Interview with Ronnie Kroell and Ben DiChiara

If you missed Bravo’s Make Me A Supermodel, you missed some of
the most homoerotic moments ever broadcast on basic cable. They gave us
everything from a highly sexual S&M photo shoot that involved one hot guy
licking another’s forehead to a fascinating "bromance" between gay
model Ronnie Kroell and straight prison guard Ben DiChiara. Ronnie and Ben got
so much air time, they even ended up with one of those cute couple nicknames:
Bronnie. In fact, Bravo went so far as to have T-shirts printed with Bronnie on them.

Bronnie made it all the
way to the final four, most likely thanks in large part to their close
relationship. What can we say? We ate it up. Ronnie himself was even the first runner
up, although he lost the supermodel title to the only female to reach the end,
Holly Kiser. After the finale aired, we got to talk to Ronnie and Ben about
their experiences on the show, including the homophobic comments Ben directed
at Ronnie and another model during a challenge, the judges’ favoritism,
and, of course, their bromance.

AfterElton.com: Hi guys,
thanks so much for talking to us! And congratulations on making it to the end!
Ronnie Kroell:
Thank you very much.
Ben DiChiara: Thank you! I
appreciate it.

AE: Ronnie, I have the privilege of doing bookend interviews with you.
I got to talk to you before you went in the house and now again as you’re
coming out.
RK:
[laughs] Yeah, that’s awesome. And I just want to say thank you to
everyone at AfterElton. I’ve been on the site and seen the "Save
Ronnie" banners and everything. That really means a lot.

AE: We were all big fans.
RK:
Thank you. You guys even had those up-to-the-minute blow-by-blows of
each episode.

AE: The liveblogs? Yeah, they were great. Are you wearing your Bronnie
shirts?
RK:
At the moment, no, but I was definitely just sporting it yesterday. [laughs] I work out with
it.
BD:
No, actually I’m wearing what I wore last night. [laughs]

AE: So how was the experience? Was it pretty much what you expected?
What surprised you most about being on a reality show?
RK:
I think what surprised me the most about being on the show is that I’m
walking away learning major life lessons. Not just how to become a better
model, but just how to become a better person, if that makes sense. I’m
definitely walking away not taking anything for granted.
BD: I’d have to say it wasn’t at all what I expected. I didn’t
really know what to expect, because I wasn’t a really big reality TV buff. I
just went in there with an open mind to see what would happen, and just tried
to do the best that I could.

AE: There is a stereotype that gay men are often more comfortable with
women rather than straight guys, but Ronnie you pretty much fell right in with
the other guys. Was that a conscious choice or is that just how you are?
RK:
You know, it’s natural really for me. I was talking to my mom about
this the other day, actually. It’s like ever since I was in grade school and
high school and knew I was gay, I was kind of a chameleon. I kind of went back
and forth between the different groups in school. I have my girl friends, but I
have my guy friends, too, to this day. I don’t really consider people my gay
friends or my straight friends. They’re just my friends.

AE: Speaking of the girls, they often came across as a little bit
deficient in the personality department, especially compared to the big, bold
male personalities. Were they really as boring as they seemed or was that just
editing?

RK: [both laugh] They were
definitely deficient. You can’t edit that. That really happened. [laughs]

AE: Ronnie, when I
interviewed you before filming started, you told me you were glad there
wouldn’t be any gay boys in the house so you wouldn’t be distracted by a
showmance. Well, I guess you didn’t count on Ben.
RK:
[laughs] And then there was Ben! [laughs] I have to tell you, he was
probably a distraction in the first several weeks of the show, but then he
became an ally and a rock. When everybody else couldn’t trust people, Ben and I
found trust. We made an agreement from the very beginning to help each other
out and be each other’s support system. He’s become a friend and a brother to me.
I’m going to leave this show knowing I’ve made an incredible friend. I have no
regrets about that whatsoever.

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