Ronnie Kroell: There’s a ton of heart behind that smile

I have been blessed to know Ronnie Kroell for quite a while now. I am honored to call him friend, grateful for the adventures his friendship brings me, and look forward to many more years of both! Ronnie is a model, actor, activist, artist, singer, soon to be author, and one of the best human beings I know. He founded the Friend Movement along with Laughing Eddie Lobo and through this, they have been feeding homeless people in LA, bringing people together, and promoting the importance of self love and friendship.

On my most recent trip to Los Angeles, Ronnie and I had lunch and lots of coffee with the best conversation, as usual. We started talking about things we wanted to do and how we  might be able to work together on something special. The idea of a Facebook Live show came up and I totally felt Ronnie would be perfect for that space. Shortly after, Behind the Smile Live was a reality that I feel was overdue and needed. We thought it would be really nice to chat about it and about the other things Ronnie has going on so we could share it with you all as well.

We’ve had many conversations over the years in private but I’m always proud to share the ones I can with you! So, let me introduce you to Ronnie Kroell, the man (and heart) behind the gorgeous smile:

Q: Tell me a little about the concept behind the Behind The Smile book and how that became Behind the Smile Live. I am honored to have been part of the BTS Live process but I want everyone to know how it evolved. 

Ronnie Kroell: The concept for my Behind The Smile book is simple really, it’s about authenticity.

My goal is to dive beneath the surface, eliminate the filters, destroy the masks, and achieve a deeper level of human connection with my family, friends, and fans. I plan to challenge my readers to step outside of their own comfort zones, become more vulnerable, and live their most authentic lives. To do this, I will be sharing my personal life struggles, successes, and a few lessons that I’ve learned along the way. Each chapter will discuss an important topic, but the coolest part is, readers will be able to immediately implement what they have read by way of a real-life challenge that I pose at the end of each chapter!

While I am writing the book, I thought it would be fun to get the creative juices flowing and do something special! SO, I teamed up with my friend Tommy Geraci and together we created, BTS – LIVE on Facebook. It airs every Sunday at 3PM ET / 6PM PT. We have a new guest each week, share an inspirational quote, and pose a weekly challenge to motivate and energize our audience for the week ahead. www.facebook.com/ronniefriendkroell

Q: You have been on a journey to help others AND to learn more about yourself. Do those two goals ever get in each other’s way?

Ronnie Kroell: I have found that it is possible to help others while working on myself, but it is MOST important to find a healthy balance. If you give too much of yourself away, then you have nothing left and can burn out pretty easily. Practicing self-care and learning to love yourself is the key to learning how to extend that same kindness to others in our lives.

Q: Friend Movement started as an anti-bullying platform but has also evolved into so much more. Can you tell us a little about it and how it is different from other movements out there?

RK: Friend Movement believes that what you focuses on expands, thereby, if we are focused on “anti-bullying”, we are still giving bullying power. So, to counter that, we have decided to be “pro-friendship” and find ways to explore what it really means to be a friend to ourselves and others. We are in the business of preventing and healing the effects of bullying by producing fun events, edgy photo-campaigns, and inspiring diverse social media content that aims to unite us in friendship and find solutions to challenging problems.

Q: In episode one of BTS Live, you discussed how you can look at photos and know what was going on behind your smiles and which were forced. What truly makes you smile?

RK: Life is a beautiful, but often very complicated thing. It comes with complex challenges, confusing emotions, and scarce resources. Our collective society / consciousness creates and dictates how we should walk, talk, look, etc. But to me, living by those norms is SO boring. What makes me smile is when I see people breaking out of their cages, challenging the status quo, thinking outside the box, and being unapologetically themselves. It’s taken me a bit of time to become comfortable in my own skin (for numerous reasons that I will touch upon in the book), but I smile the brightest when I have no other intention than that of showing up and enjoying the ride.

Q: What’s one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without? 

RK: I cannot live without my friends, they are fuel and sustenance for my soul.

I wish we could all live without judgement.

Q: In episode one you also discussed the change in tone the internet can take. When social media first became big, it seemed to be nicer, more friendly. Do you think we can get that back? Go back to a global community? 

