Is 'Bling Empire' real or scripted? A cast member has revealed all

If you're wondering is 'Bling Empire' real or scripted, we finally have an answer—and it might surprise you...

the case of Netflix's Bling Empire in season 3 of the show, including Christine Chiu and Kane Lim
(Image credit: Netflix)

With all the drama, feuds and awkward encounters that occurred in Bling Empire season three alone, we don't blame you for asking 'is Bling Empire real or scripted?' Like with most reality TV shows, that is the age-old question. But thanks to a certain Bling Empire cast member, we have a definitive answer when it comes to this particular, glitzy Netflix series!

With the latest instalment of Bling Empire now available on Netflix and a Bling Empire New York spin-off on the way—which will give us a look at the lives of the Asian-American elites living it up in the Big Apple—we're definitely not in short supply of drama-filled viewing.

But with all the non-stop drama between the likes of Kim Lee and Kevin Kreider, not to mention Anna Shay and Christine Chiu, it does make us think—is the drama all actually real, or is it orchestrated? Or, is there a middle ground somewhere between the two? Here's the lowdown on whether Bling Empire is real or scripted...

Bling Empire, Netflix

(Image credit: Netflix)

Is Bling Empire real or scripted? 

Despite what we've seen from all the shows like Bling Empire, the Netflix series is actually not scripted at all, you'll be pleased to know—or at least that's what the cast and creators of Bling Empire claim. 

In an interview with E! , cast member Kevin Kreider spoke out on the topic after much speculation from fans, saying: "To me, it's 100 percent [real]. I know for what I went through, that was so real.

He added: "I even talked to the producers, and I said, 'Does this happen often in reality?' They said they pray for stuff like this because it's gold. It's real."

This definitely adds up, as following Kevin and best friend, Kane Lim's almighty row in season two, they revealed they actually didn't speak to each other for months—which sounds like a pretty real fight to us!

Christine Chui however did reveal in 2021 that some situations/personalities on the show are 'played up' to an extent, in order to create a more entertaining show. On Instagram, she said, 'While it was very difficult to share such intimate stories and our personal journeys, and even more for me to play up my mischievous side for your viewing pleasure 😜🙈- the end game is absolutely worth it.'

Plus, despite the reality of the situations the Bling Empire cast go through, there is without doubt some clever editing, and a choosing of storylines, that goes into the creation of the show. But this is pretty much to be expected—as with classic reality series like Keeping Up with the Kardashians, it would be *pretty* boring to watch if the editors and producers didn't put together a neatly packaged show that connected the dots to an extent!

So if you're asking the question, is Bling Empire real, or scripted? The honest answer seems to be that it's as real as you can get in a Netflix reality show.

Are the cast of 'Bling Empire' real friends

An important part of working out whether Bling Empire is real or not, is working out whether the cast are actually friends, or whether they were strangers brought together for the show.

But in fact, in seems that in this case, the cast actually do know and like each other in real life—even prior to the show!

As we were told in the very first episode of season one, the rich Asian-American community in LA is small and tight-knit. As such, many of the cast members either have some sort of relationship off-camera, or have at least come across one another in a previous social setting. And naturally, that adds to the authenticity of the show. 

Speaking of the cast in an interview with Oprah magazine, showrunner Brandon Panaligan explained that the gang were all already familiar with one another before filming ever began.

He said, "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."

While Bling Empire does include the typical reality TV elements we often see in shows like The Real Housewives franchise—such as catty drama at fancy events, gossipy hearsay, and bickering among the cast—some viewers have praised it for tapping into more touching storylines. For example, in season one, cast member Christine Chiu opened up about her potential surrogacy, while DJ Kim Lee embarked on a journey to track down her estranged biological father.

Kevin Kreider's honest account of his upbringing and struggle with identity is another element that made the show feel 'real'. The model shared his background on the show, explaining that he is of Korean descent but doesn't know much about the Asian community and culture, as he was adopted and raised by white parents in Pennsylvania. 

"I really hope people give this show a chance and look beyond the fancy stuff, the bling because underneath all of that are real Asian-American stories. It's not just about making money and spending it," Kreider told Newsweek when season one dropped.

Season two is set to dive even deeper into the personal lives of the cast, according to Panaligan. "There are so many layers to all of them. So the second season, I’d expect to see more parts of their lives that we didn’t see before, meet more of their friends, meet more of their family and just kind of broaden it out so we can know them a lot more," he said in an interview with Yong Chavez on YouTube. 

What do fans of Bling Empire think?

Following the premiere of the very first season, the question of 'Is Bling Empire real or scripted' made the rounds on Twitter and Reddit, with many struggling to wrap their hands around the fact that people actually live with the level of luxury we're shown on the show. 

"Is Bling Empire real or is it a mockumentary like The Office? It has mockumentary vibes," one viewer tweeted. Meanwhile, another wrote: "People are this rich like rich rich? how are you getting money from everything Anna? Also all that jewellery is real? !#BlingEmpire". 

On the other hand, despite the show creators and cast insisting that everything is real, some viewers simply weren't convinced after watching. "On my first episode of Bling Empire and it feels painfully scripted," someone tweeted

Similarly, another viewer tweeted, referencing Kelly and Andrew's troubled relationship: "Has anyone watch Bling Empire on Netflix? It has to be scripted, cause that Red Power Ranger Guy has to be acting. He hella manipulative." and plenty others agreed.

But whether it is scripted or not, one thing is for sure: it's incredibly entertaining and super binge-worthy—which are the two key elements for a great reality show. Pretty please, give us a Bling Empire season four, Netflix!

You can stream Bling Empire and shows like it, including Dubai Bling, on Netflix now.

Sagal Mohammed

Sagal is a journalist, specialising in lifestyle, pop culture, fashion and beauty.  She has written for a number of publications including Vogue, Glamour, Stylist, Evening Standard, Bustle, You Magazine, Dazed and Wonderland to name a few. 

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