Netflix’s breakout hit Bling Empire stars a familiar Philadelphia face.
PHOTO BY K29STYLE
When I first met Kevin Kreider (@kevin.kreider), we were both attending a swanky private party at The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia. He was a local fitness trainer and aspiring model who had grown up in Roxborough and was seriously thinking of moving to Southeast Asia for new opportunities—but that was then. Now, he’s a cast member on Netflix’s hot new reality show Bling Empire, which debuted Jan. 15. “I literally cried the first day with gratitude and joy because of all of the self-doubt, hard work and sacrifices,” Kreider says. If you haven’t already watched, the show follows Kreider along with socialite Anna Shay, DJ Kim Lee, real estate guru Kane Lim and others as they gallivant around California, Paris and even South Carolina. But there’s a lot more to the “crazy rich Asians” than just their net worth. “Just because you’re rich doesn’t mean you’re happy. They have problems too, just like us,” he explains, noting Christine Alexandra Chiu’s journey with fertility and Cherie Chan’s mourning over her mother, both of which are discussed in depth on the series. Even Kreider opens up about his struggle with acceptance as an adopted boy from South Korea—one that dives deep into his ongoing journey to find his biological parents. “I think Asian viewers want us to be strong, stoic or have it all together,” Kreider says, “and the series shows that we break down; we have these emotions, which is very important.” It’s these moments that helped the show reach No. 6 in the country and top 10 internationally within 48 hours of its debut. So what has Kreider been focusing on since filming wrapped? “I’ve been really wanting to get not just Korean adoptee stories out there but also Asian American men stories into the mainstream media,” he says, along with starting a supplement line with Lim. Of course, he also plans on visiting his hometown, where favorite spots like Barclay Prime and 1225Raw Sushi and Sake Lounge are calling his name. He says, “Philadelphia will always be home.”