RK: The world we live in today is certainly technologically more connected than it has ever been, but yet somehow it feels we are more disconnected at times. The truth is, we are starving for real human contact and deeper connections — not the surface level interactions we have come to know. Some social media outlets have become real toxic wastelands that are breeding and perpetuating fear, anger, bullying, isolation, depression, and egocentric life-styles. I don’t think that we can go back in time, but I do think that together we can #BeTheChange on an individual level and create new healthy habits.

Q: Describe yourself using three hashtags.

RK: #KingOfHeart #Artist #Friend

Q: As long as I’ve known you, I have never heard you preach for the sake of it and I know you always walk the walk. What do you hope BTS Live will be to others and what do you hope it can be for you? 

RK: I hope that BTS Live will be a raw slice of life look into my world, my friends, and my dreams — thereby inspiring others to rise above fear, reach for their goals, and experience all the happiness and abundance they deserve in life. For me, it is another creative outlet by which to continue to challenge myself, know myself, and maybe even surprise myself from time to time.

Q: You have spoken of self love and since I know you practice what you preach, can you name three qualities you think are your strongest or that you are proud of?

RK: Loyalty

Empathy

Integrity

Q: Since we are also discussing themes of self reflection, can you name three qualities you think you can improve on? 

RK: Patience

Delegating

Saying NO

Q: Where can everyone find you on social media and online?

www.ronniekroell.com

www.friendmovement.com

www.facebook.com/ronniefriendkroell

www.twitter.com/ronniekroell

www.instagram.com/ronniekroell

Q: What’s up next for Ronnie Kroell? For Friend Movement?

RK: My three main focuses right now are painting, acting, and taking Friend Movement to the next level! You can expect to see me working consistently in mainstream film, television, putting on art gallery shows, and speaking out about the importance of friendship through various channels, including, but not limited to — The Ronnie & Eddie Show. We could not be doing this important work without the kindness, love, and support of our growing #FriendFamily and for that we are deeply grateful.

Together we are making a difference —  one friend at a time.

I really want to thank Ronnie from the bottom of my heart for his friendship, for doing this interview and for giving me the opportunity to work on Behind the Smile Live with him. Please join us every Sunday at 3pm PT/6pm ET for a thoughtful, meaningful conversation that will start off your week perfectly! Here’s a previous episode so you can see for yourself:

Have you met Richie Nuzz?

I first met Richie Nuzz at an EyeCon convention for the show Teen Wolf on MTV. He performed at that event and I was very impressed with his talent. Since then, he has attended more EyeCon events with us and he’s actually become a friend. A friend who constantly blows me away with not only his talent but his drive. I’m inspired by him daily through his social media posts and his desire to make a difference with his music.

Not only is Richie a song writer and performer, he has done modeling and dancing. Like I said, he’s got the drive to succeed and the desire to entertain!

Richie has a new song and video out currently called “I Will”. I wanted to share that with you and introduce you to him if you don’t know him already. Check out his video and then be sure to go like his Facebook Page and follow him on Twitter!

Here’s the video for “I Will”

DIEGO VALDEZ: True Renaissance Artist

Diego Valdez is truly a multi-talented artist.  If you know his drawings, you know there is something haunting about them.  In every piece, the eyes are drawn in such a way that you feel the subject could actually come to life right in front of you.  I have been truly honored to be on the receiving end of many tweets with new work from Diego and extremely privileged to have had the chance to interview him for this article.

During the process of our interview, I learned so much about a man that I mostly saw as an graphic artist.  The creative talent runs so deeply that one outlet is not enough for Diego to express himself.  He has as many facets as his palet has colors, and has been honored in every field he has blessed with his participation.

If you are not familiar with his work, you will be pleasantly surprised at what you find.  If you are familiar with his work, you know how lucky we are to be a part of his sharing circle.

Diego’s work has been chosen to appear in Times Square in NYC this summer as part of the Artists Wanted exhibit and that is no small achievement.  If you are in the area, I suggest you stop by and be amazed.

 Q: Is there anything you can’t do? Model, Actor, Author, Painter, Graphic Artist, Designer, Poet… Did I miss any? Which is your favorite?

A: I am screenwriter too, its actually one of the things I can do better. I got a degree in creating scenario grammatical, character description and storyline for TV and film.

