Having a birthday once every four years means it takes you a bit longer to reach your 21st.


84-Year-Old Born on Leap Day Has First Legal Drink with Ryan Reynolds

by Cameron LeBlanc
Originally Published: 

When February 29 is your birthday, you only have one once every four years. Just ask Arlene Manko, who was born on February 29, 1936. That means that despite coming into the world during FDR’s first term, Saturday was just the 21st time she’s woken up to see her birthday on the calendar.

And just like a lot of people celebrating their 21st birthday, Manko had her first legal drink. Unlike everyone else, she did it in a designed-to-go-viral commercial for Ryan Reynold‘s Aviation Gin. The ad was been posted to Instagram and YouTube on Leap Day, and it’s already approaching 4 million combined views, a worthy successor to the brand’s spot featuring Peloton wife.

Despite her (technical) youth, “Arlene’s Big Leap” shows Manko doing the kind of things people in their 80s tend to enjoy: wearing comfy slippers around the house, pouring tea from a silver kettle into a delicate floral teacup, and looking at black and white photos.

“I was technically five years old when I got married,” she tells us, a sentence that would be quite disturbing in any other context. Then, she drops some math: 30,681 days waiting to turn 21 and seven kid in 10 years.

“Do you think sometimes I never wanted a drink?” Yes, Arlene. Yes we do.

“Following the rules and doing what your told was important to me because that’s what I was taught. You don’t get in trouble when you do what you’re told. I’m not an angel, that’s OK. I’m ready to party.”

To prove it, Manko sits down behind a cake with lit 2 and 1 candles perched atop it and Manko sips her “first” legal drink out of a red and white straw

“Holy Moses,” she exclaims. A new fan of the Portland, Oregon-made spirit is born. It would be a natural place for the spot to end, but they decided that one more joke needed to be told.

“I didn’t know who Ryan Reynolds was,” she says. And while he didn’t appar in the spot, he did reply in voiceover.

“Ignore her. She’s been drinking.”

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