I was riding the subway the first time I saw an advertisement for the Bravo reality television show, “Rich Kids of Beverly Hills.” With an initial glance of the silky-haired, perfectly-contoured star of the show, Dorothy Wang, it was easy to formulate a preconceived notion about who she might be.
Sure, Dorothy has inherited a net worth of 10 million dollars before the age of 26, but did you know she was named the youngest Goodwill Ambassador of the Nanjing Charity League by the age of 12? Or that she donates proceeds of her closet sales to UNICEF? Dorothy Wang is a woman full of surprises, but the biggest one surprise of all is how truly down to earth and humble this so called ‘rich kid’ really is.
Upon first “hello” I instantly felt comfortable around Dorothy. She has this warmth and amiable nature about her that is apparent every time she speaks. With a broad vocabulary and a her love of Internet slang and hashtags, it’s easy to fall in love with her charming personality. Making up words like ‘fabuluxe’ because ‘fabulous was oversaturated,’ mixing high and low fashions and even using very simple drugstore skin care products, its obvious that Dorothy is just like us. And for her first business venture, she set out to create a product that is both easy to like and afford, because just like us, she saves where she can.
“I developed a necklace line last year, all the necklaces have to do with social media and things that I hashtag, I kind of speak in hashtags.” Explaining that she wanted to come out with something that everyone could enjoy with a reasonable price point of $28 – $32, “I feel like with the show, we’re a little bit over the top, we like nice things, but at the end of the day, I don’t always wear really expensive things. I don’t only wear name brand and I don’t want people to think the only thing I think is cool are name brands, I wanted to come out with something that is fun and affordable.”
The fun costume jewelry line was created to help Dorothy and her fans express how they’re feeling that day, “one day you might be feeling #fabuluxe, one day you might be feeling #rich, you might feel #naughty.” But she isn’t just stopping at hashtags, she’s building her next line to create affordable everyday pieces, for the girl who might not want to wear a hashtag every day.
What I admire most about Dorothy is how self-actualized she is. She never pretends that she hasn’t gotten help from her parents, or that she was begged to go on the show. She was very open and honest about the process that went into the show, and the true nature of reality television. She explained to me that the shows producers contacted her via Instagram, “I didn’t need much convincing because I wanted to do the TV show.” She explains that the process went very quickly and unlike many other reality television shows, they casted her real group of friends, “we’re a real group of friends and there was no casting process, we’ve all known each other, and we all went in as a group.” And that the show edits out all the behind the scene work she does, “I think the show is a naturally heightened experience of our lives, it needs to be entertaining for people, like when I’m sitting at home packaging my necklaces and going to the post office that’s not entertaining television for anyone to watch.”
When asked about the prospect of opening her life to the world, she was fearless, “I’ve always lived very openly, I’ve always been comfortable in front of the cameras,” she credits this mindset to her very open and honest life “I don’t really have anything to hide, I don’t really lie.” It doesn’t hurt that she actually enjoys sharing everything with social media anyway, “I love sharing my life and telling everyone what’s going on with it, so with me, it is really natural” although she did admit to me that it sounds much cooler to say that you were “convinced” to join the show.
She spoke candidly about participating on this show as an Asian American woman, “I’m going to be honest and say whether people like me or hate my personality, I think they are just happy to see someone that looks like them on TV.” She was quick to explain however that she would not consider herself a representation of Chinese culture, “I am who I am, I am Chinese, I’m proud and I love being Chinese, but I don’t want to say I’m a representation of the Chinese American woman.”
She also had a lot to say about the criticism of the show, “I’ve always said that everyone has a story to tell, no matter what background you’re from, and I think it’s unfair for people to judge us and say that we shouldn’t be on the show because of our parents,” She argues this because the show depicts the kids trying to make a living for themselves and trying to not rely on their parents anymore. Although she did admit the title may be a little intense, “the title is a little bit jarring, ‘Rich Kids of Beverly Hills’ sounds like we’re trying to brag, or that we’re really snootie, but when people start watching the show then they kind of realize that we’re more down to earth than they think, or expected.”
I was honest with Dorothy when I explained to her that she genuinely surprised me with how honest and humble she is, she replied “I kind of let people down sometimes I think, people want me to be a diva and have all these stories and then when they meet me, they are just like ‘oh you’re not that ridiculous’, it’s refreshing but at the same time they are a little bit disappointed.”
Taking this show as a platform, Dorothy has turned her lifestyle and personality into a career, with a successful necklace line, a champagne line in the works, she’s even gotten a gig being a fashion director for the app, and she is just getting started. With a heart of gold, and a genuine love for social media and her fans Dorothy Wang is unstoppable.
By Caelan Hughes
Jacket: Cheap Monday // Jewelry: Moonspell Rising
Dress: Kerol D // Jewelry: Moonspell Rising
Poncho: Haute Hippie // Belt: Haute Hippie // Shoes: Saint Laurent // Jewelry: Moonspell Rising
Photography by Naomi Christie
Wardrobe stylist: Ashley Stenberg
Hair stylist: Jenn Blanchard
Makeup artist: Alexis Ellen
Asistant: Serge Karpenko