July 27, 2022

On July 6, NYFA welcomed Ronen Rubinstein at the Los Angeles campus for a Q & A. Rubinstein currently stars in Ryan Murphy’s 9-1-1: Lone Star which follows a New York firefighter, Owen Strand (Rob Lowe), who relocates to Austin, Texas with his son T.K. Strand (Rubinstein), where he works to save people’s lives while trying to solve his own personal problems. Rubinstein stars as T.K., an openly gay fireman and recovering addict who works equally as hard in his job, his relationship with his father, and his relationship with his life partner, Carlos Reyes (Rafael Silva).

The evening started off with a screening of an emotional and action-packed episode from 9-1-1: Lone Star. Ronen gives a riveting performance in the episode. When the lights came up and Ronen stepped onto the stage, accompanied by Creative Director of Acting Lynda Goodfriend – who moderated – it was clear that the audience was at the edge of their seats.

Ronen spoke about the episode, which explores his character’s history of addiction to drugs. “This episode is near and dear to my heart, as it’s very close to my real life.” Rubinstein candidly spoke about his own opioid problem during high school and admitted that “acting literally saved my life.” When his teachers saw that he was on a “bad path,” his guidance counselor suggested he join the theatre to give him some responsibility and an outlet for his energies. He auditioned for the play, got the lead role, and “when I stepped out on the stage in front of a thousand people, I caught the bug. I realized this may be what I want to do.” It was a good choice. Soon he had a manager interested in him and booked a lead in a low budget film that ended up going to the Sundance Film Festival. He was on his way.

After high school, he realized he needed to learn his craft if he was going to pursue a career in acting. He joined the One-Year Conservatory program at NYFA in New York and praised his time there and his instructors. “I owe so much to this school. There are still essentials I’ve used for 10 years to prepare for roles and still use today.” He mentioned the Scene Study and Acting for Film courses that helped him learn how to break down a script and how to develop a character, their tone, and physicality. “I especially learned to breathe. I remember my Acting for Film teacher saying to me, ‘You can breathe, you know,’ as I was always holding my breath.”

When asked whether he encountered challenges in his career, he replied with an enthusiastic, “Oh yeah!” At one point when he had not worked for almost a year, he said “I wrote in my journal that if I don’t get a job in a month, I’m going to go work at Trader Joe’s. I love Trader Joe’s. The vibe is good, and you get to wear those Hawaiian shirts!” He continued to say, “But the universe heard me, and Dead of Summer came my way, my first series regular role.”

Ronen spoke to the audience about his role on 9-1-1: Lone Star – the brutal emotional scenes, the intense physical work on the show, and learning the technicalities of playing a paramedic. Ronen had high praise for the producer, Ryan Murphy, who is a “trailblazer for LBGTQ.” Adding, “From the moment you see our characters, it is a normal relationship, no big coming out moments, not overly dramatic…we are reflecting the real world.”

Asked about his dream job, he replied, “Anything with Brad Pitt! Brad Pitt, Leonardo or Christian Bale, those are the guys who have inspired me to do this and made me want to do character roles. That’s what gets me excited.”

Passionate about the environment, Rubinstein has become an advocate for climate and sustainability, using his platform to bring awareness to the issues surrounding ocean conservation.

He told the audience how lucky he feels. “Nothing is guaranteed. This is the coolest job in the whole world. It’s like winning the lottery and that will always keep me motivated.”

Everyone in attendance felt lucky to have spent the evening with this rising star, inspired by his journey and his insights.

Please note: NYFA does not represent that these are typical or guaranteed career outcomes. The success of our graduates in any chosen professional pathway depends on multiple factors, and the achievements of NYFA alumni are the result of their hard work, perseverance, talent and circumstances.