“Bling Empire” star Leah Qin disclosed that she did not earn a single penny for her time on the Netflix reality show, revealing startling insights into the financial dynamics behind the glitzy series.
“I did not get paid. Not a penny. Zero,” she was quoted saying.
According to Qin, she and her fellow cast members had to dig deep into their own pockets to cover expenses, including hair and makeup, wardrobes and parties. She personally incurred expenditures reaching “six figures” during the production.
No upfront pay: Qin’s predicament stemmed from a rush to commence filming, leaving her with an “appearance release” from Jeff Jenkins Productions, a document she was unable to renegotiate before shooting.
She recounted: “They gave me an appearance release and then my lawyer is like, ‘Hmm, let’s, let’s talk about this,’ and they said, ‘Let’s just film first and then we will deal with it later’… They implied my contract will be revisited later.”
Part of a bigger problem: Qin’s revelation comes a month after fellow cast member Kevin Kreider told the Daily Mail that for his appearances in all three seasons of the show, he was paid less than a UPS driver.
“UPS workers were paid more than I was, and they have benefits,” the 40-year-old actor was quoted saying. “That’s how little we got paid.”
Qin shared in a June interview that its cancellation could be attributed to several factors, but that it was mainly due to the prevalence of “fake, made-up drama” and the perpetuation of Asian stereotypes. In her view, the series failed to represent the true stories of Asian Americans, focusing more on glamour than authenticity.
Future plans: Qin is now shifting her focus towards a new reality show centered on self-made entrepreneurs. Qin said the upcoming project, currently on hold due to industry strikes, is “going to be inspiring for the audience.”