Anna Shay is standing in her walk-in closet with a sledgehammer.

In an off-the-shoulder evening dress, she pounds holes in the walls of the room and pounds on wooden beams.

Her friend, also in an evening dress, asks whether she would rather leave that to a craftsman.

“No,” says Shay, “you can't rely on them.” With this scene, Shay is introduced to “Bling Empire” on Netflix: as an eccentric but also quite entertaining heiress and super-rich.

The reality show shows excerpts from her everyday life and that of her equally rich friends.

This may sound like another offshoot of the "The Real Housewifes of ..." series, which is now popular even in Germany, but is dedicated to a group of millionaires and billionaires that have hardly been the focus of reality television until now: the "Asian- Americans ”, Americans with Asian roots.

The lavish lifestyle of rich Asians attracted public interest with Kevin Kwan's bestselling novel “Crazy Rich Asians” and the film of the same name in 2018.

US critics agree that “Bling Empire” now proves that reality is not particularly far removed from fiction.


And what does this reality look like?

The show was shot from the beginning of 2019, before Corona, so there are still all kinds of social events and open luxury boutiques.

Anna Shay, for example, apparently spends most of her days shopping; the Dior salespeople even come to her home with clothes rails so that she doesn't have to move to the store.

Her friend Kelly Mi Li used to spend an average of $ 400,000 a day, but she was married to her husband, who has since been convicted of online scams.

And Christine Chiu has the entire Rodeo Drive cordoned off for a Chinese New Year party - or is thinking of buying a motorcycle so that she can get to her private plane faster in the event of a disaster.

With “Bling Empire”, which we got the cumbersome title “The brick empire”, these excesses, which are already well known from other formats about the wealthy, are not left uncommented.

Kevin Kreider, who is part of the clique, but not rich, takes care of that.

Kreider is a model, which then fits into the cliché in these circles, but here he primarily acts as a kind of translator between the worlds.

No, he explains to his friends at the private pool, for example, that it's not normal to spend $ 19,000 on a month's rent - after all, he only pays $ 1,000 for his room in a shared apartment.

Kevin Kreider, the normal at "Bling Empire", looks on in disbelief at a photo shoot for Christine Chius' son

Source: Netflix

In addition to Kreider's stunned looks when it comes to sneakers for several hundred dollars, it is above all the private dramas that encourage people to take away the eight episodes so far.

The biggest and also funniest quarrel takes place between Anna Shay and Christine Chiu, who fight in fairly transparent maneuvers for the position of the most popular socialite.

One annoys the other by buying the same Haute Joaillerie chain, but is promptly banished to the "unimportant guests" at dinner at the end of the table.

Exactly such absurd squabbles have already made formats about real estate brokers (“Selling Sunset”) or pregnant women (“Yummy Mummies”) a streaming hit.


It should be similar with “Bling Empire”.

Also because the show can pull in another drama level: the clash between the revealing life in Los Angeles and the Asian traditions.

For Anna Shay, for example, showing herself topless in front of the camera while changing clothes is no problem, but Christine Chiu must first ask her in-laws for permission by video message if she wants to have a child with the help of a surrogate mother.

Incidentally, many of the show's protagonists are not even on the radar of gossip magazines and celebrity websites in the United States.

Anna Shay lived a rather withdrawn life for many years.

Her father, who died in 1995, got rich with an armaments company, she has a grown son and several divorces - not much more is known about her.

That should change once and for all.

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