She spends most of her time living life as a normal kid, but once a year, Dannielynn Birkhead gets to experience something most teens don’t: a red carpet moment. The daughter of late model Anna Nicole Smith has a tradition of attending the Kentucky Derby every year with her dad, Larry Birkhead. For years, the father and daughter have attended the annual horse race and events associated with it, such as the star-studded Barnstable Brown Kentucky Derby Eve Gala.
This year, Dannielynn and Larry were back for the festivities once again, and Larry shared some of their experience on social media. Read on to see photos of the pair at this year’s Derby and to find out the touching reason why this is their yearly event of choice.
Larry and Dannielynn regularly attend the Kentucky Derby, because it’s a way to keep the memory of Smith alive. Larry and Smith met at the Barnstable Brown Gala in 2003. As reported by E! News, at the time, Larry was working as a photographer and Smith was filming her reality show The Anna Nicole Show. Smith died four years later in 2007 when Dannielynn was only five months old.
For this year’s Barnstable Brown Gala, Dannielynn wore the exact same outfit that Janet Jackson wore to the event in 2003.
“Dannielynn is wearing Janet Jackson’s personal outfit that Janet wore to the 2003 Barnstable-Brown Gala,” Larry shared on Instagram. “It was purchased as a part of Janet’s @juliens_auctions benefitting charity. Ironically, Janet is expected to attend tonight.”
In a second post, Dannielynn, Larry, and Jackson all pose together. Larry captioned it, “What a night! Dannielynn got to meet @janetjackson at the Barnstable-Brown Gala, while wearing Janet’s outfit that she wore to the same party in 2003. Janet was so gracious and complimentary of Dannielynn in her outfit. She made Dannielynn so happy and even graciously posed for a photo with us.”
Larry also explained that after the Derby, he and Dannielynn would be attending Jackson’s concert.
Larry shared some photos from the day of the Derby, too. To the main event, Dannielynn wore a colorful patterned dress and large blue fascinator.
“Betting on a great time with Dannielynn today at this year’s @kentuckyderby, then off to the @janetjackson concert!” Larry wrote. Along with the new images, he posted a photo of Smith and wrote, “Saw this pic of Anna and thought Dannielynn looked like her twin!”
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In interviews, Larry has shared that he made it a priority to give Dannielynn a normal upbringing away from the spotlight.
“I made a conscious decision a long time ago to move to Kentucky,” he told Today in 2016. “I do that on purpose because it takes away the chase, it takes away the curiosity, it takes away the false stories.”
In addition to their yearly trips to the Derby, Dannielynn did make another public appearance recently. In February 2021, Dannielynn and Larry participated in a 20/20 special about Smith called “Tragic Beauty.” In the documentary, Dannielynn learned more about her mother as she and her father visited Smith’s hometown in Texas and met people who knew her before she was famous.
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