After Bling Empire — a show which features wealthy Asians and Asian-Americans showing off the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles — premiered on Netflix in 2021, Dorothy Wang instantly became a fan-favorite. So it was no surprise when she said she was moving to New York, the cameras followed.
“We started filming the day I moved and the day I landed on the East Coast. The series features my friends, including Tina Leung and Richard Chang. It’s just a fun group running around the city,” the 34-year-old exclusively tells GRAZIA USA of Bling Empire: New York, which premieres on Friday, January 20, on Netflix. “New York is more fast-paced, everyone is more opinionated but also more open. It’s a lot of fun.”
Since the brunette beauty was raised in Los Angeles, Calif., she was ready for something new. When she was asked to appear again on Bling Empire, she was hesitant because it didn’t feel authentic to her. “I was going through some health stuff, and I wasn’t feeling my best,” she recalls. “I kept saying, ‘Everyone has seen me run around L.A. with my friends. Doesn’t it feel redundant?’ They were like, ‘We’re building a franchise in New York. We can build it around you, you can introduce your real friends,’ and that suddenly became really interesting to me. It was a new story for me to tell and a new adventure for me to go on with the viewers.”
Fortunately, the billionaire heiress, who first captivated audiences on the E! series Rich Kids of Beverly Hills, always had good friends in the Big Apple, so it wasn’t hard for her to find her people.
“It’s vibrant and funny and everyone is kind of a bigger character and has their own persona,” she notes. “It’s a cool, different vibe. In the beginning of the season, I’m still an L.A. girl. I’m wearing all my light colors and little dresses because I don’t want to wear a coat or jacket or beanie! It took me a bit to adjust to my surroundings. Part of the reason why I moved to New York was that I wanted to shake up my life. I feel like my life in L.A. was so perfect and comfortable that it got too boring for me. I needed a challenge.”
“When big things happen in my life, it should be documented,” she reasons. “I like doing different things and sharing. Even if you love or hate the series, there’s visibility for Asian Americans on TV. To be able to do our thing tell different stories is amazing. It’s nice that we get to share our lives with everyone.”
Growing up, Wang remembers seeing Kimora Lee Simmons on the small screen. “I was like, ‘She’s bold and loud and confident.’ When I saw her on Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane, I was taken aback — it was the first time someone looked like me. I almost aspired to be like her, as she was a strong and fierce woman on TV. I would love to be that for someone.”
When the reality star receives touching messages from others saying how they look up to her or love the show, she gets emotional. “I get caught up in the daily shuffle of life and I don’t always realize the impact I’ve had on people’s lives,” she says. “I’m like, ‘It’s all worth it.'”
Though there’s typically drama when filming a reality show, Wang knew once she signed onto Rich Kids of Beverly Hills that sharing her life with others would have its ups and downs. “I know once you sign up to do a show, your life becomes busier,” she shares. “I would have a camera follow me around all the time if I could. I love to share and I live my life very openly. Sometimes my friends are like, ‘Hello? Can you give me a heads up?’ We always joke, ‘Dorothy, the off-button is on.’ I may get nervous about how the show is edited, but I never regret telling a story or sharing something on camera. I also get to do all these fun things when I film — and I have a platform.”
“I do kind of get affected by situations,” she adds. “I always overthink. It is a hard balance when you’re doing a reality show because you’re not playing a character. It’s your livelihood.
After appearing in Rich Kids, Wang felt like she needed a break to figure out what she wanted to do next, but now she feels like she’s on the right path. “I enjoy filming and telling stories,” she says. “I feels authentic to me. I love New York. I’m having so much exploring and going to all these different restaurants and clubs and hanging out with my friends off-camera. It’s a whole new playground for me, and I am meeting different people. I felt very stagnant in L.A. and here everything is so exciting to me still.”
“I’m in a really good place, and I think it has to do with moving and being surrounded by the right type of people. On Rich Kids, I was on TV crying about a breakup. I survived it and lived through it. I’ve healed, grown up and now can only be positive and hope for the best. Don’t take yourself too seriously.”
Going forward, Wang still has a lot left to achieve. “I’m kind of a late adapter,” she confesses. “I’m always a late bloomer in certain ways. My dad told me, ‘I didn’t start my business until I was 40. You have time, don’t worry.’ I would love to do something food related because I love food and healthy alternatives. I’d love to work on something like that soon.”
She concludes, “I feel very happy in my life right now. I’m very content. I feel very thankful and grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to move to a completely new place and get to live this different live and kind of start over and grow and change and evolve.”
Bling Empire: New York premieres on Netflix on January 20.