The stunning transformation of Bindi Irwin

For many years, Bindi Irwin's father, the famous Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, was beloved by people around the world for his work with all sorts of different wildlife and his charismatic television presence. So when he suddenly passed away in 2006, after being attacked by a stingray, his family, friends, and fans were left devastated, and the world mourned the loss of a true pioneer.

However, despite the heartbreak and the tragedy, not all was lost, as Steve had two children with his wife, Terri Irwin. In fact, fans were already familiar with Steve's daughter, Bindi, as she was often seen at his side, and her father had lovingly praised her quite publicly. It was evident early on she was a chip off of the old block!

But it's been many years since Steve Irwin's passing, and, in that time, Bindi has come into her own and has become a beautiful and talented young woman. Check out her stunning transformation!

Bindi Irwin was born wild

This should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, but, ever since Bindi Irwin was a baby, her parents made sure that she was exposed to all kinds of animals. "From the moment I was born my wonderful mum and dad started introducing me to wildlife," she shared in a post on her Instagram page. "Our conservation work has been my life since the very beginning." So, while many kids might shrink away from snakes and other reptiles, Irwin was giving them kisses.

In fact, young Irwin was so into snakes that she brought a Burmese Python onto The Oprah Show in 2002, and proclaimed that snakes were her favorite animal. You can hear the audience's reaction both when she walks out handling a snake on her own and when she pops a smooch directly onto its head. "You are the cutest girl we've seen with a snake lately," quipped host Oprah Winfrey in the clip. That is some wholesome television right there!

Bindi Irwin: The Jungle Girl

Bindi Irwin didn't just make television appearances on her father's show, The Crocodile Hunter, when she was a child. Rather, she had her own show in Australia on the Discovery Kids channel called Bindi: The Jungle Girl, in which she — along with her friends and family — educated kid viewers about all kinds of different animals. Of course, the goal of the show was to promote conservation and appreciation for wildlife, much like her father's program.

Bindi: The Jungle Girl wasn't just big down under either, as Irwin won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series, beating out Sesame Street icon Elmo for the honor. "I am so excited. It's really great that my show Bindi: The Jungle Girl has taken off so well in the US after being on air for only nine months — that's amazing," Irwin gushed in an interview with the Herald Sun. "Most of the shows we are competing with have been around for … many years." Congrats, Bindi!

The show ran for two seasons, wrapping in 2008.

Losing her father was devastating for Bindi Irwin

The world lost a bright light on Sept. 4, 2006, when Steve Irwin died tragically at the age of 44, as reported by The New York Times. The news shocked the world, although, as Terri Irwin tells it, Steve always suspected he would die young. "He never thought he would have a long life," she told Anh Doh on an episode of Anh's Brush with Fame. "He always kind of had this sense his life would be cut short." Ugh, that is just so heartbreaking.

Of course, the Irwin family was devastated, something Bindi Irwin remembers many years later. "I remember people coming up to me and saying, 'I'm sorry for your loss, sweetheart. Time heals all wounds.' But that's just not true," she recalled in an interview with People magazine. "It's like losing a part of your heart, and when you've lost that, you never get it back." We are so sorry for your loss, Bindi.

Bindi Irwin promised to carry on her father's legacy

Although Bindi Irwin was only 8 years old when her father died, she was amazingly resilient in the face of insurmountable grief. Specifically, she was poised and composed enough to deliver a heartfelt eulogy at a public memorial at the Australia Zoo for the legendary Crocodile Hunter. What a fierce little girl she was.

In the eulogy, Irwin spoke about her father's many accomplishments and passions, and she swore to keep his legacy alive. "I don't want Daddy's passion to ever end. I want to help endangered wildlife just like he did," she said in the speech. She added, "When I see a crocodile I will always think of him and I know that Daddy made this zoo so everyone could come and learn to love all the animals. Daddy made this place his whole life. Now it's our turn to help Daddy." 

Russell Crowe also delivered an emotional eulogy for Steve, praising his wide-reaching legacy. For as sad as it all is, it's amazing what Steve did, and what he passed onto his children.

An acting career for Bindi Irwin? Check!

