The Bachelorette is a dating reality show that has notoriously been exclusionary to Asian men. In fact for most of its entire run, it’s basically had zero Asian male representation. Because this was so widely known, several top Asian male YouTubers made a parody video calling out the lack of Asian men.
But after the release of the hit movie Crazy Rich Asians in 2018, Asians have been on a spectacular tear – from winning the Oscars (Parasite), to charting the billboards (BTS / Black Pink), to releasing numerous TV shows (Fresh of the Boat, Kim’s Convenience), to getting our own Black Panther (Shang-Chi).
With the release of Bling Empire in 2021, things have come full circle. We now have a good looking Asian male lead in a reality show where he’s one of the most relatable characters.
Meet Kevin Kreider.
“They specifically chose me because they wanted straight Asian male eye-candy, even though I didn’t fit in with the rest of the extremely wealthy cast.”– Kevin Kreider tells me during a call
What a world we live in, where producers actually care about Asian male representation.
Kevin Kreider, who has been discussed on Amped Asia previously, is one of the guys who’s talking the talk and walking the walk. He’s taken up Asian masculinity as his cause, and he’s been extremely successful.
After struggling for years in the modeling world, Kreider discussed his experiences as an Asian male in a racist world in-depth on platforms like TedX, Huffington Post, and The Ugly Model (a documentary just about him).
That led him to make a name for himself, a name which caught the eye of Kelly Mi Li, his producer, co-star, and love interest on Bling Empire.
The reality right now is that being Asian is finally cool for the mainstream (Asians have always been cool in our own circles), and for networks like Netflix, financially lucrative. After years of avoiding minority stories, companies now realize that discussing and talking about Asian stories is profitable. Netflix is completely dominating this space, bringing in content from Korea (like the Black Pink documentary and numerous K-dramas) to reality shows like Bling Empire and movies like Always Be My Maybe.
And while the world has definitely gotten more progressive, the reality is that none of this wouldn’t have been possible if Asian stories weren’t profitable. Asian Americans are more vocal, more active, and more desiring of Asian content. As millennial Asians grow up and increase their earning power, our influence is becoming massive in a world that previously only catered to Caucasians.
It helps that Asian Americans happen to be the highest earning group in America, with Asian men in particular having the highest earning power amongst all groups.
But with that earning power comes a caveat, the “model minority” stereotype.
One of the biggest criticisms of Bling Empire is the flaunting of wealth and privilege. The critics say this feeds into the model minority stereotype.
Kreider rejects this opinion.
“White people have tons of movies about rich white people. Asians only have 3, and only 2 that people care about. The more Asian representation we have, the better.”
While it’s hard to argue against detractors bringing up the model minority issue, the positive benefits of being seen as rich are also there as well. There’s no denying that (secretly or not) people want to be rich. There will always be envy towards the rich, but also a level of respect and admiration as well. And yes, it’s been widely proven that women want to date rich men.
While the model minority has previously made us seem meek, obedient, and not willing to fight for our rights, I’d argue that is quickly changing.
For years Harvard and other places of higher education have instituted racial policies like an Asian quota (imagine if there was a hard “Black Quota” at any university). But 2 years ago, Harvard got sued for prejudice against Asians, and since then, they’ve loosened up on their Asian quota (recent years are seeing a boon in Asians on the campus). While the problem isn’t fully solved, just having Asians mobilize for a cause is a beautiful thing to see, and its only a matter of time before these policies get removed.
In the meantime, Asian men should start celebrating. We’re finally being seen on the global stage as “sexy.” Anecdotally, I’ve heard from many of my Asian brothers that dating is a lot easier. Kevin Kreider believes that it’s only going to get even better.
I’ve never gotten so many DMs in my life!– Kevin
As the world enters the 20s, amidst a global pandemic that the United States completely botched, its Asians who now are taking control of the world stage.
And hey! Even the Bachelor has added an Asian guy.
To hear more from my interview with Kevin Kreider, check out full podcast. We discuss Kevin’s story in-depth, as well as more discussion on Asian masculinity.
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Written by kevinhype