Everyone defines success differently. For internationally renowned androgynous model, coach, speaker, and holistic practitioner Royal Cromwell, that success is defined through one simple word: transparency.
Having been born in Atlanta, GA, and raised in the metropolitan areas of Newark, NJ, and Birmingham, AL, Cromwell’s flamboyant taste and eccentric style often left him on the receiving end of negativity. He recalls one experience in particular from middle school in which one of his antagonistic peers mocked him, telling Cromwell, “you think you’re special, but you’re weird!”
But for Cromwell, being both was perfectly acceptable, despite whatever judgment others would make. From that point on, he made it his goal to transform what others might consider as “weird” into a normal reality—both for himself and others. Now, that goal has manifested itself in the form of Cromwell’s unique modeling school, The Royal Factotum based in Birmingham, AL.
As a teenager, Cromwell began funneling the frustration he felt from being judged and bullied into outlets like music, joining in with his school’s choir, band, and orchestra. But the music itself wasn’t enough for Cromwell, and he quickly realized that it was the attention of having all eyes on him while on stage that he truly loved, sparking an interest in clothing and fashion. Soon, Cromwell began forming his own one-of-a-kind style, mixing trends, pieces, and accessories from across global cultures and historical time periods.
It wasn’t long before Cromwell started receiving the attention of others from this — positive attention this time — and not long after, he was assigned to coordinate his school’s fashion show. Since that time, he has been modeling and teaching others how to draw upon their own unique styles and desires and funnel this into their modeling, as well, having bolstered his modeling skills and portfolio by appearing on runways and in magazines, television shows, and commercials for a decade.
“Our modeling at The Royal Factotum is unique because we don’t want to fit in the industry standards,” says Cromwell, “we learn those standards and then move them up to fit us.”
As a humble and innovative crafter, stylist, designer, hairstylist, writer, and life coach, Cromwell’s initiative through Royal Factotum is to offer all the help, training, and information models and/or any artistic factotums (a person having many diverse activities) around the world may need to help push them forward along their own path of success.
In sticking true to his mission, Cromwell has even gone on to be awarded the title of “Male Model of the Year” from the state of Alabama in 2020 for all his nonprofit and pro-bono work to help build the artistic community, especially within the modeling world. His passion for fashion and coaching is sparked by his everyday goal to show the world that anyone — regardless of who they identify as — can not only wear, but go on to accomplish whatever they dream to be possible.
“If you feel good, then you do good,” Cromwell adds. “Royal lives by that and we want to help spread that message and its teaching across the country.”