Asian representation has always been powerful in show business, particularly in Hollywood, but it cannot be denied that they are still far from reaching the spotlight. With this in mind, actor Kevin Kreider has decided to use his talents to create a healthy community for his fellow Asian-Americans. Joining Brendan Meyers, he talks about his life as an adopted South Korean living with white people and how that led to pursuing greatness in acting and modeling. He explains how he helps empower Asians through his work, especially in the show Bling Empire, to give his people that much-needed highlight. Kevin also talks about his challenges of being in the eyes of the public constantly, sharing how looking out for the right opportunities and learning the art of detachment helps him cope with failures and rejections left and right.
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Carrying The World On Your Shoulders With Kevin Kreider
I am here with someone extremely special. You may have seen him on the Netflix show, Bling Empire, or other shows. I’m not going to dive into the other ones because we all want to know about Bling. I’m kidding. Kevin Kreider, what’s up? Tell us about yourself. Who are you? What are you doing?
If you don’t know me from Bling Empire, I’m Korean adopted and I was raised in Philadelphia. I have a little bit of background in fitness. That’s what brought me and you together in the beginning.
Yoshi Sudarso has been a friend of mine for a long time. He’s big in the Asian community out in Indonesia and that area. That’s how we got connected. I’m excited to have you on here because you’ve seen a lot of success with the Netflix show. We’ve been talking about this for a while. You were like, “This is coming.” COVID hit and you were like, “This is coming.”
Don’t forget, during COVID, I was like, “This might not be coming,” because it got delayed.
I’m so happy for you. The success is amazing, but I don’t want to discount your path to getting to where you are now. I don’t want to discount who you are. As someone who was adopted and someone who has climbed the ranks and have it in Los Angeles and being challenged in your life, I want to know this story. Not so much about the superficial story. I want to know who Kevin is. Where are you going? Break it down. Let’s go.
Everybody knows the adoption story of being Asian. You go into a white family and you’re super disconnected with your identity because you’re surrounded by white people, but you’re Asian. You’re not Asian enough for the Asian community, but you’re also not white. There’s this weird disconnect growing up, especially in places like Philadelphia and private high school and grade school. There were very few Asians around there. You expect to be friends with the Asians. It’s almost like you go into the gym and just because you’re buff, “Am I supposed to be friends with buff people?”
You’re like, “It just doesn’t make sense.” I hear what you’re saying.
There’s this disconnect with people assuming I’m just going to be friends with Asians. It’s not like I wouldn’t be, but it was one person in the school and we had nothing in common. My whole life, I was always trying to find a place that I belong to the community. I never found it until I started working out. The gym culture accepted me and didn’t look at me as a race, which was why I dove right into it. I became a personal trainer for a long time and then my route got a little bit like, “I’ve hit my goals. I’m personal training, making money. What do I do next? Professional bodybuilder and all that stuff.” It didn’t feel very fulfilling and then I went into modeling. My whole point of being a personal trainer and fitness was I wanted to change the way others saw me, especially as an Asian guy. As much as I’d like to say race didn’t play that much of a part in my life, it played a huge part in my life. I wanted to change the way people saw me and the way I saw myself. Getting fit, getting muscle and winning competitions helped my self-esteem. You can probably talk about that too all day.
It’s not a way out, but it’s a way to find your inner strength and build confidence. There are many ways that us people, whether it’s black, white, Asian, whoever and wherever you grew up, you can find inner confidence in a lot of different verticals, whether it is fitness like Kevin and I, or it’s something different like acting. I went to acting school. I don’t know if you do that. I was an actor in middle school and I loved it. I love to act but I found my way through social media and YouTube. I was able to act, have fun and be creative so I can relate.
When I went into acting school though in modeling, they told me I was too big and muscular. They were like, “You should lose some weight.” That made me more insecure because I was like, “I’ve got to get smaller.” When I was in fitness, if I lost 5 pounds, I don’t want to take my shirt off.
I’ve been there. I was like, “I’ve lost 3 pounds.” What do you call it? Bigorexia or something like that.It's not actually obtaining your goals. It's about the search and reaching forward. Click To Tweet
Body dysmorphia or bigorexia. It’s something like that. I was losing 20 pounds and I was like, “I don’t know if I like this.” Here’s the thing, though. I had to learn my self-esteem didn’t come from the muscle then at one point, but that was a nice entry into feeling what confidence felt like. I got into acting and modeling, but I started doing a lot of personal development. I got into spirituality at one point like meditating, chanting and all of the stuff. I started reading books about the life of a yogi and all of that. It started to help a little bit, but then I couldn’t book work as a model and as an actor. It was crazy. It was like I succeeded in bodybuilding and in fitness, but I couldn’t break this barrier of the modeling and entertainment industry.
You felt stuck and you were trying to figure it out. You were like, “What is this roadblock? I’ve never experienced something like this.”
