Culture

Everyone’s Latest Obsession Is ‘Bling Empire’, The Reality TV Version Of ‘Crazy, Rich Asians’

'Bling Empire' is everything 'Real Housewives' wishes it was.

Bling Empire

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When Crazy, Rich Asians was released in cinemas, it was hard to believe that it was possible for anyone to have lives like the ones shown, filled with lavish events, more money than a normal human would know what to do with, and so many ridiculously hot people.

Well, Netflix’s latest reality show, Bling Empire, has proved that not only are these lives real, but they are actually more common than you think.

The eight-part Netflix series follows the lives of a group of extremely wealthy Asian socialites residing in Los Angeles — but we’re not talking small-fry wealthy, like the few million handled in similar luxury reality shows, like Selling SunsetInstead, some of the people featured in Bling Empire concern themselves in the billions, thanks to family money with links to oil, tanking, and even weapons.

But while the idea of watching literal billionaires navigate through their almost fairytale-like lives — as they deal with their petty non-dramas and shut down Rodeo Drive for private parties — can sound pretty off-putting, Bling Empire is surprisingly far from that.

In fact, if you like drama and have long wondered what life with copious amounts of money would be like, Bling Empire is the perfect escape from reality. It’s luxurious, enthralling, touches on real issues, and is just everything the Real Housewives franchise wishes it was.

What Makes Bling Empire So Damn Good?

The real joy of Bling Empire comes down to the characters, who actually have personalities beyond their money, making them a whole lot more likeable than most rich reality stars.

Plus, having a show centred wholly on Asian people over the typical cast of white women that often dominates reality television is super refreshing to see.

At the centre of the group is Kane Lim, who comes from billionaire parents involved in the real estate, oil, and shipping business. But despite the Lim family “owning the shopping malls you go into in South East Asia”, Kane isn’t snobby and is always happy to share his life with the series everyman, Kevin.

Model Kevin Taejin Kreider is quickly introduced as the friend with no money, who pays $1000 a month for a room in a share house while the rest casually splash $19,000 on hotel rooms each month. Kevin’s presence helps ground Bling Empire by making the viewers feel like these Crazy, Rich Asian-style lives can actually be attainable without the backing of a billionaire family.

Another main character in the show is Christine Chiu, who is pretty much the embodiment of “new money”. As the wife of a popular plastic surgeon, who also happens to be a direct descendant of the Song dynasty, Christine’s very competitive and is obsessed with name dropping as often as she can.

Also featured throughout the series is Kelly Mi Li, an entrepreneur (and divorcee of the wealthy Chinese man that was embroiled in a multi-million dollar fraud scheme) who is now dating arguably one of the most toxic men to have every graced TV screens, Andrew Grey of red Power Ranger fame.

Bling Empire also features famous DJ, Kim Lee; billionaire daughter, Jamie Xie; former pop star, Cherie Chan; celebrity hairstylist, Guy Tang; and uber-rich icon and the show’s greatest asset, Anna Shay.

Come For Drama, Stay For Anna Shay

If you need only one reason to watch Bling Empire, let it be Anna Shay, a half-Japanese, half-Russian billionaire heir and the show’s diamond star.

Anna Shay is easily the most iconic reality star to come out in recent years. As the daughter of a literal arm’s dealer and from old money, Anna’s only job is spending cash and looking good — and she does both of those roles very well.

In the first episode of Bling Empire, Kane shares that Anna’s “money comes from weapons. Her father sells bombs, guns, defence technology, and it’s worth like, a few billion.”

According to Anna, as the only child in the family, her late father never wanted her to actually work. (Goals.) It makes a lot of sense, though, you know, considering her parents sold their “architectural and engineering firm” that assisted “the US government effort to rebuild Asia in the wake of WWII” for $1.2-billion cash in 2006.

The best part about Anna, however, is not the money — even if she is so rich she didn’t even bother cashing her Netflix cheques. Instead, it’s just how little fucks she has to give about things.

She’s not shy to call out Kelly’s man for being a piece of shit, she casually buys Kevin a whole new wardrobe without a second thought, she knocks out walls in her closet while wearing couture gowns, and she literally flies her friends to Paris whenever she wants to eat at her favourite restaurants. Iconic.

Plus, Anna Shay has already produced some of the greatest one-liners on any reality show ever. For example, when trying to make sense of Kelly and Andrew’s disturbing fight in Paris, Anna simply said “there ain’t no dick that good” that could justify his low-key verbally abusive behaviour.

Honestly, if Anna’s not proof enough that Bling Empire is iconic viewing, then I don’t really know what else I can do.

You can stream ‘Bling Empire’ on Netflix now.