Big Apple, big changes!
The last time viewers saw Dorothy Wang on screen, the socialite and “Bling Empire” star was packing up her life in Los Angeles for a fresh start in New York City.
TheWrap recently caught up with Wang ahead of the Jan. 20 premiere of “Bling Empire: New York,” a spin-off series that includes Wang and a new group of affluent Asian Americans in Manhattan.
Read on to get Wang’s take on New York friendliness, fashion, food and more!
How long have you been in New York now?
I moved on Jan. 15 . That’s the first day we started filming “Bling Empire, New York.” So it’s my one-year anniversary!
What was initially adjusting to New York like?
In the beginning, what surprised me was how hard everything was and how people weren’t that nice. And no one wanted to be helpful. But as I’ve settled in, I don’t care about that. Everyone is just real and genuine; no one is like, fuzzy and fluffy. Know what I mean? But I actually appreciate that it’s a very no-nonsense type of place.
And how about the weather?
I was actually surprised that my first winter here I was able to survive just in my LA clothes. I just wore sweatpants and my Montclair puffer, and that was fine. Now that I’m more of a seasoned New York vet, I’m actually wearing a beanie and layering. So I really feel I’m a New Yorker now, or I’ve succumbed to the New York winter because I’m actually getting the right accessories.
Who did you know before filming “Bling Empire: New York”?
I’ve known Tina Leung for probably five years. We share a mutual best friend Ezra. When I would go to Ezra’s birthdays or come for Fashion Week I would see her. So, Tina, I’ve known for a while and we have like a really fun relationship.
I never met Lynn Ban but I also had a lot of mutual friends with her and saw her pictures on Instagram. So I knew of her so I was excited to meet her.
I’ve known Richard [Chang] for like 15 years. But that sounds misleading because I met him 15 years ago once and nowadays with social media you feel like even though I’ve never really seen or interacted with him since, it felt like we knew each other because I would see his Instagram pop up.
Who surprised you in a positive way?
A positive surprise was Lynn, because I feel like when you see her outfits she’s obviously so fierce and put together, but she really isn’t high maintenance. She’s so chill. She’s loving, she’s warm. And she’s easy, which is was surprising to me.
A not-so-positive surprise … I remembered Richard being kind of fun. And I thought he would be this older brother or anchor that would bring everyone together. But he was just so serious all the time, or he wanted to like talk about business, like, “Oh, can you do this? Can you do that?”
That was a little disappointing because for me, this isn’t my first show. It’s not just work for me because I feel like life is too short to not enjoy the people that you’re with all the time. I wouldn’t want to do a show if I didn’t think I would enjoy it. So I wanted us to all have fun and loosen up and bond and be authentic and entertain people in like a fun way — and I think Richard just was a little resistant to that. He did have a lot on his plate, but I was like, “Ugh, can you be fun today?”
This season we see you exploring dating life. How are New York guys different than LA guys?
New York guys are a little bit more intentional. Maybe they’re just more bold. I feel like in LA, a lot of girls can get misled for a long time; they’re in the talking or dating stage for a long time and get strung along. In New York, if a relationship’s not working out, you know. No one is like being fake and stringing people along here. You can tell if a guy wants to date you or not.
What are your favorite NYC hotspots?
On a night out I like to start with dinner. Dinner sets the tone. I’m such a foodie and there are always some new restaurants to explore. So like this week, I’m going I’m gonna try Hancock Street and Kyu. Then after dinner, I call Zero Bond my watering hole. It’s like the clubhouse where we all meet. And then from there maybe we’ll go to The Nines or maybe we’ll go to Little Sister or Paul’s. That’s why it’s so fun for me to be here right now. There are so many things to explore. I also went through a phase where there were so many restaurants in Brooklyn that I wanted to try. So I went through a month where literally anyone want to get dinner with me like we had to go to Brooklyn. We were going to Brooklyn like three nights a week! It’s like a 25-minute Uber ride.
In the trailer we see you struggling with a yellow cab. Do you actually take taxis?
I generally will Uber. I’m not opposed to taxis if I see one and easy but with Uber I’m guaranteed I know what’s going to be there. I always joke that like I get nervous with taxis because I don’t deal well with rejection and I’m scared if I put my arm out and no one comes. Or they say no. It’s just too risky for me sometimes. But I’m not opposed to it if someone else hails it, I’m always ready to get in.
You mentioned “Bling Empire” is not your first show. Do you still keep in touch with anyone from “The Rich Kids of Beverly Hills”?
I still talk to Morgan [Stewart] a lot. When EJ [Johnson] is in New York, we have a lot of mutual friends, so we’ll probably end up seeing each other at dinner or something. And Jonny [Drubel], we talk on Instagram.
One of the great things about “Bling Empire” is that it weaves in Asian customs. With Chinese New Year right around the corner, how does your family celebrate?
My family isn’t super superstitious. So I ended up learning a lot of these customs later in life on my own or on social media. I was like, Mom, “Did you know that we weren’t supposed to cut her hair for two weeks?” [Laughs]
For us, Chinese New Year just means family time. Chinese New Year’s Eve is actually the big family dinner. And you’re not supposed to fight or have any unpleasantries, because it’ll carry over. We eat egg rolls which are like gold bars and long-life noodles.
And there are other little things, like you’re not supposed don’t take the trash out. Or maybe I just never took the trash out when I was young. I don’t know. [Laughs] But like, no one told me not to.
“Bling Empire: New York” is now streaming on Netflix. Check out the trailer below:
This interview was lightly edited for clarity and length.