It’s something I knew I wanted to do and had to do because a lot of people growing up like mentors. I just didn’t have any Asian faces to relate to. It was always like Zack from Saved by the Bell. Sometimes we had Bruce Lee, but Bruce Lee used to make fun of Asian kids growing up. It was not like it was a compliment. It was weird because as grown-ups, we look at Bruce Lee as the man. Here’s the thing. I first saw a role model of mine and it was a model. I was like, “Cool. Asians are starting to show face in here.” I remember the insecurities, bullying and racism that were allowed when I was growing up on the sports field, in high school, in grade school and especially in dating. I wanted to change that. I went into acting because those were the first things I remembered that set the mindset of what Asian guys were. I didn’t find any success in acting for a while or modeling. I was losing everything. I got super stressed out. My health wasn’t in order.
Was this when you were in LA?
No, this was when I was in New York. I lived in New York for five years. I lost my hair. It was alopecia areata. I don’t know if you know what that is, the areata part.
I don’t. What is it called?
Alopecia areata. It’s different than alopecia where you lose your hair, male pattern baldness. Alopecia areata is considered more of an autoimmune disease. I don’t know if you remember The Simpsons episode where Marge loses her hair in patches or something. Do you remember that episode? It’s exactly like that.
It says, “Alopecia areata occurs when the immune system attacks hair follicles and may be brought on by severe stress. The main symptom is hair loss.”
I was losing chunks of hair. My facial hair was gone and eyebrows. Everything but my chest hair and stuff. It was weird. I was like, “I’ve got more chest hair.”
Did you start cutting it off and put it on your head?
I was like, “Why didn’t they take my chest hair instead of my head?” It was only 4 or 5 pieces of chest hair. That’s different. It was one of those things where I lost everything like my sense of identity. I wasn’t feeling attractive. I went back to Philadelphia and got back into health and fitness. I was miserable in the gym doing personal training one-on-one. I felt like I was missing something in my life. I got back into acting a little bit, but then nothing was happening until this movie called Crazy Rich Asians came about. I was about to leave Philadelphia until a new friend of mine started reaching out because she was watching the videos of Asian masculinity. I was talking about representation in Hollywood. This was even before when Crazy Rich Asians came out. I started to find a purpose in my life. This is something that was being heard and well-received at the time. People started making videos about me, my message and my story.
When was this? When did that show launch?
The show launched in 2018, but my videos were happening before that in 2017. I started having conversations seriously in about 2016. I would say that the thing that most people don’t know about is that I was silenced when I tried to talk about Asian masculinity and what it was like to be an Asian guy growing up. I remember I was going out for casting for a documentary about Asians in America by a big production company. I was sharing about how there are these prejudice and bias towards Asian men in dating, film and TV. The producers thought I was crazy. They were like, “He sounds like a bitter guy.” I realized like, “Maybe this is a unique story. I don’t know when to share this, but there’s something to it.” I started talking about it later and it was well-received. I think one of the things that I felt was it was risky. If you talk about this stuff and it goes backlash, you’re one of the first ones talking about it publicly. It could go the other way around because I was known as the fitness guy, not the talking about your feelings as an Asian guy.
It could backfire in many ways if you don’t go about it the right way.
I felt like I was so passionate about trying to get this story out and more people to be aware of it and to also have Asian men do something about it like build your self-esteem, learn social cues, learn how to date better and take care of yourself better. It’s almost like a GQ for Asian guys when I think about it, but it’s like become better as a person. Don’t be complacent. I found that message to be well-received so then I got a chance to be in the show.
That show was filmed when?
Our show, Bling Empire, was filmed in 2019. The show that I was auditioning for was years ago, but it never went into production.
You’ve been in two full shows?
No, it was a full-length documentary that I was in before called The Ugly Model.
The Bling Empire, I don’t know if you’re allowed to talk about any of this stuff. Are there other seasons or anything like that or it’s just one season?
We don’t know yet. We don’t even know if we got picked up for a second season, but we’re hopeful. It did well.
You freaking blew up on social media. Let’s talk about that. Has that been overwhelming at all?
It is. A lot of people think I’ve always had this, but I was stagnant at 100,000 followers for a long time. I couldn’t break through. People were not hearing my message anymore. I don’t even know what my message was so much anymore. It was like, “What am I doing with this platform and people are following me?” For a long time, that’s what people kept telling me. It was like, “You should just stick with fitness. Give people all this fitness advice. Do one thing.” I was like, “This doesn’t feel right though because that doesn’t make me.” It helps me because when you live a healthy lifestyle, you can accomplish the things you want. Now, I use fitness, health and everything that I’ve learned to help me with the career path that I want and help me with the message. I feel that the clearer and the healthier I am, the more that comes my way. That’s why I take my health and fitness as a priority. I always wake up and I still meditate. I practice my spiritual practices. I eat well. I still practice intermittent fasting. All of this stuff makes me a vessel to be able to do what I’ve been made to do in the world better.
