For many Asian-Americans, growing up in the United States, especially in cities where the majority of the population is white, can be incredibly difficult. Racism, stereotypes, and judgment still run rampant through many communities, especially in schools and other places where children judge others for being “different”.
Kevin Kreider grew up as a Korean adoptee in Pennsylvania. While his Caucasian parents and brother completely accepted him for who he was despite their racial differences, his peers throughout his school-age life always reminded him that he wasn’t the same as they were.
Not only was he an Asian-American kid growing up as an adoptee in the United States, he also dealt with tics due to Tourette’s Syndrome that he started to develop as a child, further isolating him from his neurotypical peers.
When he was young, Asian representation in Western media was even less common than it is today, and it’s still not very widespread. He dealt with feelings of lack of self-worth, of feeling “ugly” and “less than”, due to the bullying he went through.
But he didn’t let the bullies keep him down forever. As he grew older, he began to soul search, determined to find himself and embrace his Asian heritage in the face of adversity. He discovered a love for fitness, and began to work to break the misconceptions and negative stereotypes of Asian men and their bodies.
Now, he’s working as a model and a fitness guru, and speaks openly about his process of redefining Asian masculinity and how he has overcome so many hurdles to get to where he is now. And his hard work has paid off – he was the first Asian-American model to be shown before guests (shirtless!) at the Abercrombie and Fitch on Fifth Avenue in NYC, and has graced the covers of Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness magazines.
If you want to learn more about Kevin and his inspiring journey, make sure to watch his interview on the May Lee Show here!