How the Cast of Netflix's Splashy New Series "Bling Empire" Came Together

Elena Nicolaou
·9-min read
How the Cast of Netflix's Splashy New Series "Bling Empire" Came Together

From Oprah Magazine

  • Bling Empire is a new reality series on Netflix, being touted as Selling Sunset meets Crazy Rich Asians, following a friend group of ultra wealthy individuals in Los Angeles.

  • "We tapped into the energy of a group who already know each other," creator Jeff Jenkins says of the cast, which includes Anna Shay, Christine Chiu, Kane Lim, and more.

  • Below, find cast bios, details about how they became so wealthy, and their Instagram handles.

If you're here, then Bling Empire is probably your latest reality TV obsession. The eight-episode series focuses on a group of super rich individuals of Asian descent, all based in L.A. The vibe is Selling Sunset meets Crazy Rich Asians, plus the delightfully unpredictable energy of Anna Shay.

Bling Empire's creators say the show's magic comes down to the cast–but actually finding a friend group willing to be on reality TV was a challenge. Jenkins, a reality TV producer, had known co-stars (and rivals) Christine Chiu and Anna Shay for over a decade. Through Anna and Christine's connections, Jenkins and showrunner Brandon Panaligan assembled the rest of the multigenerational cast, who come from a variety of backgrounds.

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

"We tapped into the energy of a group who already know each other and are invested in each other's lives. That's the magic in starting a show like this—it's not forced. We brought our cameras into a world that was already there," Panaligan tells OprahMag.com

That said, the cast undeniably became closer during the filming process. Kevin Kreider, initially a starry-eyed newcomer to the world of the .1%, has become "best friends" with Kane, according to Jenkins. Christine and co-star Cherie Chan also formed a deeper friendship. "We are plotting the marriage of our children," Christine jokes to us.

Here's what we found out about the cast of Bling Empire, from Kane Lim to Jamie Xie, including how they amassed their fortunes.

Christine Chiu

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Instagram handle: @christine_chiu88

What's her deal? Born in Taiwan, Christine Chiu is a self-described "philanthropist, investor, and couture collector," according to her Instagram bio. She and her husband, Dr. Gabriel Chiu, built and run Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery, a clinic in Los Angeles. Their son Gabriel (a.k.a. Baby G) is two years old. Chiu's competitive fashion week routine was once the focus of an entire Harper's Bazaar article.

Where does her fortune come from? Chiu and her husband run a successful plastic surgery firm. Speaking to OprahMag.com, Chiu says while she married into wealth, she also comes from a "financially sound background." She hopes Bling Empire clears up myths about her lifestyle.

"The greatest misconception is that we just roll around in money and laugh and drink champagne and caviar all day," Chiu says. "I have to admit I'm a big fan of champagne and caviar, but you know—everything in moderation." She emphasizes that charity is a "huge priority" in her life, and says the Chiu family invests 50 percent of every net dollar that comes into the clinic back into their community.

Gabriel Chiu

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Instagram Handle: @drchiubhps

What's his deal? Gabriel Chiu is married to Christine. According to his website, he enjoys "photography, wine, and keeping up with the San Francisco 49ers."

Where does his fortune come from? Plastic surgery—and, judging by Christine's introduction of him on Bling Empire, generational fortune. She says he's the heir of a dynasty.

Anna Shay

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Instagram handle: @annashay93

What's her deal? Anna Shay is the self-described Queen of Los Angeles. Prior to Bling Empire, the heiress was notoriously private. Upon returning to social functions, Anna baits Christine—another prominent socialite—into a game of oneupmanship. "The fun part of Anna is that she has a lot of time on her hands. So she does have a lot of time to come up with games. I think that brings her pleasure. Maybe sometimes at other people's expense," Christine tells OprahMag.com.

Shay's son, Kenny Kemp, makes a brief appearance on the show. According to a profile in BuzzFeed News, Kemp is a self-described "passionate stoner" and has a collection of bongs worth millions of dollars.

Where does her fortune come from? Shay's father, Edward Shay, is the late billionaire founder of Pacific Architects and Engineers, a defense contracting firm that has worked with the U.S. government on projects around the world since 1955. Her mom, Ai-San, was born and raised in Japan.

Kane Lim

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Instagram Handle: @kanelk_k

What's his deal? Originally from Singapore, Kane moved to L.A. with the intention of growing his family's investments. According to an interview with Voyage LA, Kane is in the process of making residential and commercial real estate deals for his business, Kix Capital. He has an extensive (and we mean extensive) shoe collection. He credits Rihanna following his Instagram account with his success. Christine describes him as a "fun plus one anywhere."

