Christine Chiu’s affinity for fashion is reflected in everything she does.
Whether it’s attending a show during Couture Week in Paris, a fundraising benefit in New York City or on an episode of the Netflix series “Bling Empire,” of which she is a main cast member, it’s evident that Chiu does not mind getting dressed up for any occasion.
With the anticipated second season of the reality show premiering Friday, viewers can expect more dramatic storylines unfolding as well as over-the-top haute couture outfits from the businesswoman.
“I think everyone stepped up their game. I know I did because I watched reality TV for a while and saw the opportunity to express yourself via clothing and fashion,” Chiu told WWD. “But in season two, everybody steps up — everybody. So that’s always fun to watch. Even if you watch ‘Bling Empire’ season two on mute, I think you would still have a good time just for the fashion alone.”
In one of the opening scenes, Chiu is seen in a glamorous gown arriving at the anniversary party of Mimi Morris, a philanthropist and influencer joining the show’s second season. She had just touched down in Los Angeles from fashion week and had to drive down to Orange County, Calif., in rush hour traffic to attend Morris’ gathering. She decided to wear the first thing at the top in her luggage, which happened to be an Armani Privé gown.
The dress is one of her favorites, but she wishes she had worn it for a better occasion. “I didn’t do it any justice, so I would like a redo on that,” Chiu said.
Though season two will definitely see Chiu one-up herself in terms of fashion, she also said viewers will get to see a more comfortable and casual side of her.
“I am the queen of high and low. I love my Uggs, my sneakers and my sweatshirt — be it Balenciaga — but I dress down a lot in real life,” Chiu said. “I mean, I don’t believe in fast fashion, so that’s somewhere I will draw the line because of so many reasons. So while I do support the big houses, I prefer comfort. I think in season two, people will get to see a little high and low with Christine.”
While staying at home during the pandemic, despite not having any occasions to dress up for, she still made sure to place her energy and resources in the brands that were giving back. When it comes to her sense of style, Chiu describes it as “constantly evolving.”
“I do want to be a source of storytelling. I want my clothing to have meaning,” Chiu said. “I want things I choose to wear, the brands that I choose to support, the way I put things together — I want that to mean something and to reflect something. Whether it’s a reflection of the times we’re in or a manifestation or an expression of my mood, my thoughts and my perspective.”
While it’s common for stars to work with a stylist, Chiu actually styles herself for the show, though she has worked with stylists outside the show when she feels she needs more help.
Given the amount of outfit changes and shooting required for “Bling Empire,” Chiu confesses it’s actually difficult to find a stylist to manage all the clothes, hence why she tends to style herself more often than not.
“Sometimes we do three scenes in a day and the amount of clothing is just beyond. I must have had at least 150 to 200 looks for season two, not all of which, obviously, are shown,” Chiu said.
“But compared to other reality shows, for instance, the onscreen interviews for most shows in one season, they would have [a few] interview looks,” she continued. “‘Bling Empire’ does, like, 20. There’s so many of these looks, then you multiply three looks a day times however many weeks or months — it’s impossible for a very talented stylist to even manage.”
When the show premiered in January 2021, audiences were intrigued by a reality series set in Los Angeles with an all-Asian cast, even drawing comparisons with the 2018 hit romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians.”
Though it was a big milestone in television, Chiu admits it was — and still is — difficult for her to open up because it went against everything she was taught in her upbringing.
“We’re taught to keep our dirty laundry to ourselves. We’re taught to almost keep our thoughts to ourselves,” she said. “This season, viewers will see I am put into a position where I do stand up for myself and that’s my greatest lesson from being in season two. I know it sounds so strange to the Western civilization, but it’s something that was not ingrained in me growing up.”
Outside of the show, Chiu is also co-owner and founder of Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery Inc. along with her husband Gabriel Chiu. The couple share one son, known as “Baby G” in the series.
The second season of “Bling Empire,” which premieres Friday, sees the return of Chiu along with Kane Lim, Kevin Kreider, Jaime Xie, Kelly Mi Li, Kim Lee, Anna Shay and Gabriel Chiu, while also welcoming a newcomer in Morris and a familiar face in socialite-heiress Dorothy Wang, who starred in E!’s “Rich Kids of Beverly Hills.”
“Hopefully viewers will keep an open mind because we do learn about the dangerous game of gossip, but the truth does prevail and it will come out,” Chiu said of what to expect in the upcoming season. “Just have fun with the ride.”
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