If you’re not in the loop, Netflix just released a new reality series called Bling Empire that’s got the whole Internet buzzing. Dubbed Crazy Rich Asians meets Gossip Girl, puts a glittery spin on your typical reality series. Making its debut on January 15, the eight-part series follows a group of real-life affluent Asian-American friends in Los Angeles, whose lives—between running multi-billion dollar businesses and travelling the world—include extravagant parties, expensive shopping sprees, and lots of bling. The trailer also teases some of the incoming drama to be expected, with “no shortage of secrets.”
Bling Empire is the first reality-TV show with an all-Asian cast, many of whom are established names in the realms of fashion, beauty and entertainment: co-founder of Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery Christine Chiu, budding fashion influencer Jaime Xie, entrepreneur Kane Lim, model and fitness coach Kevin Kreider, and model-turned-DJ Kim Lee, among others.
When it comes to fashion on the show, expect nothing short of glamorous, thanks to luxury tastemakers such as 22-year-old Jaime, daughter of tech billionaire Ken Xie. Though born into wealth, the front-row regular at fashion week and former equestrian is determined to carve her own path. Besides giving us an exclusive look inside her home, she chats about what to expect of Bling Empire, preparing for her on-screen debut, and her passion for fashion.
Tell us how Bling Empire came into being and what we can expect of the show.
The show was inspired by the movie Crazy Rich Asians. It’s a reality version of the movie and follows my cast mates and me as we live our lives in Los Angeles. As with any reality show, there’s drama involved. That said, the show highlights a lot of friendships, relationships, career struggles, and so on. Unfortunately, none of the cast gets to see the show until the day it airs, so I’m just as clueless!
What is your role in the reality series? Why did you decide to join the cast?
I’m not the main character of the series, but the focus of my role is centred around fashion. I thought it’d be a great opportunity to showcase my style and love for fashion, considering how large of a platform Netflix is. When I was approached for the series, I knew I couldn’t turn it down.
What was it like filming and how did you prepare for your on-screen debut?
I actually joined the cast only a few weeks before filming started, so it gave me little time to prepare. It definitely took some getting used to having cameras around me. But you eventually forget the cameras are there and go on living your normal life.
Reality TV has a reputation for taking things out of context and distorting what is real. What are your thoughts on viewers/ critics who may not understand the intention of the show?
I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion and should take the show—like any reality show—with a grain of salt. At the end of the day, reality television is entertainment and it keeps viewers interested. I am not the kind of person who is easily affected by criticism or negativity so I hope to take it all in stride.
You’re a fashion influencer, a champion equestrian, and a reality-TV newbie. Which do you identify with the most?
I identify most with fashion as it has always been a part of me and there’s nothing else I’d rather do. A close second would be horses because I really miss riding now that my time is more limited. I loved everything about it—the connection you have with your horse is so special. I’m also very competitive by nature, so I loved being challenged and making number one.
But once I began to explore fashion—the launch of my website in 2015 was the beginning of it all—I realised that I loved fashion so much more and wanted to commit to it. Horses were my first love, but fashion is forever.
How would you describe your style?
My friends often call me a chameleon because my style is so versatile. I don’t want to put myself in a box and my fashion sense is always changing and evolving. One day, I may feel like wearing something edgy and cool and the next day I may want a feminine and flirty look. I feel comfortable in a wide range of styles and it really depends on my mood that day and what I am feeling in the moment.
What are your favourite fashion brands?
My favorite brands are always evolving and can change with each season. In terms of the more well-known, established brands, the first three that come to mind are Prada, Jacquemus, and Chanel. Jacquemus has been a longtime favorite and recently I’ve been obsessed with Prada and all their nylon pieces. I especially love how Prada created a Re-Nylon collection made from regenerated nylon fabric that is better for the environment. I got so many pieces from that collection because not only were they very cool but I love the sustainability aspect of it. I also look forward to seeing what Miuccia and Raf will continue to create together.
As much as I love these well-established brands, the thing that excites me most about fashion is discovering new and emerging designers. Rowen Rose, Charlotte Knowles, Barragan, Marine Serre, and Peet Dullaert, are a few of my favorites. I love supporting these brands because I find their designs so unique and cool in a way that is unlike any of the more mainstream designers.
What are some of your prized possessions in your wardrobe?
I have several pieces that I cherish but the first one that comes to mind is the Charlotte Olympia caged heel sandals that I wore for my 8th grade graduation. It was the first piece that made me realise how creative and fun fashion can be. I had never seen such intricate shoe before and I was so grateful that my mother bought them for me to wear on graduation day.
Another favourite would be the Saint Laurent “Jamie” pumps. Although the spelling is incorrect (my name is spelled “Jaime”), I like to think these shoes were made for me because I love everything about them. It’s a statement shoe with a spiked curve feather design embellished with Swarovski crystals—truly a piece of art. My closet is overflowing but there will always be room for these heels.
What are your top Instagram tips?
I think it’s very important to just be natural when taking photos for Instagram and allow your personality and character to shine though. You don’t want it to look forced and overly staged. I’d also avoid crazy filters and editing the pics too much.
What’s next for Jaime Xie?
I want to continue creating content and working with luxury brands that I could only dream of collaborating with when I was younger. Now that I’ve learned so much about fashion, I’d love to try my hand at designing, as well as investing in smaller start-ups where I see potential for growth. I’m also working on a sunglass line so hopefully you’ll see a glimpse into it this year.
Ahead, what you need to know about the other cast members.
Wife of celebrity plastic surgeon Dr Gabriel Chiu, Christine Chiu is a philanthropist, investor, and a fierce couture collector. She reportedly said she didn’t want celebrities’ “sloppy seconds” after spotting Jessica Chastain in a Chanel dress she was going to purchase at an Oscar event.
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Based in the US, Kane Lim is the son of a Singaporean billionaire. The entrepreneur’s Instagram gives a glimpse into his extravagant spending sprees and fabulous wardrobe—he owns a shoe collection rumoured to be worth around US$380,000. Kane launched his own business when he was 17, and says that he made his first million at the age of 20.
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A fitness instructor and model, Kevin Kreider was born in Seoul, Korea but raised in America by his adoptive parents. Growing up, Kevin struggled with his Asian identity and turned to drugs and alcohol as a means of escape; he was also homeless and in debt. He turned his life around after getting into health, fitness, and modelling.
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Touted as the ‘Asian Kim Kardashian’, DJ Kim Lee is one of the hottest names in the electronic music industry. Besides helming the decks of clubs, the French-Vietnamese hosts MTV Asia’s YO! MTV Raps.
This article was first published in Harper’s Bazaar.
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