After appearing in The Crocodile Hunter and Bindi: The Jungle Girl, Bindi Irwin pursued a career in acting. Her first foray into the new venture was for a 2010 film called Free Willy: Escape from Pirates Cove. In it, Irwin played Kirra, an Australian girl who helps save a baby Orca trapped at her grandfather's park in South Africa.

Irwin was a bit intimidated at first, but she had some help from co-star Beau Bridges, who played her grandfather in the film. "I was a bit nervous about learning the lines but Beau taught me how to make them into a conversation," she explained in an interview with Reuters. "He gave me Acting: The First Six Lessons on audiotape and a book I'm reading right now."

Irwin went on to snag roles in television shows like My Babysitter's a Vampire and Curious George in 2012, and she starred in the 2013 film Return to Nim's Island. And while she has appeared on television regularly since then, it's been mostly as herself as opposed to as a character. 

The Australia Zoo is Bindi Irwin's second home

Although Bindi Irwin made quite the splash acting in films and television shows, it became evident as she grew up that the one place she truly wants to be is at the Australia Zoo. After all, she loves all manner of animals and has said that she prefers being with them over most people any day of the week. "Everyone thinks I'm an extrovert because of what I do and where I live," she shared in an interview with News.co.uk. "But my favourite day would be quiet with no people, just animals." Who could blame her?

Irwin is so at home at the Australia Zoo that she doesn't even mind dealing with the dirtier side of animal care, which can involve making some pretty gross meals, as is the case with Echidna food. "It is made up of squished insects, mince meat, and olive oil," she explained in an interview with Parade magazine. "Squishing up all those insects is not a fun job, but they're my favorite animals, so I would do anything for them." Sounds… nutritious? 

The love of Bindi Irwin's life found her

One fateful day in 2013, while Bindi Irwin was giving tours at the Australia Zoo, she met a handsome young visitor by the name of Chandler Powell — and sparks flew instantly between them. But Powell didn't pounce on the opportunity to see if Irwin was as interested in him as he was her. Rather, he left without asking her out, and he returned home to the United States, where he lived.

But that wasn't the end of the story, as Powell had a plan. First, he had his brother reach out to Irwin via email to ask if he could court her. After that, he wrote a letter to Terri Irwin, asking for permission to do the same. "Finally, after all that, Mum came to me and said, 'Who is this guy? Is he real, and why aren't you two together?'" Irwin revealed in an interview with 9Honey. That's definitely some old school dating game, but clearly it was the right approach. Nice moves, Chandler.

In 2015, Bindi Irwin won Dancing with the Stars

The year 2015 proved to be a banner one for Bindi Irwin, one in which she showed the world that she can do more than feed crocodiles and snuggle with koalas. That's because that year, the then-17-year-old won Dancing with Stars, along with her pro dancing partner Derek Hough (Julianne Hough's brother), as reported by Entertainment Tonight. The pair waltzed their way to victory with a variety of dances, including an homage to Dirty Dancing (with the iconic lift) and a moving tribute to her father. FYI, you might need a tissue for the second one, as it's quite emotional.

Dancing with the Stars was the experience of a lifetime for Irwin, who loved every second of being on the show. "There are no words to describe how much my time dancing meant to me," she wrote in an Instagram post. "It's all thanks to my extraordinary friend, teacher and big brother, @derekhough." And the fact that Irwin can dance!

Irwin was invited back to the Australian version of the show later on — this time as a guest judge. Impressive!

Bindi Irwin's mom is her inspiration

It's very clear that Bindi Irwin finds inspiration and motivation in her father's legacy, but, interestingly enough, that's not who she singled out as her number one hero in 2018. Rather, there's one other person whom Irwin looks to for guidance and direction. "My mum will always be my greatest inspiration," she gushed in a post on her Instagram page. "Since I was tiny she taught me the importance of standing up for what I believe in and staying true to myself. Her courage and determination has moved mountains." That is so incredibly sweet!

That's not the only time Irwin has praised her mother on social media, either. "On nights like this we celebrate everything Dad achieved but I'd also like to take a moment of appreciation for my mum," she mused in another Instagram post. "Her determination & love is what keeps Dad's important work going. Dad really was the luckiest man alive to marry such an amazing woman.‬" She added that she loves her mother more than she can express. Aw!

