This blog is the first time that I’ve been able to say that, “I’m an actor”, and I truly believe it . . .
Back in 2008 I had the blessing of being on a popular reality TV show called, Make Me A Supermodel, on Bravo. It was the beginning of what was going to be a truly bittersweet journey for me. After competing on the show, I moved to NYC from Chicago to follow my modeling career. I walked the runways for fashion week and had numerous successful campaigns, but a defining moment was when I was tapped to pose for PLAYGIRL Magazine. It was edgy, controversial, and everyone had their opinion about why I should or shouldn’t do it. However, with all their opinions in mind and in true Ronnie Kroell fashion, I did it my way … No regrets.
Soon after that, I was given the opportunity to be a part of Eating Out Drama Camp. I had SO much fun working on this film and at that point there was no denying that I had been bit by the acting bug. I went back to NYC, packed my bags, and started plotting out my move to Hollywood. I went on to act in and help produce a number of independent films, including: Into The Lion’s Den, Scrooge & Marley, Birthday Cake, The Men Next Door, I Hate Valentine’s Day, and Kissing Darkness. However, even with all of these experiences under my belt, there was a part of me that didn’t believe that I was actually an actor.
I know that I’m not alone when I sometimes think to myself, “I’m such a phony” or “I wonder if they’ll catch on”. As artists, we tend to be our own worst enemy. When we get into our head too much, we risk losing contact with reality and the physical world around us. Couple that with the stigma that goes along with being a reality TV show personality and all the shade that can come your way, it can be a recipe for diminished confidence and low self-esteem. That’s part of what happened to me anyway, but somehow I’ve been able to break through to the other side and realize just how talented I really am.
Over the past four years, I’ve lived in Los Angeles. I like to say that Chicago is my heart and that NYC is my backbone, but it it here in Los Angeles that I have been discovering my voice and how to use all of the aforementioned in harmony. My mid-western heart and sensibility were the perfect target for damaged souls and those that sought to use, abuse, manipulate, and take advantage of my light. However, again I somehow have been able to make it out alive (I’m pretty sure I have a legion of Angels on duty at all times). Sure, I’m still licking a few wounds that haven’t healed, but I am grateful for the scars that have formed. They serve as a reminder of the light and dark that exist in all of us and the importance of finding balance, being grateful for the process, and the importance of forgiveness.
I’ve battled the light and dark of others, but it has only been recently that I’ve been able to make peace with my own capacity for light and dark. I no longer see the dark as something bad that I must shake my fist at, but rather a necessary contrast to help me better realize my blessings. By doing so I have been able to not only reclaim my power, but recognize that without the darkness it would be impossible for me to shine. We all have the ability to shine, but sometimes we get caught up in the fact that life gives us the tests before it offers up the lessons. It is at this critical point, where we risk losing hope and want to throw in the towel, that we must keep going and NEVER GIVE UP.
I’ve had the privilege of taking acting classes from greats like Lesley Kahn, Groundlings, Killian McHugh, David Zimmerman, Jack Plotnick, Michael Testa, Jeffrey Tambor, and most recently Hunter Lee Hughs of Story Atlas. Each one of these teachers has gifted me with a bit more insight into who I am, not only as an actor, but as a person. In my opinion, it is impossible to act well unless we are willing to be vulnerable. We must learn to move beyond fear and at times revisit dark experiences that we have buried deep within ourselves; a futile attempt to avoid feeling through the pain. It’s not easy, but from my experience, it has been well worth going deeper and allowing myself to open-up.
I left Story Atlas tonight with a feeling of true accomplishment! For the first time I can say that I’m an actor, and I truly believe it with every fiber of my being. I’ve worked hard to get to this point and have overcome numerous obstacles that, to the inexperienced self, could seem like calculated attempts by the Universe to tear me down. In reality though, the obstacles were sent to build me up. I’ve finally reached a point in my life where I realize that the negativity and shade that others have/may throw my way has nothing to do with me, rather it is a projection of their own insecurities, a lack of self-confidence, and deeply rooted pain.
So, where am I going with all this you ask?
Well, it all boils down to this simple, yet very complex conclusion:
As an actor, I am faced with the challenge of, “Making you believe that I believe”. After leaving Story Atlas class tonight, I can honestly say that, “I believe”. I am no Meryl Streep quite yet, but I am no longer held captive by my own insecurities, or those of others that get thrust upon me. I have made a serious commitment to myself to acknowledge, develop, and to truly celebrate my talent with the utmost of humility. At the end of the day, my job as an artist is to polish my talent and share it unapologetically with the world.
That is exactly what I plan to do, but with the added commitment to encourage and inspire others to go after their dreams along the way …
Thanks for reading!