“The Rich Kids Of Beverly Hills” may have been the E! network’s breakout reality hit when it premiered earlier this year, but the six wealthy best friends-turned-cast mates from the 90210 zip code were not initially happy with the show’s title.
“The name of the show wasn’t chosen until after,” one of the show’s stars, Dorothy Wang, tells Business Insider. “Basically, we had a show as a group of friends with no title. It was called ‘The Morgan and Dorothy Project’ for the longest time. And then once we got the show, we shot the pilot, and they go, ‘Oh by the way, it’s going to be called ‘Rich Kids of Beverly Hills.'”
The “Rich Kids,” who all come from very comfortable backgrounds, were not pleased.
“We were like, ‘What?!’ All of us were all taken aback by it,” says Dorothy, an heir to her father’s $US4 billion retail real estate empire. “We were like, ‘Our parents are going to kill us, people are going to hate us.’ In the beginning, we all did not love the title.”
Dorothy, who “waited until we had to sign our contracts to tell my family about the show,” finally broached the topic of the title with her parents. “They literally said, ‘Well, can we change it?'”
“My dad finally said, ‘You’re in a really unique position. Yes, you’re a rich kid, but you are also so much more and this would allow you to show that to the world. And you have a way to disprove the negative images of rich kids.'”
Dorothy’s father founded the Golden Eagle International Group in Nanjing and turned it into one of the country’s largest mall chains, with stores in 15 cities, according to Forbes.
Now two seasons into the reality show loosely based on the popular Tumblr “Rich Kids of Instagram,” Dorothy says her father is fully on board.
“He is always reminding me of his motto: ‘Are you adding value to society?’ So he will sit down with me and be like, ‘What value are you going to add to this episode?’ He wants it to be bigger than the fluff and fun. He understands that it’s for entertainment, but at the same time he wants me to be true to myself and not get caught up in the fun of it. He wants me to do something legitimate with it all.”
Clearly her father’s influence is rubbing off. In the pilot episode, which was viewed by over a million people, Dorothy organizes a blood drive for her friends.
“I do think our family is surprisingly grounded and relatable,” Dorothy explains of her billionaire upbringing. “We like nice vacations and nice things, but I’ll go to Costco with my mum. We’ll eat in hole in the wall restaurants while travelling. We like nice things, but we also value the simpler things. I think a lot of that is because when I was younger, we would travel to China and my parents would take us to the orphanages and we would work with the kids, so we knew how fortunate we were. We’re not better than anyone else.”
Ultimately, Dorothy says, “It became a mission for us to take the stigma out of the [show] title. I think as the show progresses, the stigma of the title goes away more and more as people see who we really are.”
Today, Dorothy says, her parents “let me be me.”
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