Meet Dorothy Wang, the Asian-American Kim Kardashian

Dorothy Wang.
Dorothy Wang.PHOTO: NBC UNIVERSAL

She says her family is fine with her sharing her life on air and that she is quite down-to-earth

Dorothy Wang is sort of the Asian-American Kim Kardashian: Both were born in Los Angeles to wealthy and well-connected parents, but became famous in their own right after flaunting their lifestyles on reality television and social media.

But Wang, breakout star of the voyeuristic The Rich Kids Of Beverly Hills (2014 to 2016) and daughter of Taiwanese-American billionaire Roger Wang, is the rather more chaste, restrained version, with none of Kardashian's sex-tape notoriety or string of tabloid-friendly dalliances with pop stars and celebrity athletes.

Yet she has resolutely hopped aboard the reality-TV train, signing up last year for another reality show, Famously Single, which coaches a group of lovelorn D-list celebrities through their romantic problems. Its second season debuts in Singapore tonight on E! (Singtel TV Channel 328 and StarHub TV Channel 441).

In a one-on-one chat with The Straits Times at a recent press day in Hollywood, the 29-year-old speaks with the same creaky- voiced "vocal fry" as the older Kardashian sisters.

She says, despite her reputation for living large, she is more down-to-earth than you would think.

When she goes on holiday with less-affluent friends, for instance, she is happy to fly economy. And when asked if she would date someone who was not wealthy, she vigorously nods "yes".

Sometimes I'm in such a rush and want to do so many things that I'm impatient and drive myself and everyone around me crazy if things don't go perfectly. So he tells me it's going to be okay, and don't stress out over the small things.

DOROTHY WANG on career advice from her father, Taiwanese-American billionaire Roger Wang

"I just like people to be genuine. I don't have to date a really rich guy, but they need to not be intimidated by the lifestyle I grew up with because a lot of times I date guys who then have a little resentment or feel inadequate.

"As long as you are comfortable and confident in your situation and don't have a complex about how I grew up, then I don't have an issue," says Wang, who confirms that she is seeing someone, but declines to say more.

Her parents - including father Roger, 68, who grew up in Taiwan, got rich building condominiums around Los Angeles and then launched the Golden Eagle International, real-estate group in China - have never expressed disapproval over her TV appearances, which put much of her personal life on display.

"They've always trusted me. They know I'm not going to be different just because there's a camera there. And they're busy, too, so they don't know every last detail and every last crying spell that I have (on TV). But they know I like to share my life and stories and experiences and they're very supportive."

Her relatives who live in Taiwan do not bat an eyelid, either.

"I'm not perfect, obviously, but I don't have that many scandals or skeletons in my closet. So it was a bit easy-breezy for me."

Raised in Beverly Hills, Wang and her older sister Janice - who, like their mother Vivine, works in the family business - had a relatively conservative upbringing.

"Compared to other kids, I think my parents were strict. But for Asian parents, they weren't that strict. By the time I was growing up, they were so busy with their businesses, there was less focus on me," says the star, who graduated from the University of Southern California with a communications degree.

Wang was unaware of the extent of their fortune until her father popped up on the 2007 billionaires list in Forbes Magazine, which puts his current net worth at US$3.3 billion (S$4.57 billion). "Money was just not something we spoke about. I really didn't know until it was publicised," she says.

Like other celebrities, she hawks a line of merchandise, including her own sparkling wine, Rich and Bubbly, which retails for US$49.99 a pop and comes in pink bottles bearing her initials. There is also her Fabuluxe line of blingy necklaces (US$32) emblazoned with hashtags such as #Naughty and #Nice.

She believes she inherited some of her father's entrepreneurial spirit.

"Growing up, my parents always included my sister and me in everything. If my dad had a meeting, dinner or a business trip, we would all go. I'm always listening to my dad negotiate with people, so I think I picked up on that."

Her father occasionally offers career advice. "He tries to calm me down a little and tells me to take my time. He says that I'm already way ahead of him at my age. Sometimes I'm in such a rush and want to do so many things that I'm impatient and drive myself and everyone around me crazy if things don't go perfectly.

"So he tells me it's going to be okay and don't stress out over the small things.

"He also says, 'If you love what you do, it never feels like work. And just keep doing what you're doing and eventually it is going to be a business, you are going to be able to monetise it more.'"

Wang, whose Twitter and Instagram bios once described her as "funemployed and fabuluxe!", concedes that few people are in a position to take such advice.

"I'm in a very fortunate situation where I can do things because I like to do them. I make money doing it, but it's not like I need to do things that I don't want to do to survive, which I know is very rare and lucky."

•Famously Single Season 2 debuts in Singapore tonight on E! (Singtel TV Channel 328 and StarHub TV Channel 441) at 10pm.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 12, 2017, with the headline ''Not many skeletons in my closet''. Print Edition | Subscribe