By Erin Chew, AsAmNews Staff Writer
Bling Empire returned for its third season this month ( and a New York City – set spin-off is in the cards). Season three promises more drama, questions about love and relationships, conflicts and the glitz and glamor of being Asian in Los Angeles.
It is interesting that a reality series about the petty drama of ultra-wealthy Asians in Los Angeles has been successful considering it promotes opulence and goes against the traditional idea that Asians only air their dirty laundry behind closed doors. The cast of Bling Empire defy this and open up their lives, their deep-hidden secrets and all their faults for the entire world to see.
In a recent interview with AsAmNews, the cast members for Bling Empire talk about how season three is the best season thus far and how their insecurities will be exposed even more as they question who they are as Asian Americans, find out what love and relationships mean in their lives and most importantly enjoy the life of the rich and famous.
Singaporean-born and raised real estate developer, and one of the breakout stars from Bling Empire Kane discussed how despite his career success, he holds a lot of insecurities about who he is and how this struggle has made him opinionated and direct when he talks with people and his friends.
“For most people who see our lives from the outside, it seems quite perfect and all we do is have fun and argue. But for me, I want people to watch season three and realize that we are delving deeper into our insecurities, particularly me, as I struggle with my own identity and the issues which come with that”, Kane said.
Executive producer and star of Bling Empire Kelly Mi Li, has shown the world from season one her entrepreneurial spirit and her personality. She talks about how in season three she opens up more as she becomes more confident about who she is as both Asian and as a Chinese American woman.
“I feel I was finding myself and my identity in seasons one and two, and people who follow the series would have seen all the different layers which make up Kelly. I have definitely grown so much since season one and in this season people will see more of my fun side as well as finding my voice again”, Kelly expressed.
Known as the ‘power couple’, Christine and Gabriel Chiu are not afraid to flaunt their wealth, with Christine always looking immaculately dressed whilst making their Dr Chiu medical aesthetic brand a household name. A confident woman on the show, Christine shares that in reality she is an introvert and a shy person. Opening up her life in Bling Empire is something that she continues to struggle with each day.
“I don’t know if most people know that I actually test as an introvert, and in my off-show life I am very private and shy. Maybe that comes from the fact that I am an only child or my upbringing where I grew up in my own bubble and space”.
Anna Shay who is famous for her candor and her witty personality has a fan base and following. Those who follow Bling Empire, admire how she looks beyond the fact that she is a millionaire heiress and despite opening up her life on the show is always still shrouded in mystery.
Anna discusses how she too is an introvert at heart like Christine and how that gets misrepresented in the series. She opens up about how her dual ethnicity has put into question how Japanese she felt growing up and being a part of an Asian American-themed show has allowed her to find herself and her identity.
“Despite popular opinions, I too am an introvert and very shy. My shyness often gets mistaken on the show as being snobby and unfriendly. If I think about where this stems from I would say it comes from trying to find out what it means for me to be Japanese. After all I am part Japanese, born there but unsure where I stood with it all”, Anna said.
Finally, Kane, Kelly, Christine and Anna all briefly commented on how they feel their visibility and the success of Bling Empire will change the narrative of all the negative Asian stereotypes and the current environment of anti-Asian hate in America.
“I think just being seen on screen has changed the narrative on Asians. The last two to three years, Asian stories in Hollywood have become more normalized. Bling Empire aims to push the image that being Asian is cool and that we enjoy our lives but also have our own secrets like every other American”, Kane discussed.
“As most people know I have been very vocal about the anti-Asian hate crimes which have been happening in America. It is a cause I am so passionate about and I show this in the show. I hope my presence in shows like Bling Empire will be educational and create a better understanding that we all are just like every other American, and should not be treated as perpetual foreigners”, Kelly said.
“For me, I think just normalizing Asian stories and faces as opposed to being a cookie cut-out stereotype is progress on changing narratives. We as Asians have always been pinned as a stereotype and this has to change, so I hope Bling Empire can be part of paving the way for more Asian stories to be showcased”, Christine expressed.
“If there is anything that viewers can learn from the show is that being Asian isn’t about being a category or a stereotype, but it is just being and acting like regular people. We are people more than we are Asian, and that is how we will change the narrative”, Anna said.
As part of Netflix’s returning reality series slate, season three of Bling Empire can be streamed to watch. And keep an eye out for the spin-off Bling Empire ( New York City), which is coming up.
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