Kim Lee, a native of Los Angeles, has established herself as one of the Wynn Hotel’s most sought-after resident DJs. In an exclusive interview with ELLE, Kim discusses her experiences from Bling Empire, her representation on a larger platform, upcoming projects, dreams, and more.
ELLE: Tell us about your journey from being a model, then a resident DJ to now starring at the Netflix hit “Bling Empire?”
Kim Lee : I started modelling for many magazines and was on their covers and went on to feature in major music videos for Kanye West, Katy Perry, John Legend and many more. I knew it wasn’t my passion so I started DJing back in 2012. I went to Scratch Academy in LA. At the moment I was in a DJ duo and decided to go solo after 4 years. In 2019, after Crazy Rich Asians came out I received many emails from production companies asking me to be in a reality show. I then found my cast mate, Kane Lim, on IG who introduced me to producer Jeff Jenkins who has worked with the Kardashian’s for many years. On the very same night I met Jeff in Hollywood Hills and everything just happened very fast from there.
ELLE: Can you share with us your momentous experiences from the “Bling Empire?” Is there a particular scene or event that stands out in your mind?
KL : The scene when Kane and Kevin showed up to my family’s house to let me know my father had passed, was a scene I’ll never forget. I remember being so shocked! I thought it was a joke just for the show? But unfortunately it wasn’t. I remember speaking to my father’s wife after and she said she has his ashes and if I would like to keep it. That’s when I knew it was real!
ELLE: As one of the main cast members, you’ve had the opportunity to share your personal story on the show. How do you hope your presence and experiences on Bling Empire have influenced viewers, especially those from similar backgrounds?
KL : I really hope to continue to inspire many people out there to pursue their dreams and know that it’s never too late. I hope my story in season 1 helps people realise that life is too short and that you should spend time with your loved ones and never take it for granted. I wanted closure on the show but it was too late.
ELLE: The fashion and style of the “Bling Empire” are often eye-catching and extravagant. How has being part of the show influenced your own fashion choices and personal style?
KL : Everyone has their own unique style on the show and while I love designer clothes, I also love a nice track suit or something comfortable.
ELLE: What do you consider as your true calling for passion, acting or DJing?
KL : I would say it was dj’n in the beginning but now it’s definitely film and television.
ELLE: How do you strike a balance between being a DJ and acting?
KL : I just love being busy! I have been training in boxing everyday for two years now and also taking acting classes. Doing that during the weekdays and dj’n on the weekends helps me strike a balance.
ELLE: What were your challenges faced initially while being a resident Dj at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas?
KL : There hasn’t been any challenge, however to play at the Wynn in Vegas, you need to bring your A game. With the amount of competition in music out there, I always have to do my research and keep things new and fresh.
ELLE: Your music has gained significant popularity, especially with tracks like “Boss B*tch.” Can you share your creative process and the inspiration behind your music?
KL : Apart from touring, I used to produce a lot too.This particular track was created with my friend Debbie. The goal was to create a house beat boss vibe track especially for the ladies and I sent the best to Debbie and she got on the track and it just worked out.
ELLE: What was it like working with artists like Martin Garix, Cardi B and Tyga?
KL : It’s amazing and inspiring to be able to work with so many talented artists. Since the industry in Los Angeles is close knit we are actually all friends.
ELLE: Can you give us a sneak peek into the concept and vision behind your makeup line? What sets it apart from other existing brands in the market?
KL : When Bling Empire aired, I received a lot of messages appreciating my makeup. That inspired me to create products that I love. My brow sculpt has been my #1 seller. I did my research and tried many brands and couldn’t really find a good brow gel that would last. After months of speaking to different manufacturers and testing different products, I created a product that I’m truly happy about. My eyeshadow palette is a mixture of nude colours and shimmers. Something you can use during the day and night.
ELLE: Sustainability and eco-consciousness are increasingly important in the beauty industry. Can you share any insights on how your makeup line incorporates these values?
KL : One of the challenges in the beginning was finding a good manufacturing team that you can trust and that can make quality products. I wanted it to be Vegan and Cruelty free; I also learned to be patient especially if you want to create good quality products. Your brand reputation is very important! Starting something new is always challenging; It’s like you only got one chance! You never know how the audience will react. When I launched the line, the first month was a bit overwhelming with orders coming in constantly however it’s been amazing and I’m truly thankful for all the support.
ELLE: Has your ambition changed over the years?
KL : I’ve always been ambitious and determined. One of my strong traits is being disciplined and consistent . I always go above and beyond for the things I want to achieve in my life.
ELLE: Tell us about your vision and plans for your upcoming projects?
KL : I always wanted to do movies but I’m finally ready and giving it my all just like how I did with my dj’ing career. I’ve been training in martial arts and acting classes. I have really exciting projects coming but these things take time.
ELLE: In addition to your successful career, you’ve been involved in various philanthropic endeavours. Could you tell us about the causes that are close to your heart and how you actively contribute to making a positive impact?
KL : I have been involved with Lupus LA charity events in the past couple years. A friend of mine runs that charity and I DJ at their event and show support when I can. I also helped and visited the children’s orphanage in Saigon, Vietnam, it touched my heart the most. They were so happy to just have someone to talk to. I’m definitely going back when I get the chance again.