” One night in Hell’s Kitchen, a New York City neighborhood, two guys who were minding their own business had a still lit cigarette butt flicked at them. An argument ensued and the police were called. The reason for the harassment: the two men were gay. This was one of the many stories that Ronnie Kroell shared at the E.””
One night in Hell’s Kitchen, a New York City neighborhood, two guys who were minding their own business had a still lit cigarette butt flicked at them. An argument ensued and the police were called. The reason for the harassment: the two men were gay.
This was one of the many stories that Ronnie Kroell shared at the E.J. Thomas Stage Door Monday.
Kroell, an openly gay runner-up on Bravo’s Make Me a Supermodel, spoke to the audience about diversity, saying that at the end of the day we’re all humans first.
Being gay is a huge part of my life but it isn’t the only thing that defines me, Kroell said, who has been openly gay for 10 years.
Homosexuality was also only one part of the discussion. Kroell presented several things to live by regardless of sexual orientation.
Be yourself, Kroell said. It doesn’t matter what. You just have to love and respect yourself.
Kroell’s grandmother gave this advice to him upon coming out.
Instead of voluntarily coming out, his sexuality was discovered. His mother walked in on him with a friend and was horrified to find out he was gay. It was his 78-year-old grandmother who reprimanded his mother and told her to appreciate her son for who he is.
Kroell emphasized that different experiences shape everybody’s perceptions. It took his 78-year-old grandmother to help shape his mother’s opinion.
Kroell also urged audience members to follow their dreams and to not let anyone tell you that you can’t. He said from a very young age he wanted to be in the modeling business. He looked at magazine pictures and aspired to be in them.
Kroell shared one story about going to a modeling agency in his prom tuxedo when he was 15. Those at the agency laughed at him, but because he had tried hard, the agency gave him some advice and encouraged him to come back. Kroell said that by following his dreams and always working toward his goal, he obtained it. He found out about auditioning for Make Me a Supermodel through an ad he found on Craig’s List.
Finally, Kroell spoke to the audience about how people treat people.
We teach other people how to treat us, and if we don’t say anything, then we are giving them permission to treat us badly, he said.
Kroell urged those who are treated badly, or who witness others being treated badly because of what they are, to speak out and break the silence. He encouraged attendees to be an ally to those who have none.
Kroell is also working toward a baccalaureate degree in political science and works in politics.