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- Australian-American television personality, conservationist and zoo operator
Bindi Irwin is growing up.
The 17-year-old Dancing With the Stars champ recently graduated high school and in an exclusive chat with ET, reveals that she’s also completed her college course work!
“I just got sent my graduation certificate, which is a huge milestone for me!” Bindi tells ET’s Lauren Zima. “I finished year 12, but I had a couple of tape courses … college courses that I was taking, and they just sent through my certificate that I finished them all.”
Of course, she had a pretty good incentive to get it all done.
“What was really exciting is that Mom said, 'Once you have graduated completely and you’ve gotten through all of your college work, we’ll have to go and have a look at trucks together,’” she shares. “So, I’m looking forward to maybe getting a truck. I’m driving my dad’s old 'ute’ which is really, really fun but it’s maybe 20 years old.”
“It was actually my dad’s [the late Steve Irwin] idea,” she says about her graduation gift. “He said, 'When Bindi gets old enough, I want to make sure that she has a really good truck.’ And Mom said, 'We’ll wait until she graduates and we’ll get her one.’ So, we’re going to. I’m going to help to buy it, but it will really, really be a fun adventure for us.”
Bindi says she’s excited to turn 18 on July 24, and is more than ready to embrace adulthood and more responsibility. She plans to continue working at the Australia Zoo, helping with management, and continuing her father’s legacy.
“Our soul tells us how old we are, and I guess for me, I do feel kind of old,” Bindi muses. “Just because I really feel I have a purpose and a mission here on this earth, and I feel like I’m going to spend the rest of my life trying to do the best that I possibly can to create positive change on our planet, and make sure we have a beautiful future for the generations to come. So, I think that I really have that kind of drive and mission, which maybe in a way kind of ages you because you know your purpose.”
“Some of us, it takes a while to figure out exactly what our purpose is – and maybe it’s many different things – and I feel like I’ve lived 10 lives in one lifetime,” she adds. “I guess that’s what probably aged who I am inside more so than anything else. But I certainly am excited to turn 18.”
One of the bigger milestones she’s looking forward to is getting her own place – but one that won’t be too far from the Australia Zoo or her family.
“Living in the zoo is so special,” Bindi says about her current digs. “It’s our place, and it’s just beautiful to be here, so we all live together. However, there is a little house across the street. Some of our other zookeepers have stayed there looking after different animals, and I don’t know, maybe in the next few months I might look at that little place and might kind of do it up a little bit because it definitely needs a renovation – a new bathroom. If I was going to move, I think I’d probably just move directly across the street, which would mean I’d live 10 feet away from Mom and [younger brother] Robert, but still technically be in my own place, because I don’t think I’ll ever leave the zoo.”
As for her next project, Bindi’s hard at work at writing a new book, which she hopes will be out next year.
“I’m trying my hand at writing and I’m currently writing a book – it’s in the works,” Bindi reveals. “Hopefully next year it’ll be coming out and everyone can check it out, but it’s been really fun.”
“It’s not so much about myself, as the lessons that I’ve learned, and just trying to spread that love and light that we all really need,” she explains. “It’s really just an inspirational book about life and love, from school to health and just everything. Like I’ve said, I feel like I’ve lived 10 lives in one lifetime, and I think that I have been so blessed to have been given a journey where there’s been a lot of great times, but there’s also been a lot of challenges. It’s just a behind-the-scenes look at everything I’ve done so far and a little bit of happiness, so when people read it, maybe they’ll be inspired. That’s the ultimate goal.”
Last month, Bindi turned heads in a grown-up selfie, looking glam in flawless makeup and a T-shirt.