When the Instagram account @Callhimrenny reached 10,000 followers, there was no turning back for its creator, aspiring actor Lorenzo Cromwell.
Entertaining people came naturally for the 20-year-old Queens native, who majors in theater at Brooklyn College. Now with more than 300,000 followers and countless reposts of his videos by fans, which include celebrities such as Diddy, Rihanna, Trey Songz, Chris Brown and Kyrie Irvin, Cromwell is ready to take on all the opportunities that will come his way.
“I’m not nervous. I feel like when you put a certain amount of work in for something to happen in your life, you’re ready for the benefits, you’re ready to reap what you sow,” said Cromwell.
He’s certainly doing just that. Last month he starred as three characters in the Brooklyn College Theater Department production of “Middletown,” and this past Halloween weekend he added the title of host to his busy schedule. His hosting debut was at the University at Buffalo’s African Student Association’s 16th annual fashion show.
The stage is his second home. He’s been performing since he was 14, but surprisingly, it was not his first choice. “I loved math at first,” said Cromwell. “Math is still great, but I’m an entertainer and I figured that out.”
His family has been supportive of his dreams, especially his mother. When she was younger, she wanted to be an actress, so she is proud that her son is able to realize his dreams. She remains a cornerstone in his life.
“I tip my hat off to my mother. She is very tough,” said Crowell. “I see why now that I’m 20 years old living in New York City and having experienced so much at a young age.”
His relatability to the day-to-day struggles of the young adults of the world is part of why he is successful. In the allotted 15 seconds that Instagram gives a person to record a video, Cromwell has been able to reenact our experiences and innermost thoughts. People who are a little too much at the gym? He has a video on that. Awkward moments before, during and after sex? All of that is covered. Relationships in general? Yes. Racial profiling? There’s one on that too.
Most of his videos follow a format that his followers have grown to love. There’s a close-up of his face, he says something hilarious with a straight face and then the sad outro melody plays. The melody has become his signature. It made its debut during a skit in which Cromwell was looking into an empty refrigerator. The whole premise was about looking into an empty fridge and being reminded of how broke you are.
“I said literally nothing in the video, it was all face expressions and the cue for the music, and that got like 2,000 likes and 600, 700 comments,” said Cromwell. “Everything that I do in my videos that is repetitive was built along the way. I just found it as I was recording and I saw the reaction that I got from it, so I kept doing it.”
The fickleness that sometimes comes with a fan base garnered through social media has not worried Cromwell. If he woke up tomorrow and all his fame disappeared, he would still be Lorenzo Cromwell—“Renny” for short.
“I don’t worry about that, because I don’t base my production off of that. I don’t produce for people to like me, I produce for people to enjoy it. I’m OK with what I am doing, and I won’t change it for the likes, the hype or the bandwagon fans,” said Cromwell. “I’m just doing me.”
For hosting and other business inquires, email Cromwell at LCromwell95@gmail.com.