You’re extremely grounded. That’s very important with the progress of life or the evolution of our own lives.
You have to stay grounded because easily, you can get lost in this new responsibility and these new eyeballs on you, all of a sudden. I grew almost 300% already in a month.
What have you got now?
395,000 or 394,000 something. It’s insane how many come to you. Here’s the thing. You have a new responsibility and I get it. That’s the pressure of it because a lot of people are, all of a sudden, expecting you to speak about things that aren’t in my wheelhouse to tell you the truth. I am good at the representation in media and film, Asian masculinity, fitness, mindset and spirituality, but when it comes to politics and religion, I have no experience or say in that kind of stuff. Those are just opinions. That’s not my experience. Everything that I’ve always shared about, even in Bling Empire and The Ugly Model doc, that’s my experience. That’s all I’m sharing. When people ask to push their opinions or agendas, it’s tough because I want to sometimes, but the thing is it’s not well-received on my end or people’s. People are so used to seeing my life experience and what I have to say about it. That’s it.By not getting to your authentic self, people miss a lot of opportunities in their lives. Click To Tweet
My very close friend, Michael DellaCorte, he’s a chiropractor out in LA. I’ll connect you two. He’s amazing.
Is he in TikTok too?
He is. People are falling in love crazy because he was at 66,000 followers. He grew 60,000 followers in less than a week.
That’s what I mean. There’s a newfound attention and feeling, everything.
It’s crazy. I’ve been on those shoes where I grew a million in six months back when Facebook was blowing up. This was years ago. I had a video that got 52 million views. It got picked up on Imgur, Worldstar and all these. I can relate. It was almost like, “What do I do? What do I talk about? What can I not talk about?” You have many people watching your stories. Now, your stories are, “Is it more a business mindset? Is it more just documenting my life? I have to take this seriously.”
People have very many opinions of what you should be doing. That gets to me in a sense of like, “I think there’s some truth in what they’re sharing, but the thing is they don’t realize the hugeness of it.” When I share something now, it’s not just Kevin anymore. It’s like this new persona that’s being built, which I love the responsibility, but it’s so new to me that I’m tripping at times. The things you say make more of an impact, which is what I wanted, but at the same time, I’m learning as I’m going along. It’s only been a while, so I’m still learning.
It’s a process. You grew almost 300,000 followers in less than a month. I’ve been there with my Instagram a long time ago. I grew about 250,000 in four weeks. Let’s shift a little bit. Now you’re finding a lot of success. What do you want in life? What is your true meaning to life? Is it a relationship? Is it a family? What is it?
I believe it’s just belonging to a community. I’m going to psychoanalyze myself. It’s maybe because I was adopted and I had a family. Family has always been something that I always leaned back on and relied on, but it’s a sense of community. There are many Asians out there who don’t feel like they belong in the Asian community, whether it’s because they’re adopted or other Asians see them as inferior to other Asians. There are Chinese and Korean. They rip on each other a little bit and make each other feel bad. I would like to find the community. I think I found it, but at the same time, it’s sometimes tough because the further you get up, the more people want to tear you down. I’m finding it tough to keep myself in that community. I want to be able to be of service to them, but I also want to be of service the way I know how and where I serve best, not in the way people think I should serve them. I can’t serve everybody and I’m okay with that finally in my life.
How do you take the newfound following that you have and turn that into something where a community is led? For me, it’s my perspective on your voice, but it’s almost as if you’re a representation of the evolution of going from feeling like you’re not wanted or not being heard or seen into like, “I can do this. It doesn’t matter what others are saying.” How do you lead that?
I lead that by sharing my story about that. I felt like I can lead people to come closer to their purpose. My whole purpose has always been to redefine the image of the Asian man in media, entertainment and whatever it is and to help other Asian guys feel better about themselves too. This could be with women too and all of that. It’s just making people who feel insecure feel better about themselves or feel attractive, to be more specific. That message is clearer now because with Bling Empire, that was a huge step towards my purpose and fulfilling it. That’s the thing that I want to share with a lot of people. It’s not obtaining it. It’s reaching forward, search, and doing the process of reaching your purpose.
Before Bling Empire, I was so confused. It’s like, “What should I do with this?” I’ve been on the TED stage. I’ve been asked to do Google Talks. I’ve been asked by everybody to do these talks about Asian identity and masculinity. It was like, “What do I do with this? What’s the next step?” A couple of years went by and nothing. I was stagnant, but I kept moving, searching and strengthening faith. I kept up with healthier lifestyle choices. I stopped eating so much sugar and stopped drinking. I did everything to make myself a prime physique mentally, emotionally, and spiritually so that whatever opportunities came, I could do it to the fullest.
