Bindi Irwin: Her Journey from Childhood Tragedy to Teen Role Model

Bindi Irwin has found herself in many different spotlights since her father’s unexpected death in 2007. In her 17 years, she’s starred in award-winning children’s shows and become an outspoken teenage leader. Now Irwin is gearing up for a new adventure on Dancing with the Stars.

Bindi Irwin Is All Grown Up and Dating: 'There Is Someone Special in My Life'

Ah, young love!

Bindi Irwin, who turns 17 on Friday, recently revealed that she is seeing someone.

“There is someone special in my life right now, and I’m really happy with that,” Bindi told Entertainment Tonight on Tuesday.

Bindi Irwin: Dating 'Is a Long Way Off'

“G’day,” Bindi Irwin says brightly at the beginning of her PEOPLE interview, reinforcing every preconceived notion with just one word.

In many ways, she seems like a typical teen who loves animals, fashion and music. Within minutes, she has confessed her love of khaki. (“It’s not just a color; it’s an attitude!”) She shares her phobias (bees, wasps and elevator doors) and her love for her 11-year-old brother, Robert (“I mother him sometimes”).

Bindi Irwin Calls Brother Robert 'My World' (PHOTO)

Wildlife isn’t the only thing that has captured Bindi Irwin’s heart.

The daughter of the late Steve Irwin played the role of proud big sister when she snapped a sweet selfie with her younger brother, 11-year-old Robert, on Saturday.

“This boy is my world,” Bindi, 16, captioned the shot of the siblings smiling for the camera, adding a heart emoji at the end.

Bindi Irwin Opens Up About Her Late Father, 'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin

Bindi Irwin has many ways of remembering the dad she adored, late Australian wildlife expert Steve Irwin, who died in 2006 when she was 8.

There are the “Daddy DVDs” of his adventures as the host of the popular Animal Planet series The Crocodile Hunter, which her brother Robert, 10, “studies with such intensity,” she says.

Bindi Irwin Is 'Feeling So Good' After Getting Learner's Permit on 16th Birthday

Now she’s really a teenager.

Bindi Irwin has taken up her beloved father’s mission of preserving wildlife, but she’s about to embark on a different adventure: ruling the road.

The young conservationist just got her driving learner’s permit, as she excitedly announced (along with a beaming photo) when she turned 16 on Thursday.

Bindi Irwin on Her Dad: 'It's Like Losing a Piece of Your Heart'

After her father, Crocodile Hunter star Steve Irwin, died following a freak attack by a stingray in 2006, Bindi Irwin says well-meaning strangers kept offering the same reassurance.

“I remember after we lost Dad, so many adults came up to me and said, ‘Honey, time heals all wounds,’ ” Bindi, who turns 16 on July 24, tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “That is the biggest lie you will ever hear. It doesn’t.”

Love, Loss and Photobombs Got PEOPLE Readers Talking This Week

From new love to old wounds, it was a week of emotional stories on

Stacy Keibler’s wedding, Graham Elliot’s weight loss, and Jimmy Fallon’s photobombs got the most positive reaction, while a pair of sadder stories – including a remembrance of Steve Irwin by his cameraman – were tougher to read.

Below, check out the five stories that got the strongest reactions from readers this week. And let us know what you think of every story we write by clicking on the icons at the bottom.

Steve Irwin's Cameraman: 'We Thought He Was Going to Live Forever'

The cameraman who filmed Steve Irwin’s death eight years ago has come forward about the adventurer’s final moments.

“We’re saying to him things like, ‘Think of your kids, Steve, hang on, hang on, hang on,’” Justin Lyons told Australian morning show Studio 10 on Sunday. “And he just sort of calmly looked up at me and said, ‘I’m dying,’ and that was the last thing he said.”