Where does his fortune come from? Speaking to Voyage LA, Kane described how he spun an investment from his father into his own fortune. He started investing at 17 with a loan from his dad, which he paid back in two months. By the time he was 18, he had a seven figure fortune.

"Compared to all the wealthy kids in Singapore I was raised very different. My father would never pamper us. Instead, when I was young he would take me to the nearest public bus stop and tell me to take a public bus to school. He never provided chauffeurs for us or the luxuries in life but just the necessities such as the best education, food, and travel," he said.

Kevin Kreider

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Instagram Handle: @kevin.kreider

What's his deal? Kevin moved from Pennsylvania to L.A. to pursue a career in modeling. He was adopted from Korea as a child. "I feel like it's Kevin and his abs. It's two people. He leads with his abs," Christine tells OprahMag.com.

Where does his fortune come from? Kevin isn't rich—which is why he's on the show. According to EP Jenkins, Kevin is meant to be the "everyman" of Bling Empire. First introduced to the clique through Kelly, Kevin got to know the others for a full year before filming. "That year gave Kevin this wonderful sandbox time of playing and getting to know everybody and getting to form his own opinions, his own attitudes, and his own friendships or rivalries," Jenkins tells us. According to Jenkins, Kevin and Kane are besties.

Guy Tang

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Instagram Handle: @guy_tang

What's his deal? Guy Tang is a multi-hyphenate with over 2.1 million Instagram followers. As his "Hairbesties" could tell you, Guy is a celebrity hair colorist, YouTuber, and musician. Guy's husband, Almar Guevarra, is a brain cancer research nurse. Per Guy's Instagram, they bonded after Guevarra serenaded Guy with a Mariah Carey song. According to his Twitter, Tang's mother is Vietnamese and his father is Chinese.

Where does his fortune come from? Tang was born and raised in Tulsa, OK and appears to be self-made.

Kim Lee

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Instagram Handle: @kimlee

What's her deal? Kim Lee was born in California and raised by her mom, who is originally from Vietnam, and her stepdad, who is from France. Before becoming a DJ with an international following, she had a successful career as a model. Bling Empire isn't her first time on reality TV: Kim was also on The Amazing Race Vietnam and Vietnam’s Got Talent and is the host of YO! MTV Raps, a show that highlights Asian hip-hop talent.

Where does her fortune come from? All of the above, seemingly.

Cherie Chan

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

Instagram Handle: n/a

What's her deal? According to Bling Empire, Cherie was on her way to becoming a pop star in Japan. Today, she and her partner Jessey Lee are busy raising their son, Jevon, and a daughter, Jadore. In the series, Cherie grapples with the loss of her mother.

Where does her fortune come from? It's not entirely clear—but she does have one.

Kelly Mi Li

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Instagram Handle: @kellymili

What's her deal? Kelly is an entrepreneur and an influencer.

Where does her fortune come from? During her introduction, Kelly explains that in her 20s, she was married to a wealthy man from China. Then, in 2015, her husband was one of six people indicted in a multimillion dollar fraud scheme. According to a report from the Department of Justice, the defendants "buried relatively small hidden text message service charges in the monthly mobile phone bills of thousands of customers who did not purchase the text message service" and made millions. Kelly's ex-husband is serving a ten-year jail sentence. Kelly has supported herself since.

Jamie Xie

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Instagram Handle: @jamiexie

What's her deal? The youngest member of the Bling Empire cast, 22-year-old Jamie Xie is on her way to becoming a name in fashion (and has the Vogue profile to prove it). “Some people think fashion week is too hectic, but I find it exhilarating,” she told Vogue. She showcases her style on her Instagram and YouTube pages. Jamie once owned five horses and thought she would be a professional horseback rider.

Where does her fortune come from? Jamie's father is billionaire Ken Xie, a cybersecurity technology entrepreneur who founded a business with his brother. According to her YouTube page, Jamie supports her own shopping habit: "Ever since I started making my own money, I use it to shop with."

Andrew Gray

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Instagram Handle: @andrewgray

What's his deal? Andrew Gray's claim to fame is that he was the red Power Ranger in Power Rangers: Megaforce. He and Kelly break up during Bling Empire, but appear to be raising their dog, Kilo, together.

Where does his fortune come from? Andrew isn't on the show for his fortune. He's here for his role in the Drew-Kelly-Kevin love triangle.

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