photographed by David Christopher Lee

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Bling Empire Star Kevin Kreider talks about Sobriety and Balance

photography & article by David Christopher Lee

Kevin Kreider is an Actor, Speaker and Founder/CEO of Be More Matcha, Sans Beverage Inc. and Taejin Entertainment LLC. Starting off in the fitness industry, he was signed with one of the most prestigious modeling agencies in NYC. He left Philly in 2008 to navigate his way in entertainment as a Korean American adoptee. In 2014, the stress and non-stop nature of the modeling industry took a toll on his body and Kevin was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata. He took a few years off, got sober in 2015, and took a leap of faith by moving to Los Angeles. There he was offered a role in Netflix’s international hit, “Bling Empire”, the first all Asian and Asian American reality show and plays Caspian in his first feature movie, Asian Persuasion. 

Tell us about your background? What were your experiences like as a Korean adoptee?

Kevin & his mom

I was adopted to a German and Irish family when I was three years old, and I didn’t know I was different until I went to kindergarten where guys would pull their eyes back and call me chink and slanted and Chinaman.  I always felt different enough to where I didn’t feel like I could be understood, and not quiet white enough to be accepted by my peers.  There was a constant urge to find my place in life, but at the end, I realized that I have to accept myself before anyone else could accept me.  And if those people didn’t accept me, then find people and my tribe who do.

How was season 2 of Bling Empire different from Season 1?

Soooo different.  Firstly, you get to see different sides of the people you love and don’t love.  I think it shows more of the real sides, not just the fantasy and carebear sides of everyone.  We show different ranges of emotions.  I feel like it’s filled way more with drama.  I share more about my real life, which is sobriety and being in a 12-step program which is a huge part of my life.

How do you keep your mental health? What are your meditation practices?

I practice a 12-step program, in which I practice prayer, meditation, sponsorship, and much more.  I actually find it to be one of the ultimate self-help programs that have worked for me.  And it’s free!  It’s donation based.  I also workout 3-5 times a week mixed with weights, jump roping, and stretching.

What have you learned since you have been on the show?

I’ve learned that just because a person is rich,  doesn’t mean that person is smarter than me.  They are fortunate yes, but are not necessarily “better”.  I’ve also learned that people and circumstances can change, and that I have so much to offer and I’m valued, and in the past I haven’t really valued myself.  But now I see what I’m worth and can bring to the table.  I learned also that just because I work hard or more than others, also doesn’t mean I’ll be more successful.  It sounds negative, but really it’s helped to realize to focus more on the things that matter.

David Christopher Lee & Kevin Kreider

Who inspires you?

I can’t say it’s people, but it’s people’s higher purposes that inspire me.  

How would you describe your Instagram following?

Let’s just say if I weren’t an Asian guy, I think it would blow up even more.  There’s still a perception of Asian guys.

What would be your ultimate dream project?

Theres layers!  My first is Sans, my first non-alcoholic alternative and mixer, that started from my sobriety that is coming out late summer this year.  This is to empower the sober community while destigmatizing sobriety.  I hope this creates consistency for me soon, so I hope it becomes more practical for me to be a founder of Sans.  But my dream project that isn’t is to create, produce, and act in a role that I’ve been developing and writing for comic book platforms, and my own Asian led love stories.  

What projects are you working on now?

I’m working with something with Webtoons that I’m excited about!  I’m excited to share my own personal Christmas sober love story, and Sans Beverage.

Do you have any influencer friends who we should be following on Instagram?

Jeannie Weenie!

What does beauty mean to you?

It’s not just black and white

Where can we find you?

Instagram @kevin.kreider and TikTok.

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