Doris, also known as Sassy Gran is a popular 95-year-old social media celebrity. Her videos online have been seen over 250,000,000 times. She is the world’s Grandmother, giving advice and sharing wisdom with her fans around the world.
I was born in Colorado in 1925. My family moved west to buy land and become ranchers. I know it’s hard to believe looking at me now with my love of designer jewelry and false eyelashes, but I basically grew up shoveling horse crap and plowing fields.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“You don’t get to the Promised Land without going through the Wilderness. You don’t get there without crossing over hills and mountains, but if you keep on keeping on, you can’t help but reach it.”- Martin Luther King Jr.,
I say keep on keeping on often in my videos. It’s pretty simple. Never give up, life constantly changes, we constantly evolve. If you keep moving forward you’ll grow in good times, and you’ll make it out of the bad times. I believe that’s why I’m so active and healthy. I just keep on keeping on.
How would your best friend describe you?
At 95 years old, most of my lifelong friends have passed on. However, my best friend throughout my life used to describe me as a bumble bee. He would say that you didn’t want to make me angry for fear of my sting, but that I was the catalyst to make things bloom and blossom. In 1955 being an openly gay man wasn’t easy, but I encouraged my best friend to come out of the closet and be true to who he was anyhow. We fought bigotry and homophobia in a time when there was virtually zero support from the world around us. Life was hard, and coming out didn’t make it easier on him, but he became an incredible force because he was living his truth. We fought for civil rights side by side for decades. Sadly the AIDS epidemic of the 1980’s took him from me. Because of him, I’m still a champion for the LGBTQ community and I speak of it often in my videos as well.
You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much?
Longevity. This is something that I truly have no control over, but with this many years under my belt you’re bound to see history and people repeat their actions. You learn to see it coming and make preparations to either fight or get out of the way.
Determination. Whatever the circumstance, I will find a way to a better outcome. I left my cheating and abusive husband in the 50’s. I took my kids and slept in the car. I worked 3 jobs while the kids were at school until I saved enough for our own place. Many many years later at age 93, I broke my back in multiple places. We know this is a death sentence for seniors. I was determined not to die in bed and fought every single day to get up and walk again. It was excruciating, exhausting and overwhelming sometimes, but I did it. Today at 95 I still work out in my gym every single day, dance, and do yoga.
Empathy- listening to the needs of others and finding resourceful ways to empower people to reach their full potential. If we don’t truly care, we aren’t listening to the nuances in what people are saying with body language, eye movements and behaviors. Sometimes words alone aren’t the whole story.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?
When I left my husband the biggest obstacle was trying to make sure my children were safe so I could work. There weren’t a lot of single working mothers back then, and to be honest it was frowned upon. I didn’t have the support system that I needed to succeed. So when I finally established my own living situation I decided that there was a need for affordable child care. I started by babysitting children in my home and grew it into a larger daycare center that was aimed particularly at working mothers. I had a program for mothers that were on welfare, or struggling financially. I provided free childcare for them because I knew that the thing they needed most was peace of mind, so they could put their efforts into bettering their situation for themselves and their children.
And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?
I reinvented myself quite by accident. I think it was a combination of several things;
Fashion, technology, and a pandemic.
As a young woman I always adored fashion. I would collect magazines and dream of wearing the haute couture designs of the movie stars, Jackie O, and the French runway models.
We lost photo albums in a storage fire and my Grandson began filming me every time we were together. He would prank me, or he would ask me about my past, or just sit and gossip. But it was all filmed.
The pandemic arrived and people were stuck home and looking for escapism. Technology helped a lot of people survive by connecting them to the outside world. My Grandson uploaded his videos of me to the internet and overnight I had become a social media sensation.