This article was first published on 21 January 2021.
Netflix is on a roll. Period drama Bridgerton immediately became a fan-favourite and reality TV series Bling Empire also caught the viewers’ obsession as quickly as it was aired. While both share the theme of affluence, Bling Empire’s focus is on real-life, Los Angeles-based ‘crazy rich Asians’. They’re a lot louder, flashier, and — you guessed it — dramatic.
Don’t let the excessiveness fool you though. Bling Empire is still worth watching even if you’re not a reality TV fan (like me). It doesn’t feel like any 2010s reality TV show that zooms in only on catty fights and cheating boyfriends. Every character also has a distinct personality and background. They also represent various Asian-American roots — Singapore, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and more.
There’s your reality TV staple ‘problematic couple’ with Kelly Mi Li and Andrew Gray; your petty but still actually misunderstood fashion mum Christine Chiu; everyone’s favourite BFF Kane Lim; the ‘outsider’ friend Kevin Greider; and crowd favourite queen, Anna Shay who, sadly, was reported to have passed away at age 62 on 6 June (SGT).
Renowned DJ Kim Lee, celebrity hairstylist and influencer Guy Tang, fashion influencer Jamie Xie (who is the youngest of the group at 22 years old), and heiress Cherie Chan round out the Bling Empire bunch.
While their lives may not be relatable — we mean floor-wide walk-in closets, luxury brands shopping spree at home, and well, your family owning almost all the buildings in a city or country — there are nuggets of wisdom you can get from the show. And sure, the show has been cancelled after three seasons (boo!), but that doesn't stop us from imbibing these iconic quotes from the Bling Empire.
“There ain’t no dick that good.”
We’re sure you’ll immediately fall in love with Anna when you watch the pilot episode. The epitome of no-nonsense class and elegance, Anna is not only fashionable and #ladyboss goals but she’s also one of the biggest voices of reason on the show. She was the main witness in one of Kelly and Andrew’s most problematic arguments — where Andrew was on the oppressing side yet again — and as a friend, she took no time in telling Kelly that no man is worth stooping that low for. Amen, Anna.
“We’re all Asian, we don’t fight.”
We won’t spoil what happened in the series that made Kane say this but it sums up the show quite well. Unlike other reality TV shows where there’s shouting and backstabbing in almost every episode, Bling Empire actually shows the characters discussing their issues straightforwardly to prevent more drama (at least drama related to a recurring issue) between two or more parties. The confrontations, especially whenever Anna is involved, are reasonable and mature — something we could take inspiration from for our conflicts IRL.
“This year, I understand how important it is to have good friends.”
Despite being an heiress to an ‘undisclosed denim company’ and a former Japanese pop idol in the making, Cherie is undeniably one of the sweetest and most grounded characters on the show. Her ‘untraditional’ setup with long-time boyfriend Jessey Lee (they have two kids but are still unmarried nor engaged) is often a cause of concern for her friends, not because of judgement but because they ultimately want what’s best for her.
Socialite stereotypes propagated by shows like Gossip Girl made us think that friendships amongst the one per cent are often inauthentic and superficial, but Cherie’s sweet statement reminds us that they’re also human in need of genuine connections. For us, it’s a great reminder to cherish the deep connections we’ve made as well.
“Me and my couture are leaving.”
“I can’t pretend everything’s OK.”
One of the most interesting characters from the bunch is Kevin, who, despite being the not-so-rich friend among the bunch (his net worth is USD19 million, but you get what we mean), was never treated like he was lesser than the rest of the group — at least from what we see on the show.
Despite not being the sharpest tool in the shed on some occasions, he makes up for it by being authentic and kind. He balances out his friends’ tendencies to be stuck-up. The way he’s never afraid to clash with his friends when he knows they’re doing something wrong or insensitive is also quite refreshing — something we could channel in our own relationships.
“You’re not my competition. You’ll never be my competition.”
Say what you will about Christine but she knows exactly what she wants and how she wants things done. What made her say this statement didn’t exactly result in the best scenario (again, no spoilers), but this confident mindset is something we could all aspire to have. If you’re having a bad day filled with thoughts of insecurity, self-doubt, and envy, may Christine’s wise words remind you that you are your own queen and you have something incomparable to others.
Ready to bring these Bling Empire quotes in your real-life conversations? We sure are.
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