Ronen Rubinstein. When thinking of the words to describe the budding star, a few come to my mind. Charismatic, talented, fashionable, but above all, passionate. Passionate about his work, about acting, fashion, activism. There is so much more to Rubinstein than meets the eye. Ronen got his first big break on the hit show Orange Is The New Black and has since been offered a starring role in the new Fox series 9-1-1: Lone Star. The show follows a group of law enforcement officers based in Austin Texas who fight for the people and work to make the world a better place, little by little. Ronen stars alongside A-listers like Rob Lowe and Liv Tyler. Ronen plays Tyler Kennedy “TK” Strand, an openly gay firefighter who is a recovering opioid addict. The show portrays this new law enforcement team as his second chance to get back on his feet. Through my interview with him for Flaunt Magazine, I learned so much about the superstar in the making that I’m sure his dedicated fans from the start as well as his newfound fans would love to know about their new fave actor! Interview below, also catch Ronen’s new show 9-1-1: Lone Star on every Monday night on Fox at 8 PM central time!
Hey, thanks so much for chatting with me! That shoot was incredible.
Yeah, of course, that shoot was crazy.
Yeah, it was really cool to see it in the works and everything, and the photographer was so talented!
I’m so happy with those shots.
To start, just tell me a little bit about yourself?
In the long story short I was born in Israel and then moved to the states when I was 5 years old, I mostly grew up in New York. Then I left New York when I was 20… I wanna say 24? 23? And I moved to LA and sort of just, grinding and doing a couple of gigs here and there. Been doing it since I was 19. One thing led to another and 9-1-1 Lone Star is here. So it’s been an amazing, crazy journey so far.
You said you started acting when you were 24 what was that process like?
Yeah, I moved to LA when I was 24, I started (acting) when I was 19 I just got out of high school and I had a movie come out at Sundance and that was my first time leading a film and it was a huge wake-up call like the reality of this profession and everything. It really pushed me into the spotlight of like, “okay, this is real and this is what I wanna do.”
Have you had this, desire to act since you were young or was it something that as you learned more about the industry, it started to grow on you?
Well, I always hear from my family and friends that as a kid I was super performative. I would always sing and dance and make people laugh at family gatherings. I was the class clown and I tried to make everyone happy with doing something silly or performative. So I think that sort of stuck with me and then in high school, I sort of was a pretty bad kid. I fucked around a little bit. And my guidance counselor, bless her soul, she said “You know, I think you should try theater I think it would be good for you. I think it would be a good little escape and could be therapeutic.” and I did!
I did a play and it was my junior year of high school. It was my first time ever performing and my first time truly learning what acting was and that rush of being on stage and seeing people react. Working with actors and learning dialogue, and trying to figure out what scenes really mean. I was hooked immediately and it became my new addiction. I just have been obsessed and in love with it ever since. It started at that moment, and I’m so happy someone recommended that because I don’t know where I’d be right now, without it.
That’s nice to hear, thank god for your guidance counselor! Let’s talk about the new show 9-1-1 Lone Star, could you tell me a little bit about it?
Oh my god it’s a mega, super crazy, cool show. We have the most collective group of cast and we have a really big cast and we have so much diversity and inclusivity. We have a female Muslim character, a Black transgender male, we have an openly gay man. I play the openly gay man without it ever being a fake or like a coming out story. We have every flavor of ice cream you could ask for. I think it’s a really beautiful reflection of the world that we live in. People that are actually out there, people that are watching, people that live in America.
America was created with all different cultures, flavors, walks of life, and it’s really beautiful to be part of a mainstream show that has such a massive audience but be able to sort of push the boundaries really of reflecting the reality of, our people, because we’re all from all different walks of life and all different backgrounds and cultures and it’s just really beautiful to be able to represent that. Still in a really respectful and fun way, because at the end of the day, the show is still really fun. We’re not trying to bash people and try to teach people about how they should think or like pick sides. We’re just showing in a really fun and honest way. And they’re already grappling on to that. It’s amazing to see the response just from promos and trailers. I expect really really big things for the show.
