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What Is “Bling Empire” and Why Is it the "Crazy Rich Asians" of Reality TV?

Meet the real-life Nick Youngs and Astrid Leongs of Netflix reality TV.
What Is “Bling Empire” and Why Is it the "Crazy Rich Asians" of Reality TV?
IMAGE Netflix
Meet the real-life Nick Youngs and Astrid Leongs of Netflix reality TV.

The first Crazy Rich Asians film was a monumental success for a lot of reasons, but mainly because Hollywood seemingly finally progressed from their Asian goth and math nerd tropes, and gave us nuanced Asian characters on mainstream media for once—albeit they mostly came from the upper-class elite. Furthermore, it had a charming story and a beloved all-Asian cast that left us wanting more.

It’s been a good three years since its release, and while a sequel has already been confirmed, due to the ongoing pandemic, we can’t expect CRA 2 to drop anytime soon. Fortunately, we do currently have one fabulous alternative in the form of a spicy new Netflix romp. 

”Bling
PHOTO BY Netflix
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Bling Empire is a reality television show centered around the lives of a group of friends. The catch? They’re anything but ordinary. We’re talking about a hybrid, opulent bunch of Asians living outrageous and glamorous lives in Los Angeles. These real-life individuals may as well be living in a world straight out of the pages of Kevin Kwan’s books. 

The eight-episode series is filled with clips of their pre-COVID travels (via private jet of course), ostentatious parties, and sinfully juicy drama, all in true trashy American reality TV fashion. It’s basically the Asian equivalent of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, except this one’s seamlessly interwoven with piles of cultural references. 

”Bling
PHOTO BY Netflix
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Even their crew and team have a great number of Asians on board, including Bling Empire’s executive producer, Brandon Panaligan, who’s actually Filipino-American! “Say you grew up in the '80s. The narrow cast vision of what was acceptable as an Asian character back when I grew up is something that was very painful,” Brandon told Variety. “Growing up, you saw the people who looked like my dad and looked like my dad’s family—there wasn’t the space for fully human Asian characters on television or in film. And that’s something that I carried with me.” 

If that’s not enough to convince you to watch the show, below we give you a glimpse at Bling Empire’s eye-catching cast, a.k.a. the real-life Nick Youngs and Astrid Leongs of reality TV.

1. Anna Shay 

Russian-Japanese heiress, Anna Shay, is practically a real-life princess. Coming from old money, she doesn’t so much as bat an eye when she casually goes on a shopping spree in Paris for a whole week.

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”Anna
PHOTO BY INSTAGRAM/annashay93

2. Kevin Kreider 

In contrast to his wealthy friends, Kevin is your normal, run-of-the-mill Korean guy, apart from his chiseled face and toned abs, of course. He’s currently a model based in LA.     

”Kevin
PHOTO BY INSTAGRAM/kevin.kreider
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3. Kane Lim 

Often clad in Dior and Versace, Kane Lim is a real estate heir and Singaporean entrepreneur. He’s a wholesome person and is essentially the life of the party.

”Kane
PHOTO BY INSTAGRAM/kanelk_k

4. Christine Chiu 

Taiwanese heiress, Christine Chiu, is probably the flashiest being on Bling Empire as she constantly tries to compete with Anna. Buckle up, because there’s always a lot of drama brewing between these two. 

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”Christine
PHOTO BY INSTAGRAM/christine_chiu88

5. Jaime Xie 

Easily the most fashionable individual in the series, Jaime is a fashion blogger, influencer and daughter of a tech billionaire from Silicon Valley. She’s also the youngest member of their group. 

”Jaime
PHOTO BY INSTAGRAM/jaimexie
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6. Kim Lee 

Kim is a model but focuses primarily on her career as a DJ, and has even made a fortune from it. She’s quite the character on the show and later shows a vulnerable side to her. 

”Kim
PHOTO BY INSTAGRAM/kimlee

7. Kelly Mi Li 

Hailing from Chinese descent, Kelly is a self-made entrepreneur. On the show, you’ll get to see a lot of her relationship problems unfold as she often becomes the center of the gossip mill. 

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”Kelly
PHOTO BY INSTAGRAM/kellymili

8. Chèrie Chan 

Chèrie Chan is a former Chinese pop star and heiress to a denim empire. She lives with her boyfriend, Jessey Lee, and has two children with him. 

”Cherie
PHOTO BY INSTAGRAM/cherieofficial
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You can stream Bling Empire exclusively on Netflix.

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