Meet the “Grandfluencers” Proving You Can Live Your Wildly Authentic Life—No Matter Your Age
Helen “Baddie” Van Winkle
Baddie Winkle, the 95-year-old great-grandmother and social media superstar from Kentucky, has been running (and pioneering!) the grandfluencer game for years. Her colorful and vibrant presence online has garnered the support of over 3 million loyal followers.
Helen said of her fight against ageism, “Older people are kind of overlooked. I think I started a trend that an older person could have as much fun as a 20-year-old and look as a 20-year-old! I think, you know, the older people should begin to, and they have some, to take an example from me.”
You can follow Helen on Instagram.
Cooking with Lynja
Lynja Davis, a 67-year-old retired MIT engineer turned social media food master, has amassed nearly 20 million followers between TikTok and Instagram.
Davis entered the influencer world at 63 when she launched "Cooking with Lynja" on TikTok during the coronavirus pandemic. Suddenly, the TikTok star's simple recipes swarmed the internet. Davis was named to Forbes Top 50 Creators list in 2022 and to Forbes 50 Over 50 - Lifestyle List in 2023.
Following her esophageal cancer diagnosis in 2019, Davis says the ongoing cancer battle has made her grateful for every single day she gets to work and entertain her fans.
Centenarian, and internet superstar, Mildred Kirschenbaum’s internet fame came as a surprise following a post made by her daughter, Gayle, marking Mildred’s 99th birthday went viral. “That was the beginning of our journey into social media influencing,” Gayle said.
Gayle and Mildred often use their platform to open up about mending what was once a very broken relationship between the two. They share their journey to forgiveness, managing to turn their relationship around when Mildred was well into her 90s. Mildred now says, “We are not only mother and daughter, we are best friends.”
Part of Mildred’s magic is her insistence that there is no reason to stop exploring or stop having fun. "Some people seem surprised that at 100 years old, I don't want to roll up and stop going out," says Kirschenbaum. "But why would I? Why would I be too old to do something I want to do?"
In a video posted right before her 100th birthday earlier this year, Mildred reflected on the power of attitude, “I have friends who are 20 years younger, 15 years younger, and their attitudes are gonna cause them not to survive to my age. They’re not grateful for anything. Change your attitude. Look at the positive side of life. I think that’s what got me this far. I try my best not to sweat the small stuff and have a positive attitude. Enjoy your day.”