Bling Empire

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Kelly Mi Li and Kane Lim in Bling Empire.
Kelly Mi Li and Kane Lim in Bling Empire.
Photo: Netflix


Bling Empire




3.5/5 Stars


Bling Empire follows a wildly wealthy group of Asian and Asian-American friends (and frenemies) in Los Angeles. While their days and nights are filled with fabulous parties, spa dates and expensive shopping sprees, don't let the glitz and glamour fool you. Between running multi-billion dollar businesses and travelling the world, these friends are as good at keeping secrets as they are at spilling them. And there is certainly no shortage of secrets.


When I started watching this show there was a lot of eye-rolling, face palming and 'OMG really?'. Two episodes later, I was deep into the lives of Bling Empire's cast, and I had to force myself to stop watching because the next day was work.

A reality show following the lives of a group of wealthy people in Los Angeles isn't something new, but this show has a few things going for it. Firstly, it's a group of Asians, and Asian-Americans which has never been done before. Secondly, the cast is just so damn entertaining to watch, and it has a narrator of sorts which gives the viewer additional insight.

You have Anna Shay, who is an heiress. We are first introduced to her as she knocks down her closet wall with a sledgehammer because who needs a contractor, right? Then there's the couture collector, Christine Chiu, who is married to Dr Chiu. The pair have an adorable son named Baby G that they can't stop gushing over. Then there's Kane Lim, a real estate developer and influencer, Kelly Mi Li, a film and television producer dating the Red Megaforce Ranger (Andrew Gray), DJ Kim Lee, couple Cherie Chan and Jessey Lee, and fashion blogger Jamie Xie. The odd man out is Kevin Kreider, who does not come from money, he was born in South Korea and raised by a family in Philadelphia. He is our guide into the world of the rich as he narrates the series.

The show has the standard fare of extravagant parties, lavish shopping sprees and even a trip to Paris, cause Anna wanted to take her friend to her favourite restaurant. There is also a petty rivalry between Anna and Christine, and the biggest drama in the season involves a penis pump.

But there is also some depth to the series as the cast share very personal issues they are dealing with. Christine opens up about her and Dr Chiu's fertility struggles, Kevin wants to find his birth parents, Kim wants to find her estranged father, Cherie is dealing with the grief of losing her mother, and Kelly's toxic relationship with Andrew raises all the red flags.

For me, one thing that stood out was the genuine concern and support the cast have for each other, which gives you the sense that they really know each other and weren't just thrown together for a TV show.

I know you're wondering should you watch a show where rich people are showing off their wealth at a time like this? Here's the thing, it's light-hearted and just the escapism you need from everything that is going on in the world. To quote Anna: "I think it's very important to have fun."


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