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Comedian Jenny Lorenzo 'Channels' Her Abuela, Makes Her a Viral Hit

As we celebrate Mother's Day, meet a trailblazing first-generation American comedian who has made her mark by channeling a woman two generations before her.

Jenny Lorenzo was born and raised in Miami in a modest household; her family are Cuban immigrants. It’s your quintessential American Dream story — except for the part of the granddaughter becoming a viral video star while dressed up as an abuela, or grandmother.

Lorenzo tells NBC Latino that she came up with the Abuela character a few years ago. At the time she was more focused on “geeky” content so she put Abuela to the side for a bit.

Two years later she left Miami behind and moved to Los Angeles. While working at Buzzfeed, she and a colleague pitched the idea of more Latinx themed content, thus the Abuela character came to life. A lot was on the line for Lorenzo, “I was terrified,” she said.

“What Abuela Wants You To Eat” was the first Abuela video to hit the internet. More videos followed and eventually Abuela became a viral sensation. But, the Abuela character wasn’t only resonating with Latinxs, as Lorenzo learned. She began receiving messages from people who said Abuela reminded them of their Italian “nonna,” or their Jewish grandmother, “A lot of these immigrant women of that time share the same attitudes, same outlooks on life, same superstitions and paranoias...they all love to be resourceful and put things in the ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter’ container,” Lorenzo added, “I always make a joke that our abuelas seem to have been made in a factory because they’re all so alike.”

Lorenzo, who is currently an actor, writer and producer for the media company miTú, told NBC Latino about one of the biggest inspirations behind the Abuela character, her own grandmother, Orquídea Díaz. Díaz was born in Quivicán, Cuba but raised in the town of Bejucal. She and her husband arrived in Florida from Cuba in 1967 with Lorenzo’s mother and uncle in tow.

“They came from Cuba and started from scratch and had an elementary school education. They were never wealthy but they were always happy,” Lorenzo told NBC Latino.

Lorenzo remembers her grandmother as a no-nonsense lady who always tried looking her best and accessorizing.

“She had the little clip-on earrings and she loved wearing rings and necklaces and all that,” she said. As is the case with most abuelas, Lorenzo’s grandmother loved shopping and finding a good deal.

Her grandmother was a giving person who thought of others. “Every Christmas she would shop for everybody- the cartero (mailman), the peluquera (hairdresser), the lady who does her nails. She was so so giving all the time. She worried a lot about people.”

Lorenzo said Abuela was always very supportive.

Her grandmother bragged about her to anyone who would listen and say, “Ay mi niña! Es una actriz, una estrella. (Oh, my little girl! She’s an actress, a star!),” Lorenzo said. “She was always very proud of me.”

Orquídea Díaz died a little less than a year ago, five days before her husband who was terminally ill. “They were married for 63 years and 5 months,” Lorenzo added. “She literally died of a broken heart.”

This was a painful time for Lorenzo.

She spoke to her grandparents regularly and loved visiting them at home and spoiling them. Her grandmother enjoyed chocolate covered cherries, her grandfather enjoyed traditional Cuban pastries. Lorenzo’s grandmother also loved stuffed animals so she would buy her one every now and then.

“Losing them was like losing parents,” she said.

Lorenzo has found the strength to not only carry on with the Abuela character but to bring laughter to others who have experienced a similar loss.

“A lot of people have reached out saying that the Abuela character means so much to them because it reminds them of home. It reminds them of their mom or their abuela,” she said.

Some people have even told Lorenzo the character helps them keep the memory of their grandmother alive, something Lorenzo doesn’t take lightly.

“As a comedian, personally, it feels great knowing that you’re not doing your work for the purpose of cheap laughs. It goes beyond laughter. You want to be able to change lives.”

People have told her the Abuela videos have even helped them through other tough times like during chemo treatments or breakups. Lorenzo couldn’t have imagined the impact the role would have had on others during some of their most trying times, “Here I am wearing a wig and saying, ‘Coño, carajo! Put on a sweater!’ and it’s really making an impact on people’s lives beyond just laughter.”

But in the end, everything comes back to Lorenzo’s grandmother, “This is my grandma and it’s me trying to keep her legacy alive in a humorous way.” In all of her videos you will find a prop that is connected to Lorenzo’s grandparents. Whether it’s their picture on the refrigerator in the background or even the fly swatter that Lorenzo made sure to take from her grandparents' home after they passed.

“My grandma lived with that fly swatter! She killed a lot of bugs!” said Lorenzo, laughing.