That’s so good to hear, I had a chance to watch the pilot episode and as I was watching, as a woman of color and being part of the LGBT community myself, it's so refreshing to see a show where it’s not some tragic traumatic storyline about their experiences. It just seems so natural and positive. I feel like, especially now, that’s what we need. We need to like normalize things and put them in positive lights. I just wanted to let you know that was really cool for me to see and I really enjoyed it.
I’m so happy to hear that from you! It all starts with the king, it starts with Ryan Murphy. He single-handedly has put inclusivity on the top of his priority list with this industry. Because I can’t name anyone that has been doing it before him, at the magnitude that he does it. From Pose to even really crazy characters in American Horror Story to Glee and even in 9-1-1 he shows the world an honest and bright light without it being like you said, tragic. We have a lot of these tragic coming out stories and it’s really really depressing and sad, It’s just nice to see it normalized because it is! This is the world. People need to get over it.
Exactly, and I feel like especially for any LGBTQ+ members of the youth who are watching, this will be so good for them to see a show that’s not about, “if you are yourself, there will be hardship”.
Yeah and obviously, the youth, I mean as cliche as it sounds, the youth is the future. It’s the generation that’s going to be leading the world forward and I think the more people see themselves on screen and the more people can relate to the characters they’re watching, I think the better off humans will be. Because then they’ll feel seen, they’ll feel understood, and respected. I think we’re on a beautiful path that this is the reality of our content. We have to show everyone, because why else would we be making it.
So I know you have a lot of different co-stars with you and they’re all such talented incredible actors. But I wanted to ask a little bit about Rob Lowe, what has working with him and your other co-stars been like? Have they given you any tips or taught you anything along the way?
Well, it’s kind of crazy my first day of work ever, my first day of shooting. It was times square, in Manhattan, with Rob Lowe. So there’s a bunch of firetrucks, the biggest production I’ve ever seen, and I can say if I can start with times square and Rob Lowe everything else is gonna be easy because that was THE BIGGEST wake-up call. Like “okay this is a massive show, and I’m working with a massive star.” When he’s on set and when Liv Tylers on set, who I’ve grown up watching my whole life, you have to be on your A-game and they make you a better actor. A better professional. And it just elevates you as an actor. And it’s been an insane learning experience. And if I’m not working with them, just watching them is really cool because it’s like a free masterclass that no one else can have. I truly feel like a little student in the corner sometimes with my notebook and I’m just trying to soak it all in because it’s just gonna be a crazy journey.
So I just wanted to ask for you personally, what do you feel is the most rewarding part of being able to be on the show in general, and also to be representing the community?
Oh man, I mean, yeah you sorta said it. The fact that we can even be in this position you know it’s such an honor and the fact that we’re doing it in a respectful, honorable light is incredible. The last thing we wanna do is offend these communities and we want to show them that we see them, and we care, and we actually give a shit you know? It’s not phony and we just want to make them proud, we want to make the people we’re representing, the people that are gonna be watching, we want to make them proud. And feel good about themselves you know? Because I don’t know who wants to watch something and then not feel good about themselves or what they just saw so I think the writers and the creators, and of course Ryan Murphy, has really... he’s like found something really special here and I think people are gonna be happy about their own lives and their own identity and I think people are gonna feel good after watching this. You know it’s fun, and it’s exciting, and it’s sad, and it’s funny, and it’s dramatic and you have a little bit of everything and the people portraying these characters are, they’re honest and they’re true to the character. So it really is an honor to even be able to be in this conversation.
I just wanted to ask like a couple of fun questions out of curiosity! What would be your dream collab? Who would you love to make a movie with or just, a director you’d want to work with or anything like that?
Oh my God. Wow, a director would be... well my favorite director is David Fincher. But sort of thinking outside the box I think it would be fun to collaborate with someone who’s not affiliated with film but someone like Frank Ocean and to do some sort of like, I don’t know do some sort of concept piece or -maybe a visual album or something- Yeah! It could be even crazy to collaborate on a music video with him you know? That would be something that I would think about, working with my favorite artist just like across the board. And just like having new infused music and film, art and everything that would be a dream.
