Vine celebrity Eckenrode uses dwarfism to teach, entertain
His comedy shorts inspire fellow dwarfs with humor and positive messages. He’s 16-year-old Smithsburg, Md., resident Evan Eckenrode, also known as “Dwarf Mamba.”
“I want to make people have a better day,” Eckenrode said. “When you’re having a bad day, come look at my videos and make your day 10 times better.”
Most videos Eckenrode creates with his friends and brothers center around some aspect of dwarfism, treating it as a difference rather than a disability. Often his perceptions as a dwarf will challenge those of an average-height person’s. Sometimes obstacles will be dramatized or objects will appear absurdly larger, like when his friend tosses him a mini water bottle and it becomes a five-gallon water jug when he catches it.
At the World Dwarf Games, Eckenrode said he enjoys the even playing field, though he never made any complaints about playing among those of average height in hometown leagues.
“The toughest thing for him is that he loves sports,” his father, Jim Eckenrode, said. “It’s hard for him to compete in the home community.”
A World Dwarf Games gold medal-winning athlete, Evan Eckenrode said he reaches within himself for his drive and ability, whether performing on the sports field or doing stunts on video.
“I have to run three times more,” he said. “I try to push myself and show that I can do the same things everyone else can.”
His determination has inspired others with dwarfism, Jim Eckenrode said.
Jim Eckenrode told a story about a letter Evan Eckenrode received. It was from another little person who was shy and afraid of attending dwarf conferences. When she saw Evan Eckenrode’s videos and all those supporting him, her self-esteem boosted and she began to feel comfortable with her short stature. She now wants to attend the conferences and meet fellow dwarfs.
“We all got emotional,” Jim Eckenrode said. “My wife had tears in her eyes. It touched Evan. That letter told him that he’s able to have an impact on people other than humor.”
Evan Eckenrode said his brothers hope to expand on the videos by creating a website and a clothing line with “Dwarf Mamba” on the front.
Chemical engineering junior Allison Nekritz hadn’t heard of “Dwarf Mamba” before.
“I think that’s awesome,” Nekritz said. “That’s great that someone is doing that. Now I want to go on Vine and see him.”