Dorothy Wang on Moving to New York, the Importance of Travel, and NYFW

Dorothy Wang is reality TV’s newest golden girl. An industry vet, she got her start on E!’s Rich Kids of Beverly Hills before appearing on a few episodes of Netflix’s Bling Empire. Now, after a move across the country, she’s starring in its New York spinoff. Here the reality star reveals why she almost turned Bling Empire down, what caught her eye at NYFW, and her current not-so-guilty pleasure.

For anyone who hasn’t seen Bling Empire: New York, how would you describe the show?

Bling Empire: New York is very fast-paced, it’s fun, it’s edgy. What I like about the people here is that, similar to New York as a city, everyone is very real, genuine, and more authentic. And I feel like I would describe the show the same way.”

Why did you decide to move?

“Well before Covid, I was travelling all over, [going] to events and this and that. My life felt so full. But during Covid, when I couldn’t travel anymore and there were no events, I was kind of like ‘Dorothy, you’re a loser, why haven’t you lived anywhere else!’ [Laughs] I was just realizing there was so much more to experience. So I told myself that when I’m able to, I was going to move—at first I thought I was going to move to London. I just wanted to start over, start a new life and meet different people. But London ended up being just a little bit too far, and I don’t actually know anyone there—so it might be a little bit too much of a fresh start! So then I decided on New York.”

And how did the show take the news?

“So I had already planned to move. Then a couple months went by and they asked me to do Bling Empire: LA and I told them ‘I’m so sorry I can’t.’ And one of the reasons was because I [was] moving. Then they told me they were building a franchise there, and they were happy for me to be involved. So that became very interesting to me. It sounded fun! Because it was going to be this big change for me and I thought it would be fun to document it.”

Were you nervous at all?

“I knew I was going to like New York, and it really didn’t seem like that big of a deal for me at the time. But now looking back on it I had always lived in LA, I was such an LA girl. So it was actually a pretty big move!”

Bling Empire is one of the first reality shows with an all-Asian cast. What does it mean to you to have such diversity represented?

“It really makes me so happy. I’m honoured to be able to be a part of a project like this. I think a couple years ago, no one would ever imagine that there would be an all-Asian reality show that people would enjoy and connect with. And love us or hate us—we know we aren’t everyone’s cup of tea—but at least the representation is there. People can tune in and build a familiarity with our culture, which we try to infuse as much as we can, without being over the top. And that’s how I’ve always felt. Yes, I am Asian and I’m very proud of my heritage and I always have been. But I remember in elementary school in kindergarten, I always got pulled out of nap time because the school wanted me and my sister to be in all of their brochures and photos to show that they were diverse. So I feel like I’ve always been somewhat of that representation—obviously it’s on a bigger, more public scale now. But all in all, I’m just really happy that this kind of show exists because definitely even a couple years ago, no one could fathom.”

Travel is a huge part of your life, you even have a website dedicated to planning trips and giving recommendations. Where did that love for travel come from?

“My family and I always travelled a lot. We would go on trips or if my dad had a business meeting in like, Australia, it would be a family trip and we’d all go! So my sister and I joke that we’ve been trained by our family to be good travellers, and to really immerse ourselves in the culture and find the gems.

And then as [I] got older, I had a lot of friends who were booking their own trips or planning summers. So they would message me kind of like a secret, asking like ‘Oh can you send me your travel guide? Where did you go for this, or for that?’ They would always ask me. So I just ended up writing it out and sending it. Then people on Instagram started asking me too, so I thought maybe I would just put it on a website and make a guide so people can easily see and plan things. I do think that having a niche travel guide that is interested in the same things as you, and in your demo is really important.”

And someone who’s been there too.

“Ya exactly! And I make them very simple. Maybe top 10 restaurants, top 3 hotels and a couple of interesting places to go. I also think that when you travel more frequently, especially at a younger age, you do become more tolerant of different races and cultures. I feel like some of the people I know who are the most closed-minded or ignorant are the ones who haven’t travelled much. And when you do travel, you learn to build familiarity with different cultures and different types of people.”

Where would you first recommend people go or visit?

“Tokyo! I’m just going to say Tokyo! Or really anywhere in Japan is so special because they’ve remained so traditional. And everything is so clean and so delicious. I don’t even know how, but even their hot food at like 7-Eleven tastes world-class. I haven’t met one person who has gone to Tokyo and hasn’t fallen in love with the city.”

Did you attend any NYFW shows? What designers and collections caught your eye?

“Ya! I went to Prabal Gurung’s show the other night. It was spectacular! He’s kind of transitioned into more of a sexy, dark, edgy but still elegant vibe. So that was really nice and really cool. I also went to Jason Wu and he always has such beautiful, chic, almost minimalist but still detailed and interesting looks.”

What piece usually catches your attention in a collection? Is it the dresses, a set?

“Well I always like everything! [Laughs] But if I can, I always like to wear a skirt. I love a skirt with a blouse tucked in, or a skirt and a blazer or something like that. Right now, I’m really into jackets, blazers, and coats because living in LA my whole life, I’ve been deprived! I could never wear anything, and now it’s not just for warmth, it’s a look.”

But also because of the weather.

“Yes!! I recently went to get a bunch of HEATTECH from Uniqlo. A lot of those HEATTECH turtlenecks and tops, those really help!”

What is one thing you’re really enjoying right now?

“I really love just walking around, having a day with my friends. We start with a workout then walk around and see where the day takes us. Get a smoothie, get a coffee, have lunch and just kind of pal around. I love discovering different parts of the city.

[Also] I just discovered Juice Press which maybe is the most random and basic thing, but I am that girl that loves the Juice Press Blue Magic smoothie. [Since] I first tried it, I’ve had one every two days!”

And what kind of workouts are you doing these days?

“Oh! I’ve been really into lifting right now! Which is a bit weird for me because I used to always be such a cardio queen, or doing high intensity but now I’ve committed more to doing strength training two or three times a week. That’s been helping me build more muscle and lean me out, and it’s so much better than just pounding on a treadmill.”

Photos courtesy of Josh Ryan.