Yeah, that would be so dope. That actually kinda leads into the next question I was gonna ask you. What kind of music are you into? I know at the shoot we were playing “Nights” by Frank Ocean which you really like.
Yeah, yeah Frank Ocean is my guy. I’ve been listening to him since Channel Orange and he sorta got me through a lot of hard times. My new love is Harry Styles -oh yeah I love Harry Styles- Yeah, just everything he’s been doing, his own identity and the way he presents himself. Just mixing up style, he’s a true pioneer right now. And obviously you know Mac Miller, he’s been someone I’ve been listening to since I was a kid. And when he passed away that really fucked me up. It’s sort of like losing a voice of, at least my generation, and actually his new album came out today so that’s gonna be a little intense listening to. But it’s beautiful to keep him in our memories and in our thoughts and to keep him in my work and my art, that’s all we can do to keep these people alive.
Moving into a different realm, talking about fashion, who are some of your favorite designers? I noticed when you came to the photoshoot, you’re a pretty fashionable guy. You were very well dressed.
Thank you, yeah I love fashion I really think style is an extension of our souls. I really think it’s definitely an art form, it’s an incredible art form, of being able to put on a piece of clothing and feel really good about yourself and feeling good about how you look and how you present yourself. My whole thing is being as eco-friendly as possible you know, just straight up trying to save this planet from the peril. There’s obviously Stella McCartney, she’s leading the game when it comes to eco-friendly and conscious fashion. I came (to the shoot) in a YSL hoodie. YSL is like the best of the best right now. I saw Frank Ocean just did a collab with Prada so I’m going to keep my eyes out on that, and then obviously I’m definitely on the vintage craze. In a way it is eco-friendly because it was bought decades ago and they just really knew how to make clothes back then. Like the movement of all that is sort of, everything I’ve been putting out there and preaching. We can still look really really cool and fashionable, but still be smart and conscious about how it’s made. And those companies are really leading the game right now, in those industries.
Just the last couple of questions, have you had any fan encounters that were really memorable or that stuck out to you, or maybe some that were just wild and like stuck out to you?
It’s funny you said that because last night we surprised around 50 fans. They were showing our show to a bunch of fans who signed up for a free ticket giveaway. First of all, just having your show premiere in a movie theater, is unheard of. And then we got to do a Q&A with the crowd and it was surreal. I’ve never had this happen before in the lobby, but there was a line of 30-50 people waiting to just say “Hi”, take a photo, and talk about the show. They just like would tell me how much they loved the character and the show, and how much they love what I’m putting out on screen. And to hear that from people right in front of you, like real physical people, it’s sort of everything. And I really like talking to fans. And you can see our PR people being like “oh let’s move on” and I’m like “No, I wanna talk about the show!” That was just really cool seeing them, and there were a lot of people who run the Instagram accounts that have been really supportive of me. It was cool to see a face to all these accounts of people who have supported me since Orange is The New Black. It’s just been an amazing ride and journey with the fans. And they’ve been so loyal to me. They’re literally everything. I hope to do as many physical and personal encounters as possible because it’s really cool to meet people in person and be able to talk to them, not necessarily through a phone screen.
So to close things off, is there anything you wanna say to any fans that may be reading or listening?
I just really wanna say, and I say this a lot, I can’t tell them enough how much their support and love means to me. I’m not a known actor, I haven’t been doing this a long time. And for them to pour their love and support over this character that we’re about to have on the show, it’s been unreal, it’s been unbelievable. I just hope we make them proud and I want people to feel good after watching the show. They can take whatever they want from it, but I just want them to feel good.
Thank you so much for talking to me for Flaunt Magazine! You’re such a cool guy and you seem so passionate about what you do and that’s always nice to hear.
Yeah, I really feel fortunate and I feel like this is the best job in the world. I really just wanna go at it with a lot of love and respect.
That’s wonderful! Thank you so much.
Yeah of course, and thank you for the photoshoot it was so fun. The photos are gonna be sick.
Source : Flaunt
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