Pin It
“90s Baddie Winkle”, 2018© Parker Day, Courtesy of Parker Day and Polaroid Originals

Baddie Winkle and Parker Day on why it’s important to stay weird

The 89-year-old fashion queen and the eccentric photographer talk to each other about the importance of being true to yourself

Photographer Parker Day’s wildly weird aesthetic and 89-year-old internet phenomenon Baddie Winkle’s eccentricity are a match made in heaven. While Day’s bold use of colour and unique choice of subjects illuminate all that's beautifully strange in our world, including the freaks of LA, Baddie Winkle uses her style to always represent her true self. It makes sense then that the two have finally collaborated in Day’s latest photo series Still Got It. In collaboration with Polaroid Originals, Day takes Winkle (once dubbed the grandma sliding into Drake's DMs) back to the 90s, incorporating a heavy techno-retro aesthetic as Winkle is doused in colour, perched on top of lime green, five-inch raver platform boots.  

In celebration of their coming together, we invited Winkle and Day into a conversation to discuss their eccentricity and why it’s important to always stay weird.

Parker Day: Hi Baddie.

Baddie Winkle: Hello Parker. What have you been doing since our shoot?

Parker Day: I’ve been busy scanning photos from the shoot and I've been working on my own, personal art projects as always and finding more beautiful, eccentric characters to photograph. 

Baddie Winkle: And you're so good at it.

Parker Day: Thank you Baddie! It brings me a lot of joy to work with people like yourself.

Baddie Winkle: That was a really fun shoot.

Parker Day: Thanks! I always try to keep the energy really positive and I don't want people to feel inhibited or self-conscious. I want them to break out of their shell and express something authentic because I believe in my photos. When you look at them, you feel that authentic person shining through, and that can resonate with anybody. It helps foster empathy; to have that feeling of “we are all the same!”

It’s so important to stay true to yourself. Baddie, you do that through how you dress. I think it's inspiring to see someone express themselves freely. What inspires you to get dressed in the morning?

Baddie Winkle: Well, I wake up... I check the weather, and I get dressed accordingly. You can’t worry about what other people are thinking about how you dress.

I dress the way I want to. Sometimes, you can tell what other people think, but most of the time, when I go out, some older people, you know, they dress older, but they'll say, “oh, you look so cute today” – it’s very flattering and it makes me feel very cute.

Parker Day: There you go – it sets off a chain reaction. People want to be able to freely express themselves and they need a little nudge sometimes.

“Just be yourself at all times. Do not try to be somebody else, you can't pull that off. You just can't!” – Baddie Winkle

Baddie Winkle: That's exactly right. You could be walking down the street and you give somebody a smile and they will smile back.

Parker Day: ... and then they will smile at someone else, and then that person smiles back, and there you go!

Why is it important to be eccentric Baddie?

Baddie Winkle: I like to be myself in photographs; to pose, do cute things, and just be me! Just be yourself at all times. Do not try to be somebody else, you can't pull that off. You just can't!

Parker Day: It's all about freedom; freedom to be who you are and explore who you could be. Have faith in your taste and who you are, and just summon up the courage to put that out there, and you will see that people out there want you to be as you as you can be. Once you start pushing through that fear you see that there's nothing to be afraid of.

Baddie Winkle: I've met all kinds of people and they're just like me. And I've never heard anyone, not ever, be like, “Oh I'm better than you are”. They've always treated me nice, respectful, just wonderful. 

Parker Day: You get what you give.

Baddie Winkle: That's true.

Parker Day: Baddie, I wanted to ask, do you have a favourite piece of clothing?

Baddie Winkle: I have a few favourite pieces. One is a lime green pair of overalls. They are really really cute and I like to wear them because they're really comfortable and they fit nice. And I have blue jeans for the winter and they have stars on them, they have roses on them. They're really sweet.

And, as a photographer, do you have a favourite image, Parker?

Parker Day: That I've shot? You're making me choose between my beautiful babies! Oftentimes my favourite image is the one that is a latent image on the negative on my camera; the one that I've just shot an haven't developed yet. When it's just that latent image on the film, it's still in this realm of potentiality that's not yet realised. That's filled with the excitement of the shoot and the hope for the end result. 

Baddie, you are turning 90 soon. How do you plan to celebrate?

Baddie Winkle: I'm planning a big party. We’ll have a DJ, it will be amazing. I've got so many friends and everybody's going to be there.

Parker Day: Well yeah, people want to celebrate with you. 

Baddie Winkle:: There'll be old and young there. I hope you can come!

Parker Day: I would love that! I can't say that I've ever been to a 90th birthday party before! 

Baddie Winkle: Well neither have I! 

Parker Day: Well it's got to be a big one!

Parker Day's Still Got It series featuring Baddie Winkle and was commissioned by Polaroid Originals to mark the launch of the new '96 custom vintage Polaroid camera and celebrate the past and future generations of Polaroid users