It was a very conscious choice because I knew the old version of me wasn’t good enough to do what I wanted to do. If I had this success a few years ago, I wouldn’t be ready for it. Being present and being my authentic self, I didn’t know how to do that, but I was trying to get to that point. I think that’s what a lot of people miss in their life. They don’t even try to reach that point. You’ll miss the opportunities when they come to you because you weren’t ready.
Being yourself can’t be forced. When I first got into YouTube, for instance, I was trying to be somebody I wasn’t. I like to curse once in a while, but I would not. I cared about people and everything. I didn’t want them to take on bad language or anything like that, but at the same time, I wasn’t being fully me. It’s hard to understand. At the end of the day, we have to follow the process. Allow the process to unfold the way it does.
Follow your gut instinct. There’s a reason why you have to trust your instincts on things. Half of the process is learning to listen to that voice of like, “Maybe I shouldn’t send that email out to somebody. It sounds angry.” All of a sudden, you ruined a relationship that could lead you somewhere. I remember when I first met up with Kelly. I know this sounds crazy. I used to have a rule like if you cancel the first time we’re supposed to meet for a coffee, business or general meeting, you’re done. I don’t care who you are. I’ve got to tell you though, for some reason, she canceled on me when I was in LA. Something told me like, “Kev, you’ve got to change this attitude. You’re new here. Who knows what could happen?” She asked to reschedule. We went out for coffee the next day and became good friends shortly after an opening for the show happened. It was crazy. I was like, “That could have gone bad if I would have gone against my instinct.”
That’s so interesting because your gut was telling you, “Trust it. It was like trying to reschedule.”
I had to learn at that moment the difference of what my ego was telling me. My ego was saying, “She shouldn’t be doing this to me. Doesn’t she know my time is valuable? Doesn’t she respect my time?” My instinct was saying, “Kev, back up. You don’t know anything.” How many relationships have you burnt because you have this ego-driven rule? By the way, I think those rules are good to have in place. Your instinct is going to know when this person is not worth your time. Maybe if they canceled you 2 or 3 times, then you can know instinctually that this is not going to be a good relationship. The first time, you’ve got to start giving people the benefit of the doubt, especially when their excuse sounds very authentic.
That’s something that I’ve struggled with as well. I used to be so anal about if you were a minute late, I would be like, “You were a minute late. You’re disrespecting me. You’re disrespecting the conversation.” Just like you, I had to go through a spiritual awakening myself. I had to dig deep and look at my past. Where are these traumas coming from? Why am I projecting all this negative energy onto people in regular conversations? A lot of times, I would push my anger onto other people. I still do this. I think we all do this in some way. If I got off a call with someone else, I would start projecting on the next call that I got off. That’s not fair to that person and to that relationship. I learned that relationships are everything in life. The relationship with ourselves, that’s where it starts. The relationship with everyone around us is valuable. Your opportunities, that’s an expression of that.
It’s also how you treat yourself like what you were saying. What do you do for yourself? For instance, this sounds crappy and weird to say, but I was learning how to cook better during this lockdown. I only cooked this good when I had a date or somebody was around. I was like, “Why am I doing that? Why can’t I treat myself like I would have a date?” On most days, I’ll be like, “Here’s oatmeal. Don’t even put Splenda in there or some sweetener. Eat this. It’s got to taste like crap.”You can't know what darkness is without seeing the light in everything. Click To Tweet
That’s so me. I would love to be making my delicious chili, marinara sauce, chicken parm and all these things, but I will only do it if I’m treating someone else. We forget to treat ourselves. Why do you think?
We both come from the physique world. We were intense competitors when it comes to that stuff. I would always say, “This is just the sacrifice for greatness. Food doesn’t need to taste good.” I love tasty food.
The reason why I never felt like I could reward myself is because I felt like I wasn’t good enough with the reward. I have to keep on working hard to get to that reward, but where’s the end?
I don’t know about you, but I also felt like if I was rewarded, I would stop trying as hard or felt like I made it. I don’t want that satisfaction because I’m afraid I’ll lose motivation.
You hate it, but at the same time, it’s motivating and keeps you pushing.
I don’t want to say that’s not important. For instance, it’s important maybe in the beginning for you to do that so you know what it feels like. I’ll never say, “Don’t ever do that,” but for me to get to the next level that I want, it’s not useful.
We have to trust the process. All I’m hearing from this entire conversation is, “Trust the process. You’re heard.” If you don’t feel heard, you will eventually feel heard. It takes time. I don’t know if you see anyone for therapy or anything like that. I think everyone should. I need to find someone, to be honest. Journaling, meditating and doing that stuff, that’s not like talking to someone that you can express everything to and hear a professional opinion about. Now, you’re dealing with a lot. You’re talking about the things that you do every single day like meditation. You’re going to gain a lot of followers. A lot of people are going to want to talk to you, invite you here and invite you there. What’s going to keep you grounded? How can that relate to people reading?
