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Kevin  Kreider

Kevin Kreider

Mental Health & Recovery Advocate, Actor & Entrepreneur

Kevin Kreider

Mental Health & Recovery Advocate, Actor & Entrepreneur


Born in Seoul, South Korea and adopted at the age of three to a German/Irish family in Philadelphia, Kevin Kreider grew up with a loving family. But he soon found out that the outside world is not as caring. By the time he was in kindergarten, Kevin was bullied, beaten up and made fun of for being Asian. That continued through the years and he began to believe the hateful things others were telling him: Asian men were not as attractive. They were effeminate, skinny and weak.

Feeling he was not white enough, and yet, not Asian enough either, Kevin set out to carve his own unique path to redefine Asian masculinity. He began to work out and finally turned into the sex symbol he always wanted to be. He left Philadelphia in 2008 to navigate his way in entertainment as a Korean American adoptee. He was signed with one of the top modeling agencies in New York City.

But all was not as it seemed to be. The stress and non-stop nature of the modeling industry took a toll on his body and emotional health. Kevin hit rock bottom. Years of drinking and partying led to depression, anxiety and losing all his hair from Alopecia Areata. He was lost and spiraling down a dark path. He owed over $20,000 in credit card debt and his father kicked him out of his childhood home. 

Kevin found sobriety and began the journey to turn his life around. He climbed out of credit card debt and moved to Los Angeles. There, he was offered a role in Netflix’s international hit, Bling Empire, which ran for three seasons. Empire is the first all-Asian and Asian American reality show. Kevin also starred in a documentary, The Ugly Model, which tracks his life as a Korean American adoptee and model. Currently, he is a contestant on season two of Peacock’s competition series The Traitors.

But what Kevin is most excited about is his newest venture. Kevin discovered the most difficult part of being sober was the "FOMO" and the criticism associated with living a sober life. But that fear is where he found inspiration. Kevin created Sans by Taejin Beverage Inc., a drink that empowers and normalizes the sober lifestyle. It’s the first Asian-themed, alcohol alternative and mixer, health beverage infused with adaptogens. Kevin says it’s a beacon for people to hold that represents strength, health and confidence—to give people the ability to be a part of the buzz without the booze.

Speaker Videos

Redefining Asian Masculinity | KeviRedefining Asian Masculinity | Kevin Kreider | TEDxBergenCommunityCollegen Kreider | TEDxBergenCommunityCollege

Mental Health Journey

The Ugly Model | Kevin Taejin Kreider | Talks at Google

Speech Topics

Understanding the AAPI Experience

Growing up as a Korean-American adoptee in a white community, Kevin Kreider was ashamed to be the “token Asian guy.” He was bullied and beaten up because of his ethnicity. He was angry because he felt like his voice wasn't being heard. Asian men are viewed as humble, quiet and smart but at the same time not sexually attractive or have personalities, he says. So, Kevin decided to do something about it. Today, Kevin is the star of Netflix's Bling Empire, a successful entrepreneur and sobriety and recovery leader. In this talk, Kevin shares his story and takes on those biases perpetuated through Western media; the stereotypes that limit Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI); and the three steps you can take to reclaim your true authentic self.

Fighting the Stigma of Mental Illness & Addiction

Alcohol, drug addiction and mental illness do not discriminate and can affect anyone. And yet for many families, it’s rarely discussed. It’s a stigma that Kevin Kreider wants to change. The star of Netflix's Bling Empire, who is also a sobriety and recovery leader, has been sober for seven-plus years and has openly talked about his struggles with alcohol and depression on his series and to the press. He has even created a non-alcohol drink, Sans by Taejin Beverage, which empowers and normalizes the sober lifestyle. In this talk, Kevin shares his journey, the problems associated with depression, alcoholism and addiction, as well as how the media sets the mindset, and the beautiful life and relationships you can have when happy, clean and sober.

Creating a Brand With a Purpose

For Kevin Kreider, going to parties had become uncomfortable. He struggled with alcoholism for years before becoming sober. And with the requisite sparkling water in hand, he would get a major case of FOMO and feel like he didn't quite fit in. Instead of complaining about it, though, Kevin went into action. An entrepreneur at heart, he created Sans by Taejin. It’s the first Asian-themed, alcohol alternative and mixer, health beverage infused with adaptogens. It gives people the ability to be a part of the buzz without the booze. In this talk, Kevin discusses the lessons he learned along the way while creating Sans; the importance of building a brand with a purpose that represents your personal values; and turning your past into hope. Whether a business owner, corporate leader or someone who’s ever dreamed of owning a business, this talk is for you.

Reinventing Your Identity & Sobriety

Although raised by an incredibly kind, loving family, Kevin Kreider grew up as a self-hating Korean adoptee who felt like he never quite fit in. For years, he wrestled with his identity, which led to depression and addiction. And he’s not alone. According to multiple studies, those who are adopted are almost twice as likely to develop a substance abuse disorder. They are also at higher risk for mental health issues. In this talk, Kevin empowers the audience to embrace their identity and culture and be comfortable in their own skin, whether adopted or not. It's the first step in cultivating confidence and courage and connecting to yourself and others.