A 91-year-old woman is YouTube famous for modeling her favorite quarantine outfits in backyard fashion shows.
Betty McDonald lives in Georgia, where businesses like gyms and bowling alleys have begun opening up, before shelter-in-place orders ended on April 30. McDonald’s advanced age makes her vulnerable to the virus, however staying home has dampened her spirits.
Caretaker and neighbor Kim Taylor noticed. “Ms. Betty is used to social interaction — going to church, the senior citizen’s center, and Cracker Barrel with friends,” she tells Yahoo Life. “Not being able to dress up, she has been bored, so I suggested doing a fashion show outside.”
“That was music to my ears,” McDonald tells Yahoo Life. After a few twirls in her Albany yard wearing her fanciest garb, Taylor decided to introduce her to YouTube.
In two videos posted to Taylor’s YouTube channel, McDonald shows off a variety of Goodwill outfits from her three closets: A black-and-white jacket with a patterned skirt, a blue hat with jeweled hearts and a red blouse with a white blazer, plus chunky and glittery jewelry.
The fashion shows are a tribute to her husband John Henry McDonald who died in 2007 after serving 20 years in the U.S. Air Force. The couple of 58 years met at a USO dance at Tyndall Air Force in Panama City, Florida. As McDonald explains an April 22 video, “We danced, we dated, and four months later, we married.”
McDonald loved dressing up for outings to the bowling alley, movie theater and dance club. “He was my best friend and he was my personal chef,” she adds in the video. “This is for you, dear John. God bless.”
To preserve McDonald’s energy, she and Taylor film each outfit on separate days, then Kim edits and posts them on YouTube. Reading the positive comments have invigorated McDonald, who looks forward to dictating each reply as Taylor types on her laptop.
The fashion shows have distracted McDonald from worrying about the coronavirus pandemic, says Taylor. “She is a wonderful lady and when she does her fashion shows, the cares of the world fade away.”
Taylor is teaching McDonald how to send text messages on her flip phone, however, she doesn’t have an internet connection. “She asks me, ‘What’s on YouTube? today’” says Taylor.
“Now, Ms. Betty calls me her producer,” she says. “I joke that when she’s famous, we’ll need [professional] camera equipment.” Adds McDonald, “I feel like a natural star.”
One of McDonald’s childhood dreams is to ride in a convertible car, so a test drive might be in their future, although Taylor will take the wheel. “I will sit in the back and wave,” says McDonald.