Everything you need to know about 'Bling Empire's matriarch, Anna Shay

We've missed our life guru Anna Shay, but now she's back and delivering more pearls of wisdom...

Bling Empire. Anna Shay in episode 102 of Bling Empire/ in a blue and pink background
(Image credit: COURTESY OF NETFLIX)

Bling Empire is back and with it, the shows Queen herself, Anna Shay—who is bringing all the wisdom and some of the drama too. Bling Empire season three has given us more insight into the matriarch's life and finally saw her mend things with Kim Lee after that penis pump fiasco. So while we watch her be as iconic as ever—what else do we know about the multi-millionaire Netflix star?

For those who don't know, the show follows a group of seriously rich Asian-Americans in LA, including Anna Shay—who tries to guide and nurture the younger cast members. Though she herself doesn't always manage to avoid the drama, like when she brought Andrew as her plus-one to Guy's anniversary party, not to mention the whole never-ending saga with Christine Chiu. That being said, she's still the one who gave us the iconic 'there ain't no d*** that good' line,  which will never not ring true. 

So, now that the third installment is finally here (after an agonizing wait that meant we had to binge-watch nearly every show like Bling Empire)—here's what to know about the fabulous (and previously very private) Anna Shay...

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How old is Anna Shay?

Anna Shay is 61 years old, soon to be 62. She was reportedly born in 1960 and celebrated her 60th birthday on December 31, 2020. 

Considering all other cast members—including Kelly Mi Li, Kevin Kreider and Kim Lee—are all a lot younger, it's no wonder Anna is the one they go to when they need advice. Well, maybe not Christine...

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Who was Anna Shay's dad?

Anna is the daughter of late American billionaire businessman Edward Shay and Japanese-Russian mother Ai Oizumi Shay.

Edward Shay was the founder of Pacific Architects and Engineers (PAE), a defense contractor that worked with the United Nations and the U.S. government. He died in 1995. 

In an interview with O, The Oprah Magazine (opens in new tab), Anna said her parents are her heroes: “My father, mother, and son. My parents are my heroes because they have taught me values, morals, honor, respect, loyalty, and principles. These things are rare qualities today."

What is Anna Shay's net worth and where does her money come from?

Anna Shay’s net worth is reported to be approximated at $600 million, making her one of the richest cast members on Bling Empire. But considering how she's one of the main stars of Netflix's hit reality show—which now has a Bling Empire New York spin-off on the way, we're certain that mind-boggling number has gone up. 

The Shay family's money has been linked to some of the 'ugliest aspects' of the Vietnam War. According to NBC (opens in new tab), which cited research published by the University of Texas at Dallas, the CIA hired Anna's father's company to build interrogation facilities in South Vietnam in 1964. 

Kimberly Kay Hoang, director of global studies at the University of Chicago, told NBC: "How do we forget this history? And why do we not think about the source of funds? Somehow she can be in Beverly Hills and be living the good life, and no one raises questions about where that money came from."

Who is Anna Shay's son, Kenny Kemp?

Anna Shay's son is 29-year-old Kenny Kemp. While there's not much known about him, Kenny is the proud owner of a "collection of bongs worth half a million dollars," reports Buzzfeed News (opens in new tab).  

Anna also mentioned her son in an interview with Oprahmag.com (opens in new tab), saying his friends are always asking her advice. 

"I need to grow up a little bit", she said, referring to her fellow Bling Empire cast members. "Sometimes I think the other cast members are too serious. And I think the way that we grew up is very different. I had to put them in check. I'm not here to raise them. I'm here to make sure they're OK. My son [Kenny Kemp] is 27. His friends are always over, asking me for advice. I've always been around kids as my mother was with me."

Who are Anna Shay's ex-husbands?

Anna has been married and divorced four times, all of which she says were amicable breakups. However, she has not made any of the names of her ex-husbands known to the media, valuing her privacy. 

Though she did hint in season three that she was open to the idea of finding a husband number five...

What is Anna Shay's ethnic background?

Anna Shay is Japanese, Russian, and American. Her mother, Ai Oizumi Shay, was part Japanese and part Russian, while her father, Edward Shay, was a white American from the South Side of Chicago.

What does Anna Shay do for a living?

In 2006, Anna and her younger brother Allen sold their father's business for $1.2 billion. While he was alive, her father never wanted her to work but despite this, she has done a lot of philanthropy. She previously served as a board member for the George Lopez Foundation (opens in new tab), which raises awareness about kidney disease and organ donation. She has also worked for the Shay Foundation, a program focusing on education, arts, performing arts, and music, which was founded by her late parents. 

She, of course, is now also a reality TV star thanks to the show. However, it isn't something she ever imagined for herself. "Did I expect the show to be successful? No," she told People. "I wasn't even expecting to be in front of the camera. I'm very shy and I went along with whatever situation was happening. I was just being me. I think the success of the show has a lot to do with how Netflix, Jeff Jenkins and his production company handled things. It's really thanks to them."

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Anna Shay and Kevin Kreider's relationship

Some fans of the show might have become confused by how close these two seemed to be following season one. After all, who can forget Anna casually changing in front of everyone (including Kev) during the shopping session at her house? But if you thought there was something romantic going on or that Anna could be trying to buy Kevin's friendship or loyalty, fear not—this is classic Anna Shay. 

Money is clearly no object for our TV hero and it seems that Anna simply likes to see her loved ones happy— that included buying Kevin some stylish new clothes (remember how priceless his reaction was?). If you need more proof, just know that Anna didn't even realize she had been paid for the Netflix show and only went to collect the checks when someone told her she had to. She saved the money to have a party with the crew, eventually. So sweet! 

As for her other castmates, Anna is also close with Kane and Chèrie. "Kane, Chèrie, and Chèrie's daughter, J'adore," she told People when asked who she had formed real friendships with. "I didn't know them before the show." This might get awkward now Chèrie seemingly had a bit of drama with the cast of the show and is likely gone from the show for good but we bet they will remain close in private. Maybe Anna will mention her in season three of Bling Empire?

Anna Shay in her younger days

Anna has shared a few throwback pictures of herself on Instagram when she was younger, including this one below...ooh la la!  

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Oh, and these days, she's a redhead, having switched up her hair color to this fiery new shade of burgundy. We love it and it seems to be here to stay as she still had her vibrant tresses throughout season three, though we did also get to see her as a blonde too. 

Perhaps she'll try another hair look for Bling Empire season four? Well, if there is another season that is...

Mariana is Editor of My Imperfect Life. She has previously worked for titles including woman&home and Goodto, covering all aspects of women’s lifestyle — from beauty and fashion to wellness and travel. She was nominated for AOP Digital Journalist of the Year in 2020, and for New Digital Talent of the Year at the 2016 PPA Digital Awards. She’s mildly obsessed with reality TV (Love Island memes included) and spends far too much time checking her horoscope and figuring out the perfect curly hair routine.

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