The principles of Buddhism kept me super grounded, believing in karma, good stuff in, good stuff out and detachment from things. I had to learn detachment from Bling Empire. When it got delayed and maybe it wasn’t going to come out, I had to detach myself, “Maybe that was just a great experience and nobody ever gets to see it.” That was super challenging and hard.
That’s very hard to do, especially when you want it and your ego is saying, “I want this.” It’s like if you’re trying to lose weight. You can eat the things that you want. It’s in moderation, but you want more and more. It’s so hard, but that’s discipline. You’ve been able to develop that discipline.
I think part of it too is if you had brought this up to me years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to handle it. I started off small with detachment. For instance, moving to LA. What if it doesn’t work out? What about this new apartment? What about this girl? What if I lose my abs because I start eating better? I had to detach myself from the result. That is hard to practice. I had to practice. I was forced to at some point because I remember crying. This was before you and I started talking more. I was crying like a fucking baby at one point because I was like, “Detach.”
Have you ever heard of The Attachment Theory?
No. What is that?
It’s an amazing book on relationships. I learned a lot from that. Essentially, there are two different types of attachments. There are those types of people who avoid. There’s the avoidant attachment in relationships. Let’s say, you’re dating a girl or a guy and you confront them about something. If you’re someone that likes to get responses quickly, you’re an anxious. This is called an anxious and that’s an avoidant. The avoidant has wired themselves in their mind to run from the situation, “Don’t talk about it right there. I’ll talk to you later.” They shut off their phone. They don’t look at their texts. It’s like they go AWOL. This is what I think of detachment. The anxious is taught to run the cycles in their head. It’s like, “He doesn’t like me.”
I’m the anxious, then.
I am too but I learned to be secure because I’ve learned about this stuff. Anxious people tend to gravitate towards avoidance, and avoidance tends to gravitate a little bit more towards secure and anxious. It’s more so secure for avoidance. I don’t mean if anyone is an avoidant, it’s not something that I’m projecting on them. This is in the book. It talks about how avoidants generally have the hardest time in relationships because they’re not meeting their significant other in those talks. They’re not communicating and allowing. A lot of this stuff manifests in our minds and then we explode. When I think of detachment, I think of The Attachment Theory. Where to be very secure within a relationship, we have to be secure within ourselves. We have to detach ourselves from what society and everything else is telling us and be okay with what happens in front of us and who we are. That’s what I feel like you’re saying.
That’s a good point because for a long time, the outside world was not treating my message or me very kindly at one point. You have to have some level of self-worth and security to move forward with things. Fitness and personal training helped me with that because that was my first victory in my whole life. I spent 12, 14 years having nothing but failures for a long time. The thing that it taught me was if you do try hard enough and you keep consistent with it, consistency is the big thing. We both know this. If you go to the gym once every two months and diet that day, you’re not going to get good at anything.
What would you say about failure? When you experience failure, what would you tell people who are failing right now in life? A lot of us are failing in many areas, different verticals, relationships and business. Everything and anything you can think of, we are failing. How do you deal with it? How do you get past it? How do you stay disciplined? How do you stay consistent?
It’s super easy to say, “Failure is feedback.” I would see it as a necessity though because it’s almost like the yin-yang. You can’t know what darkness is without light. In every failure, there’s some good. In every good, there’s always some bad. There’s no such thing as a complete good or bad. For failure, what was interesting for me was I learned so much about myself in failure. Every time I fail, what is that? It’s rejection. I hate rejection. I’m so insecure about being an Asian guy or something. I’m so insecure about being too muscular. Everything was feedback to me, but I had to learn more about myself through failure. I couldn’t learn it through victories. I find myself weirdly in this new Bling Empire life of mine like there’s a big victory, but I’m starting to trip a little bit in certain ways. I’m learning so much from those little trips and failures that I believe are going to traject me in a higher direction. You can’t avoid it. You can’t avoid failure unless you want to be a monk going to Tibet.
Even then, you’re not going to be able to avoid failure because you fail in your mind all the time. Our choice is so powerful. Once we learn that, even the failures are wins. That’s the way I comprehend it. If I’m going to date a woman and I go up to her in a bar and think I’m confident. I feel great. Let’s say the girl says, “I’m not interested,” and then she gives me the cold shoulder. Even in that response to that feedback right there, I can damage myself if I choose to allow myself to be damaged. A lot of times, we fail because of other people’s insecurities as well, and because they are thinking in a negative manner or they didn’t want to speak up. That woman or man in the bar that I would go up to, at the end of the day, they could be having a bad day. They could not have even paid attention to me. They could not have wanted to say something because they’re insecure about talking to a guy or a girl who they’re extremely attracted to. We always try to paint this picture so that we can see it because it’s comfortable. Comfortability does not yield long-term results.
