Gert Boyle during a book signing in Portland, Ore, March 29, 2005.
Rick Bowmer—AP
By Tanya Basu
October 6, 2015

She’s 91, survived a kidnapping attempt and is at the helm of one of America’s most widely recognized athletic brands. And now, “One Tough Mother” Gert Boyle is back—and as sassy as ever.

“It was time for us to insert some sexiness back into our advertising,” she cracked at the launch of Columbia Sportswear’s fall campaign, whose tagline is “Tested Tough.” The new ads featuring Boyle will debut on Wednesday.

Boyle’s original ads were a huge hit when they appeared in the ’80s and ’90s, with “Mother Boyle” in traditionally “tough” situations and showcasing the durability of the company’s trademark Gore-Tex parkas, among other products, reports AdWeek. One famous ad had Boyle appear with tattooed bikers; in another, the purple-haired chairman puts her son, Tim, through a carwash for the company’s interchange system.

Boyle’s innate toughness is a product of her life story. She escaped with her family from Nazi Germany to Portland, Ore., where her father transformed a hat manufacturing business into a global sportswear brand with sales topping $2 billion a year.

The iconic ads haven’t been on-air in a decade but the sportswear company is hoping to offer consumers a splash of nostalgia and take a bite of the current trend of hip senior ladies on the air—Joan Didion appeared earlier this year for Celine, and Iris Apfel worked with Kate Spade and Alexis Bittar.

Write to Tanya Basu at tanya.basu@time.com.

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