As far as what the future holds for Abuela, “I hope to take Abuela to bigger lengths. I feel a lot more confident in her now,” Lorenzo said.

Follow NBC Latino on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Victoria Moll-Ramírez

Victoria Moll-Ramirez is producer for MSNBC who has been unhealthily obsessed with the band 'Aventura' since she was 15.

NameJenny Lorenzo Wedding / Husband / Dating / Marriage / Boyfriend / PartnerCurrently not married. Birthday / Date of Birth / Jenny Lorenzo AgeOctober 30, 1986. As of 2021, she is around 35 years old.

Biography Profile / Wiki Information

Introduction :

  • Jenny Lorenzo is a Cuban-American actor and video producer, who has a reputation for working with spoof material.

Jenny Lorenzo Parents & Personal Details :

  • Jenny was born on October 30th, 1986, in Miami, Florida.
  • The only child of a Cuban immigrant father and an English mother, she was spoilt from birth & is close to her parents.
  • She rescued a dog from the shelter in 2015 and named her Delilah. She considers Delilah her child.
  • Active in the Twitter world under the handle of @jennizzles, currently, she has over 17,000 followers.
  • As of 2020, she lives in Los Angeles, California, for work reasons.

College, Hobbies & Education Details :

  • Jenny attended a local Miami school and was said to be a bubbly and sometimes feisty young girl.
  • Growing up in Miami, she was a self-described beach bum, but also had a passion for local theatre. She took classes with a local acting troupe three times a week from the age of 13 onwards.
  • To support herself through university, she worked odd jobs such as pet sitting for neighbors and dressing up as the Nesquick Bunny at a local mall.

BuzzFeed Controversy :

  • In early 2015, Jenny went to work at BuzzFeed Motion Pictures. She was hired to produce short films with a focus on content relating to geeks, nostalgia and Latino culture.
  • She quickly grew a following of fans amongst the BuzzFeed community and was praised for her rateables and her sense of humor.
  • In early 2016, she was unexpectedly fired from BuzzFeed alongside co-worker Brittany Ashley. A press release was sent out stating the two were let go due to violating an exclusivity clause in their contracts.
  • It was later revealed that their violation was working with America Ferrara as commentators on her movie Gentefield, which talks about gentrification in the Latino Communities of America.
  • Jenny angrily shot back at BuzzFeed through her Twitter profile on many occasions and stated that it was a ridiculous clause, and that management unevenly enforced it. She also went on to say that the agreement they had her sign when she came to BuzzFeed was so vague there was no way she could be fired for it.
  • She asked Brittany Ashley to comment on, but it was revealed that Brittany couldn’t, due to signing a non-disclosure.

Other Work & Acts :

  • From 2011 to 2014, Jenny hosted a 5-minute web program called Geekgasm, which was aimed towards uniting Geek Culture.
  • She developed a following from the show & since the network was known as Aggressive Comix, Jenny’s fans became known as Aggressors.
  • In 2012, she starred in a gamer based spoof of the blockbuster movie The Hunger Games. It was called The Hunger GameRs and she played the role of Soul Calibur.
  • After her exit from BuzzFeed, she started working for the web-based company We Are Mitu. She also has her own YouTube channel by her own name, where she addresses casual topics in a humorous fashion. The channel is verified has over 125,000 subscribers.
  • As of 2019, she works as the Video Producer and CEO of Abuela Yenny, LLC.

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Jenny Lorenzo net worth is
$1.4 Million

Jenny Lorenzo Wiki: Salary, Married, Wedding, Spouse, Family

Jenny Lorenzo is a Cuban-American actor/producer, born and raised in Miami, FL, who is known for her work on the Aggressive Comix channel, BuzzFeed's Pero Like and now We Are Mitú. In 2014, she was awarded "Best Internet Personality" at The Geekie Awards and "Best Vlog" and "Best Viral Video" at the 2013 Miami New Times Awards for her work on the ...
Net Worth$1.4 Million
ProfessionActress, Director, Writer


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The Hunger GameRs2012Short co-producer
Of Blood2012/IShort assistant producer


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The Pretentious Filmmakers2014TV Series short
Frizzle and the Magic School Bus2014Video short
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Geekgasm2011TV Series
Punch a Baby in the Face2011Short


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Known for movies


Geekgasm (2011-2014)
as Host


Stalking LeVar (2016)
as Jennifer


The Pretentious Filmmakers (2014)
as Jen

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