser Industries for 28 years, but while her full-time position seemed like an ordinary all-American job, Winkle is anything but normal. She said:
“I was kind of feisty. I was never shy. I loved to dance and do things when I was young.”
Ever Since her 19-year-old granddaughter Kennedy Lewis posted a picture with Winkle, she has become a figure of popular interest. Winkle recalled:
“Kennedy would come home from school every day, and she would say, ‘gram, come look, you’re up 20,000 today.’ I mean, it just kept going.”
Winkle has been flown to events in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York by different brands. She walked the red carpet at the MTV Movie Awards and appeared on Nicole Richie’s VH1 show “Candidly Nicole.”
Pushing 90, Winkle does not plan on slowing down as she has teamed up with her granddaughters Kennedy and Dawn Lewis to further develop her social profile. The family picks out clothing, takes pictures and decides on the best captions for each post. Dawn said:
“I’ll say, ‘Do you want to keep doing this?’ She’s like, ‘I love it.’ I’m doing this for her, because she’s my grandmother.”
The 19-year-old Kennedy said:
“She’s always been just very outrageous in general. She’s always flirted with boys, she’s just always been different than other grandma’s I’ve known.”
Winkle and her family of social pioneers are discussing the possibilities of a reality TV show and a Baddie Winkle clothing line.
If her Instagram effort is anything like her dedication to her family, her success should only continue to grow. Dawn said:
“She would come to every school event, every cheerleading competition, every band competition and athletic competition. She was always there.”
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