Bindi Irwin still misses her father

Despite the many things that are going swimmingly for Bindi Irwin, like her dream job and her even dreamier romance, there are still moments where she's overcome with grief for what she lost. "Some days you feel the grief more than others," she shared in an interview with The Daily Telegraph. "What gets to me are those moments when I'd love him to be here to share what we're doing."

The emotions pop up for Irwin on a number of occasions, ranging from the special to the mundane. "It could be when my brother is receiving an accolade for his photography," she continued. "Or it might be at the end of the day when we're having dinner and laughing. I'll think: 'I wish Dad was here for this.' But he's just not there." That has to be a difficult feeling.

While it in no way replaces his presence, Irwin finds comfort in the video clips of Steve that live on, such as this gem from her Instagram page. He really was a devoted dad.

Crikey! It's the Irwins

If you've found yourself slightly obsessed with the Irwins, you're not alone, as millions of fans are emotionally invested in this supremely benevolent family, as supported by the number of Bindi Irwin's Instagram followers alone. Fortunately for superfans, the Irwins debuted a new reality TV show in 2018 called Crikey! It's the Irwins on Animal Planet. In the show, viewers get front-row seats to the daily life of the Irwins at the Australia Zoo, as well as plenty of screen time with Terri, Rob, and Bindi, according to Parade magazine. Crikey indeed!

The show was renewed for a second season in early 2019, according to a post on Bindi's Instagram page. "We are so excited to announce that this year will bring season TWO of Crikey! It's The Irwins with Animal Planet," she revealed. "It is such a blessing to share our journey and continue Dad's legacy. I feel like he is walking beside us every day we film this wonderful show." We hope there are even more seasons to come!

Bindi Irwin's family is super tight

You might be tempted to think that the Irwins get sick of each other. After all, they live together, work together, and star on a reality show together, which is a lot of time to spend as a unit in each other's company. But if Bindi Irwin's social media posts are to be believed, the Irwin family is super tight, and they really do treasure one another. 

"Thankful to have such a beautiful family to hold my hand and share life's most magical moments," she wrote in the caption of one post on her Instagram page that showed Chandler Power, her mother, her brother, and herself all together. "I count my blessings daily to have their unconditional love and support on this whirlwind life adventure," she penned in another post, captioning a picture of herself with her family.

The Irwins are so close that they even play Pictionary together, according to another post on Bindi's Insta. It doesn't get any more wholesome than that!

At long last, Bindi Irwin got engaged

Hopeless romantics, prepare yourselves: Chandler Powell popped the big question to Bindi Irwin on July 24, 2019, according to a post on her Instagram page. Congrats, you two lovebirds!

There had been speculation for years that Powell and Irwin were already engaged, and it was something that they were constantly asked about. "It's interesting, as human beings we're always so rushed with things," Irwin said of the rumors in an interview with People magazine in 2018, adding, "I think we all need to just revel in the now." 

But at long last, Powell and Irwin got engaged, and they will tie the knot, something Irwin is more than ready for. "I'm so looking forwarding to spending our forever together as your wife," she gushed in a post on her Instagram page. "Here's to a lifetime of friendship, purpose and unconditional love — now let's get married already!" 

Bindi Irwin's destiny is "to make a difference"

If there's anything to be said about Bindi Irwin that sums her up, it's that she is here to carry the torch that her father, Steve Irwin, lit so many years ago. "I care about the planet and my destiny is to make a difference," she proclaimed in an interview with The Daily Telegraph. "We're doing it our own way, but you can feel Dad's spirit in everything we do." She added that she finds real solace in following in his footsteps, protecting wildlife and spreading the gospel of environmental stewardship and animal conservation. We are 100 percent here for this!

And as her mom, Terri Irwin, tells it, Bindi is a fierce wildlife warrior who doesn't compromise her morals and values. "When it really matters, she will stand up for something," she shared. "I've seen her do something I couldn't do in a situation where it was really important. She's a force to be reckoned with." We're all the better having her on this planet and seeing her live her truth each day.