You know this. The rejection is usually never about you. What I had to learn about getting rejected, especially by the Asian community sometimes like when I was asking Asian girls out, it had nothing to do with me. It had to do with their own insecurities. The reasons for rejecting me was their own insecurities. I saw their insecurities and my insecurities as well. For a while, I was like, “I don’t want to be seen with another Asian person. They’re an inferior race, but it’s ironic because you’re Asian. Everybody thinks they’re the exception when they reject them that way. They’re like, “No, I’m an exception.” It’s so funny to me when I think about that. That’s how my old mindset was. I was like, “No wonder I was single and lonely all the time.” Their insecurity was the same as mine. We had those insecurities shared. I rejected myself first before anybody could. A lot of rejection, you have to get over it. What I mean by get over it is learn from it. It’s going to hurt every time. It’s going to suck, but we have no other choice. We have to move forward. My story of getting rejection and insecure about stuff, you can translate that into your own like you were saying when you get rejected at a bar. You’re a cool-looking white dude and you still get rejected.
I’ve got a little Puerto Rican in me and a little Italian.
Here’s the thing. You’ve got two good genes so you get the best of both worlds at one and you still get rejected at times.
I get rejected all the time. At the end of the day, when it comes to relationships, dating and the dating life and that scene, it’s confidence in yourself. If you have confidence in yourself, you are a ten to anybody. It doesn’t matter who it is, what they look like or what they’ve been through, you can be a ten if you tell yourself you’re a ten, but that doesn’t come overnight like followers or anything that we’re doing. Everything is a process when you’re patient. Patience is a virtue. When you’re patient and you allow things to unfold the way that they do, you’d be surprised. I’ve been in these movie situations in dating, where I had no clue what was going to happen. The girl ended up messaging me two days later and it was like, “I saw you were doing this. I know I said no to you, but I’d love to talk to you.” All of a sudden, it turned into me meeting her family. I was like, “How the hell did this happen?”
That’s the thing too about rejection that’s weird. You never know what’s going on in that person’s life. We assume we know what’s going on. We assume and that’s the worst part. My dad always said, “When you assume, you always make an ass out of you and me.” I thought that was bullshit, but it’s true.
Have you read The Four Agreements?
Yes, I read it. Don’t ever assume.
Never assume and be impeccable with your word. I think it’s all associated with each other.
I want to add to that. I don’t know if you’ve ever talked about this. When you’re not impeccable with your word, amend it and then start over. Go back to your work.
Don’t beat yourself down.
Everybody thinks once you break that word, it’s like, “I can never go back to it.” Acknowledge it, learn from it and amend it if you can with that other person and continue.
Acknowledgment, that’s something that I had to learn. The process was long. While I was going through the spiritual side and trusting my gut. I had to learn that acknowledgment is a step in the process. If you don’t acknowledge it and you just fire the gun, that’s based off of emotion and ego. You’re jumping a step in the process of understanding. It’s like eating food. You don’t just eat food and it skips your digestive system and you shit it out.
I’ve got something funny for you. I’m moving into a new house. People were praying for me and meditating on it for me. I’m so thankful. The woman was like, “In the contract, you cannot flush baby wipes.” I was like, “What do you mean? Do you want me to be clean? Do you want to be a clean man?” We were over here talking about shit. I was like, “I might as well skip the step.” I’ve gained a lot from us talking. I feel like we can relate so much and it’s an experience. We all have an experience in life, but it seems to be that the trajectory is all pretty much the same.There's no such thing as a complete good or bad. In every failure, there are still wins. Click To Tweet
Whether it’s slow or fast, whether you gain a lot of followers tomorrow or I gained a lot of followers in ten years or if it’s a process, we all go through these phases of life and we’re challenged. You have to think. We have to trust and do all this stuff. We have emotion. What could you say to anyone, whether they’re on the road to something successful for themselves or they want success or they’re trying to figure some things out, what would you say being someone in your position?
Somebody once told me and this was a while back ago, “Always do what the right next indicated action is.” I have no clue back then going on a TED stage, talking about my life, adoption and how Asian men were portrayed was going to lead to this. Looking back on it, I can see what things led to what. I said to myself, “I have nothing. What’s in front of me? What can I do? Do it.” I think too many of us, especially when we’re not on a path or we don’t know what we want or what we do, we say no to everything because we think we know better. We were like, “No, I don’t want to do that. No, it’s not in my wheelhouse.” I was like, “What is your wheelhouse?” “I don’t know. I’ll figure that out when I move out of my parents’ basement.” Say yes to things that are in front of you that’s the right action that you know. I’m not saying if a poor house comes around, you don’t want to hoard yourself like, “That came up. Let me do that.” That’s not what I’m saying. Don’t put yourself in compromising positions. I’m saying, “Do the right next indicated action.”
