CONVERSATION STARTER
Lifestyle Asia|Volume 3 - 2021
Bling Empire’s KELLY MI LI on #StopAsianHate, representation, and why it’s okay not to be okay
MICA TORRES CRUZ
At 10 years old, Kelly Mi Li moved with her mother from Kunming, China to the US for better opportunities. Without a set goal for her new life, she knew that following her intuition would lead her to fulfillment. As one of the producers and cast members of Netflix’s Bling Empire, she shares how the show was conceptualized as well as the importance of the Stop Asian Hate movement and her advocacy on mental health.

CONNECTING WITH AUDIENCES

Kelly Mi Li was reading Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians when she recognized the book’s fictional characters were similar to her actual friends. This moment provided the spark for Bling Empire, and together with Keeping Up With The Kardashians producer JeffJenkins, they developed the series. It was picked up by Netflix instantly, and when it premiered in January this year, it brought the first Asian-American cast to a reality television format.

The show revolves around the lives of the affluent Asians of Los Angeles. Most of its cast were born into wealth, and even a descendant of the imperial Song dynasty was in the ensemble.

In contrast, Mi Li is a self-made entrepreneur who delves into the film, technology, and finance industries. “When it comes to work, I’m always open to different opportunities and challenges. I believe that sometimes you have to go through a lot of different paths to find your true passion,” she shares. Willingness to diversify undertakings led the film producer to be in front of cameras instead of her usual role behind the scenes.

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