Collins Pennie: A Jack of All Trades

Tuesday, 04 January 2011 12:34 Written by  Ebony L. Morman

Sometimes it seems hard to believe that all entertainers weren’t born with a silver spoon in their mouths. For some of them, this notion may be true, but for every one of them, there’s at least another who has a rags-to-riches story. While some famous people have been rolling in expensive cars and dressing in extravagant clothing for most of their lives, there are those who didn’t get their first car or buy their first piece of designer clothing until they achieved a certain level of success.

cpNow, it wouldn’t be right to only adorn Collins Pennie with the title of an actor. After all, he’s one step past being a triple threat. You’ve seen him on the big screen, the small screen, as the face of advertisement campaigns, dancing (well, stepping if you’ve seen Stomp the Yard 2: Homecoming) and soon you’ll probably be singing along to his album. For the sake of arguing, let’s just say he’s a jack of all trades, mastering the arts. While most will probably categorize Pennie’s story as rags-to-riches, it’s more appropriate and accurate to just simply state that he came from nothing to something.

The 26-year-old Brooklyn native earned his success the old fashion way: hard work and dedication.

“I was always a very artistic person,” Pennie said. “I could always act, sing and dance.”

While some teenagers who aspire to be entertainers pay for acting classes and dancing lessons, Pennie took matters into his own hands. In many instances, he was the teacher and the student. He spent hours and hours in bookstores reading acting books and he frequented the Broadway Dance Center, where he’d stand in back of classes and learn routines.

After leaving foster care at age 15, Pennie was forced to grow into a man at an early age because he had to take care of himself. While most people his age were going to parties, getting their learners permit and fretting over meaningless teenage drama, he was virtually homeless and doing everything in his power to keep his dream alive. sty

A modeling contract, TV shows and a few big-screen movies later, it’s safe to say that he is living his dream. Earlier in his career, Pennie was signed to Ford Models and explored daytime television on As the World Turns. He graced the small-screen on Law & Order and hit the big time with movies like Fame, Prom Night and Stomp the Yard 2: Homecoming.

Stomp the Yard 2 proved to an experience that he cherishes for many reasons.

“The experience was so different in a good way,” he said. “It took me out of my element from L.A. I got to spend a lot of time in Atlanta.”

For the first time, Pennie had the chance to experience the life of a college student.

“It was very educational,” Pennie recalled. “The choreographer set up rehearsal as if we were pledging a real fraternity.”

When filming ended, his friendships with cast members didn’t. What’s now a stepping stone in what seems to be a promising career has this busy young man predicting his future.

“I see myself having one, maybe two albums out,” he said. “I’ll be doing more outreach to youth. I hope to have my own production company, a lot more movies and leading roles and a book.”

For some people, this may be far-reaching, but for Pennie, he doesn’t see it any other way. If he had to just focus on one of his many talents, the choice would be nearly impossible to make.

“I’m an artist,” he said. “I couldn’t choose just one. I would burst if I couldn’t express myself. I have to sing. I have to act. I have to dance.”

Follow Collins on Twitter: @collinspennie

Ebony L. Morman

Ebony L. Morman

GMO's Senior Editor Ebony L. Morman received her B.A. in journalism from Northern Illinois University and her master’s in journalism from Columbia College Chicago. The Chicago-native enjoys writing about almost anything, but since she also has a passion for music, writing reviews of albums has become one of her favorite past times. Aside from GMO, Ebony freelances for a variety of publications and volunteers in her community.

Ebony can be contacted at
Follow her on Twitter at @EbonyEyes_GMO


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