At age 17, Bindi Irwin has opened up in an interview about the difficulty of losing her father at such a young age, but also the impact that her loss has had on how she manages her day-to-day life.
Out of the khakis and all dressed up, Bindi spoke to Australia's Sunday Style about her new beau, her hopes for the future, and of course, remembering her late father, Steve, who died when she was just 8 years old.
Nine years after the death of her father, Steve, Bindi has opened up about the ongoing impact of losing someone so close, and how the pain still, and will always, run deep:
"You never actually move on from it. As a little kid, I remember people coming up to me and saying, ‘I’m so sorry [for your loss], sweetheart, but time heals all wounds. There really isn’t a greater lie. It’s just not true. It’s like losing a part of your heart. And when you’ve lost that, you never get it back. Part of you will always be missing. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with."
Thankfully for the 17-year-old, who was named Young Conservationist of the Year in 2014, she has the continual support from her mother, Terri, and brother Bob, noting:
"As I’m getting older, I’m really learning unconditional love and loyalty are extremely important. I know I can count on my mum and brother to be there for me through good and bad times. It’s so easy to be there when it’s all sunshine, but it really takes strength and courage to be there for each other during the dark times."
And while it may have been easy for the small family to retreat from the spotlight after Steve's death, Bindi reveals that it was her father's way of living life to the full that has fueled her desire to do as much as possible while she has the ability. Talking about her crammed schedule she reveals:
"After losing Dad, there was the idea that none of us have forever. It really affects you. It makes you want to live each day as if it’s your last. My dad is probably the best example of the opposite of a procrastinator. He would say, ‘Right, I have this idea. We’re leaving in 20 minutes, are you coming?’ He was like that every day. It’s easy to put things off. Why wait until the weekend to do something special? Let’s do it now! I’m not a patient person. I try to take my time with things, but I like to say, ‘Yes, let’s go and do this.’ I think maybe it’s genetic."
And there's no doubt looking at Bindi's massive list of achievements, that she is certainly her father's daughter. Starring in movies, TV series, becoming an ambassador for Earth Hour and the face of Wildlife Warriors, Bindi Irwin is growing up, and along the way proving herself as an exceptional role model for others.
Of course, Bindi's interest aren't only limited to animals and conservation, and the 17-year-old recently revealed that she is dating 18-year-old American professional wakeboarder Chandler Powell. Despite Powell living in America and Irwin living in Australia, the pair maintain a long-distance relationship, relying on Skype and Snapchat.
Powell is also interested in environmental work, and the pair is working on Bindi's Wildlife Warriors Team with Powell as a Global Ambassador. Speaking about her boyfriend and their work together, Bindi said:
"We’re connected, which is so great. He is passionate about wildlife and an extraordinary wakeboarder. We are excited to be achieving more conservation work together. I feel lucky to have him in my life."
With so much packed into her short 17 years, there seems no doubt that Bindi Irwin is destined for great things in the future. While the death of her father was such a tragedy, it really seems as though Bindi has managed to find a way to honor him and continue his important message, even bringing a little more glam, to the khaki world of wildlife conservation.