One look at Renny Hunter’s YouTube channel and Instagram pages (she has two!), you would expect her to be just another one of those models who grew up with a perfect life. As beautiful as her life in Connecticut looks like right now, she actually had numerous struggles while growing up. From trying to comprehend why she grew up in a single parent household to identity issues to being aware of being emotionally different as a child, Renny braved through so many things and is able to look back and smile.
She didn’t expect to have the life that she has now. She openly admits that she had had an emotionally tough childhood and felt different compared to other kids her age. So what inspires her to kick butt on a daily basis and still look awesome while doing it?
Renny’s parents met through mutual connections in New York City (where she was born) while they were on modeling jobs. Because of the fact that her dad was a male model, monogamy wasn’t his strongest suit and ended up cheating on his wife with her mom.
As a result, Renny was born in between her two older half-brothers and younger half-brothers from his dad’s first wife. She considers all of her brothers as her full siblings, and has a tattoo on her wrist that says “I am my brothers’ keeper” and her brothers have something similar but says “I am my sister’s keeper.” A year after her meeting with her older brothers, she finally met her younger brothers. She thinks her brothers are the greatest things in her life.
Growing up half-Pinoy in a single parent household
As a result, her Filipina mother managed to soldier through with raising Renny on her own. It’s one of the main reasons why Renny identifies more with her Filipino side rather than her father’s West African side. She admits that she is in love with Filipino food, desserts in particular, and wants to learn more of the local language. Her love for the culture doesn’t end there, as she also has a tattoo that says “I love you” (Mahal Kita) in Tagalog. She thinks Filipino culture is awesome and couldn’t be more proud of having Pinoy blood.
She’s so connected to her Filipino roots that she can identify fellow Pinoys based on their accents alone– something that’s really impressive, as some Filipinos can look like they’re foreign. However, she admits that she used to be bothered when people end up being surprised about her being Filipino, as they usually only identified her as a black girl. But now, she embraces both of her heritages wholeheartedly.
Renny opened up to Ambitious Variety about how she felt cheated as a child because of her familial setup. On the contrary, even if her dad wasn’t around during the early years of her life, she still had two men in her life who helped her mother shape her into who she is today. She has a godfather who was there with her since she came out of the delivery room, up until now that she’s a full-grown woman. And of course, like with other Filipino children, she has a grandfather who played a huge role in raising her to be a good person.
Knowing her dad
She was about to turn 15 when her dad tried to reconnect with her. At that age, she was still angry at him and didn’t want him in her life. Renny actively pushed him away and shut him out for not being around her as a kid. Renny opens up about how as a kid, her childhood tantrums involve laying a blanket on the floor, banging her head, and screaming about why she doesn’t have a dad who loves her and could do more than just pick up the phone.
But it’s still obvious that Renny truly appreciates everything that her mother has done for her since she was born. On an Instagram post, she reveals how her mom works hard to provide for her, which inspires her to do the same. Renny says in the post that the way her mom loves her is the same way that she wants to love her own daughter one day.
It took her a year or so to forgive her father, after her best friend’s dad got sent to jail when they were sixteen. She thought she was being selfish because she had watched her friend become so happy about reconnecting with her own father, only to have him taken away in an instant. This inspired her to give her dad a chance and now, Renny says that she feels like there’s so much lost time between them and wants to know more about her West African side by spending more time with her dad.
In that context, Renny is a strong and mature woman at 18 because she may have her own issues with her father, but she still chose to forgive him and love him. She says that life is short and she didn’t want to miss out in truly knowing her dad.
And one of the main difference between Renny and the typical 18-year old is that she doesn’t act like a teenager, but rather, a full-blown businesswoman and a Wonder Woman in her own right. She’s taking up online classes and juggles three jobs and still finds the time to go to the gym, do photo shoots, create videos for her YouTube channel plus she’s writing a book because she wanted to push herself further and wanted a new challenge in life. In a way, she admits that writing a book about her life is therapeutic and could help her attain a different level of peace of mind in her life.
As with other strong women out there, Renny wants to remind mixed girls like her that they are beautiful and that they are who they are and they don’t need to prove who they are and where they came from. She advices mixed kids to embrace both sides of their cultures and to not let what people say and how they look on the outside dictate how they are and how they should feel on the inside.
And make sure to subscribe to her YouTube channel.