Is Bling Empire real or scripted? Kevin Kreider actually gave us an answer

If you're wondering if Bling Empire is real or scripted, we finally have an answer...

Cherie in episode 6 “The Other Side” of Bling Empire: Season 1.
(Image credit: Netflix)

Bling Empire became an instant hit after dropping on Netflix. But as we watch all the glitz, glam and drama unfold, many have begged the age-old question we always have when it comes to outrageous reality TV shows—is Bling Empire real or scripted? 

If you have started watching (or in our case, binged the entire first season in one sitting and eagerly awaiting Bling Empire season 2) then you'll know that the show is all about the fabulous lives of the Asian-American elites in Los Angeles and of course, all the drama that comes along with their lavish lifestyles. But is it all real?

Is Bling Empire real or scripted? 

(L-R) Kane Lim, Jaime Xie and Kevin Kreider in episode 8 “Will You Marry Me?” of Bling Empire: Season 1.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Bling Empire is actually not scripted at all, you'll be pleased to know. Star of the show Kevin Kreider recently spoke out on the topic after much speculation from fans, telling E!: "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."

And Kevin is probably right. As we know, most reality TV shows are formed by producers who throw a group of people together and expect them to become friends, though of course, that doesn't exactly go to plan—not without plenty of trials and tribulations at least. But Bling Empire differs slightly as this cast is actually all familiar with one another. 

The rich Asian-American community in LA is small and tight-knit, as we're told in the first episode. So it doesn't come as a surprise that many of the cast members either have some sort of relationship off-camera (lIke Anna Shay and Christine Chiu who are the show's frenemies, and Kane and Kevin who seem to have a genuine friendship) or have at least come across one another in a previous social setting, which arguably adds to the authenticity of the show. Why? Well, it's a lot easier to believe the drama between the cast is real if their relationships are real. 

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Speaking of the cast in an interview with Oprah magazine, showrunner Brandon Panaligan 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 the show 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, cast member Christine Chiu opens up about her potential surrogacy, while DJ Kim Lee embarks on a journey to track down her estranged biological father.

Kevin's honest account of his upbringing and struggle with identity is another element that makes the show feel 'real'. The model shares 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. "These are real human stories—people trying to find their identity and connect with others, getting over insecurities and abandonment, finding their past and their family, and finding their place in the world." 

What do fans of Bling Empire think?

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The topic has been a conversation on Twitter and Reddit since the show premiered, 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 the show 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. He got crazy eyes too," 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 we need in a decent reality show!

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.