Not everyone who wears designer clothes in reality TV is catty and competitive—just look at Cherie Chan of Bling Empire, she's sweet, soft-spoken, and a devoted mother and daughter who is not afraid to break gender stereotypes.
In the new Netflix reality show, we saw the denim heiress go through a series of changes—both the happy ones and the heart-wrenching ones. When the show was filmed, she was coping through the loss of her mother who passed away from cancer. She sought comfort through her co-stars Kane Lim and Kevin Kreider, whom she considers as family, and received another blessing when she gave birth to her second baby, Jevon. But to Chan, her life is missing something: marriage.
Chan, who has been with her boyfriend Jessey Lee for over five years already, has been waiting for her partner to propose. When Chan realized that it's not going to happen anytime soon, she went ahead and got down on one knee—much to the surprise of her friends and family.
Chan sat down exclusively with PhilSTAR L!fe to talk about her newfound fame, quarantine life, upcoming wedding plans, and building lasting relationships among the Bling Empire cast.
How has your life changed after Bling Empire?
After Bling Empire aired, I became really busy. I'm a busy mom with my two little babies and I'm even more busy now and I didn't expect such a big, you know, a big premier. And we're very grateful for it, we're grateful that people love us and love Jessey and I as a couple. And we can’t be more grateful for anything.
How have you been spending your time during the pandemic?
During the pandemic I cooked a lot. I, at one point, was cooking every day, and my nanny will come out to the kitchen and she goes, “Oh my God! What were you cooking?” Like dishes everywhere, pot, pans, you know eight knives, making omakase. And Jessey would eat a lot and I would be like a sushi chef. I learned how to cut fish, I prepared bento, I made everything very pretty. I did everything according to what I had experienced in Japan, and he was very happy. And I still spend a lot of time with Jevon, a lot of reading and singing and dancing with them, too.
Speaking of Japan, how long have you been living there before?
I lived in Japan for five years. Yeah, around five years and it was really good. I love it there a lot.
Right, and that was during the time you were focusing on your singing career, right?
It didn't really like escalate anywhere but I had a really great experience there. I got to do what I love, which is music, and I had a great time. Like, I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world. And I'm actually glad I came back because my mom, you know, she wasn't well and I had a lot of time with her and I'm grateful for the time that I had with her.
If ever you were given the opportunity, would you be open to getting back on singing?
I don't know. I’m a mom now and my perspective has really changed. I want to be there for my children, I want to watch them grow up. Like, music is a big passion of mine, but I feel like I can actually train my daughter to do it. She is really an incredible singer, too. And I don't know, actually one of our hobbies is singing every day and I have a great time just doing that. Like being with her doing that.
In this show we learned that your friends, especially Kane, played a significant role in your life when your mom passed away. How important is friendship to you during that time?
Friendship... before I didn't value friends. I probably had like five good friends. But after I’ve met Kane and everyone, I realized that you know it's very important to have more friends, but still not too many right? You can’t have that much. And him and Kevin are definitely more than friends to me, they are like family and what they have done for me, I can't even put into words how grateful I am for them. They're really good people.
What other things have you learned during the show?
I learned that I should be wary of my time. Like every morning when I wake up, the first thing I attend to are my children. And then during the filming, we obviously had a lot of prep time, like they would let us know, “Hey we're filming now.” I was just being myself on TV. Like nothing really changed before or after. Everything you saw on TV, that was me, I was authentic, and I went through a really hard time in my life and I’m really grateful that the show and my friends on the show help me through it.
I’m a mom now and my perspective has really changed. I want to be there for my children, I want to watch them grow up.
How did your conservative or more traditional relatives react to you proposing to Jessey?
I had some like family members that were like, “What did you do?” And then I had people who are you know, my generation family, like “Yeah, Cherie! You did it! Good job, we’re proud of you.” Well, proud in a sense that I did it, but proud like “Hey, he should have been the one to propose to me.” I mean maybe one day he will, I have no idea!
I had one friend who was like, “I should do that too!” Like, “I'm going to go buy a wedding ring and propose.” Like why not? 'Cause she's been in a really long relationship with him, and she told me she should do it too. I’m like, “Go girl! Go do your thing!”
Have you started with the wedding planning yet?
No, we didn't plan anything because of COVID. We don't know what to do, we don't know who to invite. We don't want to have a Zoom wedding and we didn’t plan anything yet.
If there wasn’t a pandemic, what’s your dream wedding?
My dream wedding would be in Monaco in open air with a lot of flowers and a lot of bling!
Aside from Kane Lim and Kevin Kreider, who else are you close with?
I’m close to Anna, I'm also close to Christine, and they are very different. Anna actually really loves Jadore. She always wants to have play dates with Jadore, and we try to plan it but Anna’s a very busy lady, you know, she's a Queen. I’m having a great time every time I’m with them—not together, separately.
Speaking of Anna Shay, has she given Jadore anything?
She is so giving. Every time she sees Jadore, she gives her something and I'm like, “Anna no. Don't. We don't need anything, we're just happy being with you. Don't give her anything.” Very kind lady, very motherly.
Have you been in touch with your cast members during the pandemic?
We talk to each other all the time we're on a group check called “Bling Family.” Every day we chat about something and we talk quite often actually. We tried to plan a get together, but it never happened. So last weekend we had a little yacht party, we all took COVID testing before, it was very nice to see everyone 'cause you know, it's been awhile.
Should there be a Season 2, what can we expect from you?
I have no idea. We haven't heard anything. If there is a season 2, you know maybe my interesting story line, not story line, mine and Jessey’s reality obviously, is made to another level and you’ll have to find out!
Photos from Netflix. Special thanks to Netflix Philippines