bling empire 3 netflix

‘Bling Empire’ Season 3 Unpacks Warped Beauty Standards, Plastic Surgery

Double-eyelid surgery was widely discussed in the latest season of the hit Netflix show, sparking debates about beauty standards in Asia

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Beatrice Tamagno Headshot
5:26 PM HKT, Tue October 11, 2022 1 mins read

The third season of the viral Netflix television series Bling Empire dropped on September 6 and is now among the streaming giant’s top 10 most-streamed programs.

The reality TV show follows a group of dramatic and extremely wealthy Asian Americans as they go about their lives in Los Angeles. Since its release, the show has received a mixed reception.

While many appreciate the program’s representation of the often-marginalized Asian American community, others, especially in China, have bashed it for its extravagance and ostentatious displays of wealth.

bling empire season 3 netflix

Some members of the Bling Empire cast. Image via Instagram

Besides spicy feuds and dubious Eastern healing techniques (do some L.A. residents really pay for ‘pet Reiki’?!), viewers widely discussed one topic from the third season of Bling Empire: plastic surgery and beauty standards.

In episode five, Taiwan-born, couture-wearing drama queen Christine Chiu gets a facelift from her husband, a famous plastic surgeon. Meanwhile, Singaporean millionaire Kane Lim toys with the idea of getting blepharoplasty, which is more commonly known as double-eyelid surgery.

Kane, who has had quite a few procedures done in the past, eventually decides to forgo the surgery and embrace his ‘monolid look’ after Rihanna’s beauty label, Fenty Beauty, chooses him as a brand ambassador.

In a heated discussion between Lim and Korean-American cast member Kevin Kreider, they debate whether getting the surgery done means unconsciously desiring Western traits and rejecting his Asian identity and features.

According to a survey by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), double-eyelid surgery was the third most popular surgery worldwide in 2020, after breast augmentation and liposuction.

In China, a report by Daxue Consulting shows that the country came in second to the U.S. for the number of plastic surgery procedures done in 2020, with double-eyelid surgery accounting for over 50% of the total.

However, the discourse surrounding double-eyelid surgery in Bling Empire hints at a possible shift in mentality. In recent years, the discussion about Asian and Asian American identity and beauty standards has gained momentum on social media, encouraging many to swap their insecurities for a sense of pride.

bling empire plastic surgery

Beauty bloggers share monolid-focused makeup looks. Image via Xiaohongshu

As a result, many online makeup tutorials have shifted from imitating double-lids to embracing monolid eyes.

A quick search on the Instagram-like platform Xiaohongshu reveals a more diverse range of makeup tutorials and reflects a greater acceptance of monolid eyes. In fact, a hashtag related to monolid makeup styles has gained more than 270 million views.

While the world is seeing a shift in mentality, public opinion on the matter of Asian features and beauty standards remains divided in China. Last year, photographer Chen Man chose to feature a model with slanted eyes for a Dior campaign, which sparked controversy on social media.

Cover image via IMDb

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