I’ve seen this. Especially coaching people when it comes to business, a lot of individuals create their own failures that aren’t even needed because they’re listening to the noise. It’s because they’re saying no to too many opportunities. I dated a girl that I liked a lot and so much. I was able to build a great relationship and learn a lot from her. It was so valuable and opportunities came from it. It was because one night, my friend asked me, “Do you want to go out?” I was exhausted. I did not want to do anything. I didn’t want to drink but I was like, “I’ll go out.” It was 10:00 at night. I was about to go to sleep. I went out and all this stuff ended up coming to be. A business opportunity came from that. I have something great to tell you. Do you know what started CreateU?
Here’s one specific moment. I was sitting with my friend, Michael DellaCorte, the guy that I was telling you, the chiropractor. I was sitting with him in LA. This was when I lived in LA in Venice Beach in my beautiful home, three stories. He challenged me to visit this girl that I was talking to at the time and fly on the day off to Philadelphia. I flew to Philadelphia the same day. I said, “I’ll do it.” He was like, “What the heck?” I ended up starting a business with her. It started and developed CreateU. That was the beginning of CreateU. It created everything. It created the gym that I’m developing. It created the nutrition company that I have. It created the agency. It was because of that one action that I wanted to take. My ego was telling me, “Don’t do it. That’s a waste of time.”
It can also be fear of losing time, finances or whatever. It’s like, “Why would I do that?”
Do you have any examples like that?
Yes, but they didn’t turn out as well as yours. It has not created business.
Was there an opportunity?
For sure. Even moving to LA was one of them. I didn’t know where I was going, but it was the right thing to do. I just felt it and all of this happened within two years. I was supposed to go to Asia instead of LA because I was like, “I’m going to restart my life in Asia and do a fitness business.” Two people signed up to my seminar and I was like, “That’s a sign. That’s an indication that I am not going to Asia.” That’s what I meant by you’ve got to do what’s right in front of you and what’s next, but then too many of us think we know what’s in front of us and what’s not. Now, I’m in a position where I do not know what the right actions are sometimes. I have agents. I have a manager to do those things for me to weed out the opportunities.
That’s where I knew that was my next right indicated action. Get agents and a manager to handle this stuff, the social media inquiries and some of the press stuff. Sometimes I don’t need to. Like with you, I know you personally, but people who get background checks on like, what are their intentions? All that stuff. I don’t know and it’s too much for me to handle. I gave it to somebody who can do it for me because they came up to me too. It was an opportunity. All I’m saying is I could have easily been like, “I know what’s good for me,” and I’d be a wreck now. Too many people give up the opportunities that are in front of them. To let people feel a little bit better about this, the opportunities will show up again. It just might not be within years. It could be 5, 10 years.
Another thing is asking for support. A lot of us want to do things on our own. It’s our ego, fear and trust. When we are not asking for support, we are not trusting others and ourselves, we’re not loving ourselves and others, all of our damaged shit that we all have, traumas when we were kids growing up, all of that shows when we’re not asking for support. I feel like what you’re saying with having management and other people, you have to trust them and ask for support like, “I need help with this. I don’t have the time and I want to put that trust in you.” Your trust may be tainted. There may be some things that happen, but always allowing trust to flourish at the start is important. You could do your background checks. You can double-check things and ask questions. That’s fine, but trust and ask for support.
I’m not somebody who trusts easily. When I say I trust, I’m still at this period where I’m like, “I’ll give you guys 3 to 6 months to a year.” Here’s the thing. They might mess up. They might be great, but I’ll never know unless I start or do it. There are going to be other people. I have to have faith and trust that more people will show up if it’s better for me. It’s almost like that Buddhist terminology, “What’s meant to be will always be, no matter what.” No matter how hard I try, it’s very Buddhist. I believe that too in a heartbeat.
A lot of people have this negative connotation with Buddhism as if it’s like some crazy religion or whatever. It is all about happiness and loving people as you would yourself. I always say this to anyone. If you’re a Christian, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, whatever you’re on or anything you are, read about other religions, learn about them and understand them because many of them are saying the same thing, if not all of them. They’re all saying to love other people as you would love yourself. The reason why there are different rules is to protect morale, love, communication, community and all these things. That’s my own little projection on religion. I don’t want to get into it.
That’s what is awesome about Buddhism. If you just take away the philosophies of it, you’ll live a better life. You don’t have to practice. It’s better if you practice it, but it doesn’t mean going to a temple. It just means to practice the principles of Buddhism. That’s it.
Kev, I have one last question for you. How are you doing mentally?
Mentally, it’s ups and downs. I talk to my castmates and my mom a lot because it is a lot. I know that I asked for this. I’m not straying away from the responsibilities of being this new person that people look up to and want things to be done. I’m not running away from that. I accept the responsibility. It is a little bit tougher because I don’t want to get tainted. I don’t want to get jaded by this whole thing. Some friendships have disappeared because their true character came out when, all of a sudden, it was blowing up. Some of the friendships weren’t about, “What could we do together?” It was more like, “What can I get from you?” When it felt like that, I knew before that happened who those people were, but this confirmed it for me.
