College student Kenyon Lee is the latest TikTok star rapidly growing an audience for his talent of being able to guess a person’s height with just a few markers and his impressive handle on math.
The 18-year-old from Memphis, Tennessee, has been challenged by fellow TikTokers across the platform to put his skills to the test, with thousands of tags and calls to duet coming in daily.
Kenyon told BuzzFeed News he thinks it is “an interesting concept, everybody just challenges me.”
“I’m a one man army so it does get overwhelming sometimes. I’m getting mentioned like thousands of times a day, but I definitely think it’ll keep going until like this fad kind of dies off,” he said.
In his TikTok’s Kenyon accepts the challenge to guess a user’s height and proceeds to do the working out in an entertaining way. This might include using a Dunkin’ cup to work out the diameter of a hand, or using a microwave to confirm the width of a chest, followed by a series of mathematical equations that give a pretty accurate number.
Explaining his evolving methodology, Kenyon shared that his starting point was originally Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, which states ratios that “pretty much the average human body follows.”
“Really it all boils down to what kind of evidence I can find on their page,” he said. “So I can find different objects in their room that just kind of help me gauge, guess their height. I try not to even take into account how the object looks in comparison with the person, but I more so like to look at the dimensions and just see if the math lines up. So, most of the time I’m actually really accurate.”
Kenyon put his accuracy at around 80-85%, but consistently improving the more times he takes on the challenge and refines his methods.
“I’ve missed, like, three or four when I was really pulling together my theory, so I was kind of theory crafting and so I’m testing different methods but I guess the main thing I really needed was to gather enough data,” he said. “But by the point where I was able to really formulate an equation, that’s when I was just starting to get in, get the heights right just back to back.”
Since his first viral video, Kenyon’s TikTok has amassed more than 2 million followers. Beyond TikTok, the math whiz, who is presently majoring in engineering, is also using this moment to explore his future career options. His popularity on the platform has caught the attention of STEM professionals offering insight.
“I’m really looking into computer science,” he said. “I’ve been talking with a lot of other engineers who’ve connected with me through my page and they’ve just been talking to me about things that I might like, such as digital forensics, data science. I think it’s really interesting and stuff that I would look into.”
As his audience grows, so do opportunities to monetize his page, but the teenager says that he isn’t keen to leverage his newfound popularity into full fledged influencer status.
“It’s definitely amazing, a lot of people have just been reaching out to me for sponsorship reasons, promotional things but, I don’t really make money from my TikTok because I just don’t feel like it would really align with my content,” said Kenyon.
He is however happy to be an ambassador for the young STEM community, many of which he says have commended him for popularizing math on a platform like TikTok.
The math enthusiast is more than aware of potentially simpler ways the equations could be done to get the same answer, but for Kenyon, the impact is in creating a moment of engagement with math where the audience is entertained throughout.
“To me, it wouldn’t really have the same effect, it wouldn’t be as entertaining, I’m aware of all the practical methods that you can use, but you know I was just trying to show people that there is a more creative way to go about solving problems,” said Kenyon.