“The Asians are here!” exclaimed a very excited Kane Lim in the trailer for my newest obsession, Bling Empire. The cast of Bling Empire enter the world of reality tv, but unlike the default for tv shows, this cast is all Asian. It’s about damn time! As a lover of most things reality tv; from Bad Girls Club to The Great British Bake Off to the Real Housewives franchise, I’ve been begging for a tv show like this on American television for years. We’ve seen almost all types of friend groups on tv but never a friend group of Asian-Americans. Finally!
The eight episode series introduces us to the lives of these ultra wealthy Asians and when I tell you they’re rich, they’re rich rich. You know how The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is dubbed the richest city in the housewives franchise? Well, the cast of Bling Empire make those women seem like paupers. They attained their wealth through marriage, family or through their own hard work. It’s not even ordinary wealth. I’m talking oil tycoons, Chinese dynasty and defense contractor for the United States. They’re stacked like pancakes. LOL
SPOILER ALERT!!! So, who are these people? There are about eight main cast members with a story to follow with others popping up throughout. The series started off unlike other shows. We’re immediately thrusted into the Chinese New Year (2019 – Year of the Rat) celebration party hosted by Christine Chiu (born in Taiwan). Christine is married to Dr. Gabriel Chiu who she has a son with. You’ll have to tune in to see her personal story. I go from liking her to disliking her throughout. Together, they run a successful plastic surgery practice in Beverly Hills. He comes from money and so does she. At the party, drama starts over a necklace because Anna Shay, the richest person on the show (from what I gather), wore an expensive necklace to the New Year party and Christine felt she was showing off. The pettiness of it all (or so I thought😅) The two go back and forth all season but it never got nasty. It was all in good rich people fun and Anna always won.
While we’re on the topic of Anna, she is half Asian as her mom is Japanese and her dad, a white Russian man. He’s was the founder of the Pacific Architects & Engineers; a defense contractor for the United States, the United Nations, CIA, etc. What’s did I tell you? R I C H! Anna spares no expense when it comes to spending money because as she said in one of the episodes “she cannot compete with what I was born into” referring to Christine trying to get one up on her. Anna, while being the eldest in the group, knows how to have fun and showed that she had a kind and giving heart. She flew her friend Kelly Mi Li and her boyfriend to Paris so they could go to her favourite restaurant. Jaw dropped! There was one moment where Anna lost her cool but that’s for you to watch and find out. She’s also very fond Kevin Kreider, who is also good friends with Kelly.
Kevin is the newest to the group. He was adopted from South Korea into a Caucasian family and lived in Philadelphia. He moved to LA to further his modeling career and build himself up. Prior to moving to LA, he had spoken to Kelly online and so she introduced him to Kane Lim. It’s also of note that Kevin is just like you and me, the average viewer, and the poorest of the lot. Everything shocked him as he’s never been around such wealth in his life. He and Kelly seemed to have chemistry right from the jump but unfortunately for him, Kelly had a type, toxic. More on that in few. Kevin added some type of normalcy to the show because not only is he not rich, his fashion sense is atrocious. Funny, considering he’s a model. His bestfriend, Kane, on the other hand is extremely fashionable and gets a monthly allowance from his oil tycoon father. Kane moved to LA from Singapore to build a career for himself in real estate. He’s also very loyal to his friends and really funny. I like that he never judged Kevin’s status. In fact, none of them seemed to do that. A true sense of community. Kane is a practicing Buddhist and is always down for a good time. I think he’s the person that keeps everyone connected. Both guys did something amazing for Kim Lee which was a real tear jerker. It was also the moment Kane yelled “the Asians are here!”
Kim Lee is Vietnamese-American and an international DJ but extremely famous in Asia. She’s not only stunning but she proved to be one of the sweetest characters on the show. She brought one of the realest storylines to the show which I’m sure will help someone. This storyline caused her to give Christine a particular advice. Kim filmed with her mother, Kimmy, a lot and as well as her crazy rich French step dad. I love Kim Lee. She’s single but not sure if she’s ready to mingle. Contrary but similar to Kim is the precious Cherie Chan. Cherie’s family is L O A D E D! We learnt that she was super close with her mom who passed away. She was a mother of one when we met her with another on the way. Her boyfriend Jessey seemed cool and all but for some reason, he wasn’t ready to propose. He gave her a promise ring. Albeit, an expensive one but a promise ring nonetheless.
Someone who has expensive taste is the youngest of the bunch, Jaime “not Jamie” Xie. Jaime comes from a billionaire family. She’s always had it good. She went to school and stopped because that wasn’t where her passion was. She dresses well and lives for fashion. I could see her doing well at modeling, if she ever decides to give it a go. Since she’s the youngest, the others look out for her and serve as some kind of mentors. There was a moment in Las Vegas when Christine and Kane spoke to her about finances because Jaime is the type of girl to spend 50K on a jacket without breaking a sweat. After all, she’s shopped for 5 days straight from sun up to sundown. A Queen! Opposite Jaime is Guy Tang (Vietnamese and Chinese descent), the self-made rich hairstylist of the group. He has an extensive clientele that includes celebrities. Remember that moment I said Anna lost her cool? Guy had something to do with it.
Finally, Kelly. By the time I halved the series, I was over her. I couldn’t understand why she would, after going through what she did with her ex husband, be in the situation she was. Like every reality tv show, there had to be a couple who’s so toxic, you just cancel them out. Kelly and her boyfriend Andrew Gray (apparently he was one of the red power rangers) have, according to the group, a pattern of breaking up then getting back together. This would be fine if Andrew didn’t seem like some crazy lifetime psycho boyfriend with Kelly being the battered, scared girlfriend. I like Kelly but I don’t like Andrew for her. I’ll leave it at that.
I watched the whole series in a few hours and loved every minute of it. The cast is amazing and it helps that they’re all actually connected. I love that they represent different types of Asian people and even though they’re rich AF, they still seemed relatable.
Bling Empire is streaming now on Netflix.
– CHATTERBOX KEIRN