It’s a gut feeling. You’ve got to trust your gut.
It’s different if it’s like, “This is going to benefit both of us.” There’s a difference, but if it’s like, “Can you do this for me?” It’s like, “What? Excuse me? Where is that coming from?” That’s tougher to deal with a little bit because I have good friends already. I don’t need new good friends unless it’s genuine and that’s the difference. A lot of these new friendships don’t feel genuine to me. I don’t even want to say new friendships because they’re more acquaintances or more people I meet. I’m like, “Where did you come from? What do you want?” It’s different with agents because some of these agents are new. Agents, it’s going to take a little while to create a friendship if there is one. My thing is there’s a difference. They’re going to be my team that I trust. It’s business. It’s work. It’s something you’re going to help me to do to accomplish what I want. Those new relationships I welcome because I know they can help me to get to the next level.
To relate to it, when I was blowing up on YouTube, Instagram or Facebook, people were reaching out to me from high school randomly like, “Can I get a shout-out?” A couple of guys that I played football with at Florida Atlantic University play on the Eagles now and a couple of other teams. They would hit me up and be like, “Give me a shout-out.” They were just getting into the league and NFL. I was like, “We don’t even talk. What do you mean?” A couple of girls were blowing up on social media. At the end of the day, relationships take time.
Some of my closest friends were people who have followed me. There are two people who are living in my home, our lead videographer and then my assistant or my apprentice. He’s going to be the GM of my gym. Both have been following me for six years. Some of my closest friends are people who found me after I “made it.” To give you some examples, I found a lot of my best friends through my following. What I recognized was they would hit me up and they wouldn’t want a shout-out or anything. They just wanted to meet me and hang out.
I would meet them. Let’s say I was in a public place, I’d be like, “Come out to the beach in Santa Monica.” I’d meet them. All of a sudden, we would click and they wouldn’t go away. They would keep on supporting me, helping me out and all these different things. It’s the most beautiful thing. The people who are supporting you, the ones that you see everywhere on your Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook or YouTube, buying your products and doing all this different stuff, they are the ones that you want in your life.
That’s good to know. As I said, I’m still fresh at this. I’m not jaded by the fact that there won’t be good new relationships coming up in my life. Especially in dating, it could be a little tricky now at this point.
Don’t give your social media out. I generally don’t do that.
I know. I don’t want to. Most of these girls who hit me up already know me from the show, but new girls, I’d rather not talk about it and just find out who they are. For instance, your relationships that you have are beautiful. I think it’s good to hear that because that way I’m hopeful like, “There will be new ones.”
People will support you from your following. If I needed someone for real estate, I can find them like that. If I’m going to open up something or host an event, a lot of people will tell all their friends and they’ll help you in there. They want you to succeed because you’ve helped them. My only recommendation that I could give to anybody who is growing a following is to lean into your supporters and people who are saying good things that are backing you up because they’re the ones who are going to be with you long-term. It’s beautiful. You’re going to experience it. There are a lot of people who just hit you up because they want something from you, but there’s a good amount who wants to love and be a part of your community and wants to live out your vision.
I’m not jaded with those people hitting me up once in a while. It is for that community, for sure.
Kev, thank you so much for coming on here. That was a freaking amazing episode. I’d love to talk more about other things, maybe another time and more specific topics if you’re open to it about loving yourself for who you are. I’d love to talk about that topic. Where can everyone find you? I have a lot of readers on my end who are going to be reading this as well.
Is there anything lastly that you want to say? Any words of encouragement?
Keep doing the right next action. It always works out at the end.
Trust the process, TTP as we say. Thank you so much, Kev.
You’re on Clubhouse too, Kev?
I’m on Clubhouse.
We’re in little Clubhouse sessions. Look him up, Kevin Kreider. Look me up, Brendan Meyers. I don’t go on as much. I’m trying to more and more. You’ve got to spend time on it. It’s like a little podcast platform. It’s amazing. I want to say one thing, our motto, “Ignite your breakthrough and bring your vision to life.” Trust the process. Trust you. Patience is a virtue. If you have a vision, do not drop it for anything or anyone because it is possible. The right people will show up for you at the right time and in the right moments if their intentions are good, and trust that. Learn more about yourself because if you don’t know about yourself, how are you going to give anything to anyone else, to your business, family and relationships? You won’t be able to. Thank you so much for reading. Kev, thank you for joining me. I’ll see you next time. Peace.
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About Kevin Kreider
Born in Seoul, and adopted at the age of three to a German/Irish family in Philadelphia. He was ashamed to be the token Asian guy and spent most of his life trying to change his appearance to build self esteem and confidence.
As a model, Kevin Kreider has been featured in publications such as Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness Magazine, and was the first Asian-American to greet guests shirtless at the Abercrombie and Fitch on Fifth Avenue in New York City. He’s been featured for brands such as Peloton, Gillette, and many more.