Yes, there are lots of things I can’t do. My mind, it’s always in other world. For example I can’t find the focus when I am driving a car.  By far I am the worst driver ever ;)

Q:  I have been very lucky to see so much of your artwork.  Where does your inspiration come from? How do make your work so unique? Each piece has a haunting quality, like it could come to life. 

A: I am very lucky to find people like you.  Really I am so thankful about it .

My art, it’s a message – an inviting message with the goal to inspire others. To get everything, and believe In the power of the passion, the dedication and the hard work – never give up. My first inspiration to draw is the goal to make a drawing able to talk or tell an story just with the glance.  I work hard on the eyes of my drawings. It’s the point of connection with the soul *The Eyes*. I have created my own technique.

I do not work over pictures I develop Original drawings. My drawings come from my imagination. I am colorblind, in fact I don’t know all the colors. I have problems finding the difference between yellow and green and maybe that’s where the cool colors  in the background and in my

Madonna

artwork come from.

I am an animal lover, and for example, I have finished more than 17 eagle drawings this year just with the intention to inspire everybody to believe and fly – the message, it’s more powerful than the drawing ;)

Q: Tell me a little about Bella B n’ the 17 nights.  How did you get involved in telling stories for kids?

A: Bella B, well, it’s in fact a tale dedicated to my daughter Isabella and that is why I am writing for kids now – because of My 2 year old baby girl, Isabella Valdez.

And to find connection with the human being its necessary to touch the little inner kid inside all of us. We are all still kids and that’s why I really love to write, to draw and to create for kids !!! Because of the kids we are.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who was trying to break into any of the fields you have been successful in?  Are there any secrets?

A: The secret is to believe, Respect everybody as a human being, follow your feelings, and an artist can’t stop to develop and create things every single day – don’t think about money. Don’t think about fame. These things are the consequence of passion and love for what you do in life.

Q: You are obviously very accomplished in the arts.  Were you always interested in the artistic side of life?

A: Yes because my father was a general of the army but at the same time a writer, painter, and sculptor. I have been around the arts all my life ;)

Q: What is a typical day at home with you like?

A: It’s pretty normal. Every day I develop part of a drawing and I write some idea – or part of a project. I spend 3 hours per day in my art, every single day. I go to the gym 2 hours and 30 minutes per day, every day. I manage my networking and promote my art and projects 1 hour and 30 minutes per day.

I have discipline – that is the secret !!!

And the rest of my time I am dedicated to my family. That means 6 hours in my things, and 6 hours with my family.

Q: What are you currently working on?

A:  I am working on a very interesting, huge project but I can’t disclose anything yet. And in my art studio I am working on an interactive book of fashion. Poetry beside pictures of models, araw concept of art – a project where I am writer and model one more time.

Q: Tell me about Artists Wanted. THAT must be such an honor for you.

A: It’s a huge honor to have the chance to see my art showcased in Times Square I am really thankful with all the support of my friends and lots of people I am really touched about it .

Q: Do you have a personal favorite piece among your own work?

A: Always the drawing I am going to do tomorrow will be better than the last drawing I did – my favorite drawing

It’s going to be my next drawing ;)

Q: Who are some of your inspirations? Artists/actors/models you look up to? 

A:

Artists: I love Rembrandt

actors: Heath Ledger

Directors: Woody Allen
Actress: Kate Blanchett
Designers: Stefano Gabanna and Tom Ford
Models: Kate Moss

Photographers: Mario Testino, Sante D’ Orazio, David Lachapelle, and I love what Raphael is doing right now

Makeup artists: Mario Dedivanovic

3D animators: I have to do a mention my mentor and friend Mike Herzog. I love his talent.

Music:  its true I love AURADRONE’s music and it’s not because it’s my friend – its because of Jon Mack – AURADRONE is a powerful artist, I love the electronic sounds of AURADRONE’s music and the message of freedom of her work.

Finally I have to mention a person I really Admire, Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter. He created a huge change in the communication of this world.
Twitter is the most powerful social media ever, I love Twitter !!!!

Q: Who are some people you would like to work with?

A: I think Christopher Nolan is by far a visionary in the film industry. Would be great work with him.

Q: What’s up next for Diego Valdez?

A: I have lot of surprises and projects

So close, the book I mentioned before and beside it a powerful project where I have the chance to be a writer but I can’t disclose yet !!!