Say what you want about Christine Chiu, but there is no denying that the Bling Empire star is photogenic. Whether on screen in the hit reality show or in posts on her personal Instagram account, which keeps her more than 850,000 followers updated on her jet‑setting, couture‑filled lifestyle, it is clear that Chiu knows her angles.
But the seemingly always put together 39‑year‑old has a confession to make: “My agents and some publicists have told me to stop thanking the paparazzi every time they take my photograph because when I move my mouth and face so much, they’re likely to catch a bad picture,” she tells Tatler over video call from Los Angeles. “But I can’t break out of this habit, so I fall into the trap of having that weird ‘one eye open and one eye closed’ shot.”
Not that the star lets this overly affect her; the Taipei‑born entrepreneur, philanthropist and executive producer of said Netflix series, which depicts the lives and relationships of a group of ultra‑wealthy Asian Americans in Los Angeles, professes to be down to earth. “I guess I just don’t spend time thinking about recognition or fame,” she says. “Rather, I’m focused on what we can accomplish next. My eye is on the prize of utilising this platform and doing greater things.”
Buckle up, because the spotlight is set to shine even brighter on Chiu now that everyone has seen the explosive second season of Bling Empire, with even more squabbles, first world problems and, of course, eye‑catching bijoux. The chatty Chiu acknowledges that her on‑screen persona does come across “a little spicier” than she is in real life, especially in the first season. But this was deliberate—at least initially. A feud between herself and heiress Anna Shay has been a central story thread since the start and has kept viewers wanting more.
“I thought it was fun to have this ping‑pong rivalry over necklaces and seating plans. When we were filming season one, we would laugh about how silly this Dynasty‑style rivalry was playing out,” she says, referring to the 1980s prime‑time soap chronicling outrageously wealthy American families.
The frivolous skirmishes on Bling Empire serve as a Trojan Horse, allowing more important issues to be brought into the show, says Chiu, a tireless advocate for Asian representation in the media. “Growing up, I didn’t see many folks who look like myself on television or the big screen. So to be a part of that pop culture conversation and this widening of inclusivity and diversity is humbling,” she shares. “Without the breadth and depth of Asian American programming, it’s easy for Asian Americans, or Asians, to be lumped into one monolithic culture. Not that [the Bling Empire cast is] out to educate the world on Asian diversity and backgrounds, but to even shed some light on cultural nuances and traditions is gratifying.
“Many of the show’s fans, who initially came for the drama, stay on for its conversations about other hard‑hitting topics such as the challenges of parenthood. “Through this global platform, we get to tell stories that are otherwise kept quiet and to destigmatise topics such as infertility and surrogacy,” says Chiu.