Because going shopping in a car is for poor people.

City scope: poor little rich girls

Petti Fong in Vancouver

"If I'm a beef, I'm wagyu."

That is the first line of , a new reality-television show following four Putonghua-speaking socialities who spend their lives sipping vintage red wine through straws (to avoid staining their teeth), discussing boob jobs and, of course, shopping.

The debut episode, titled , attracted 90,000 viewers on YouTube, making it a viral hit - but for all the wrong reasons.

"This is horrifying, embarrassing, and trashy as hell," wrote one viewer. "Send them back to China!" said another.

The show's flaunting of wealth by a generation who clearly didn't earn it themselves has hit a deep-seated nerve in Vancouver, where resentment of the way some young Asians are showing off their money is rising.

Coco Paris, Chelsea Jiang, Florence Zhao and Joy Li, aged between 19 and 27, are the daughters of affluent Chinese immigrants. And they're on a mission to become Canada's Asian answer to the Kardashians.


The girls all claim to be making the online-only show to jumpstart their fashion, modelling or singing careers. But, for now, their parents are bankrolling their luxury lifestyles (which don't include good manners).

In the first episode - which, producer Kevin Li says, is unscripted - the women revel in their riches, throwing a private party in the presidential suite of the River Rock Casino, in Richmond, and cattily accusing each other of owning fake designer bags.

Li, who lives in a working-class area of east Vancouver, says he took on the project to document a new demographic; when he was growing up 25 years ago, Chinese immigrants in Canada had a different image.

"If you were Chinese back then, people thought you must be poor and working in kitchens. Then, in the 90s, things changed with [the arrival of] Hong Kong immigrants and now with the mainland Chinese."


In Vancouver today, it's not uncommon for rich Asians to drive to school in Lamborghinis or spend tens of thousands of dollars at luxury retail stores.

Jiang, a 24-year-old maths graduate whose parents got rich in the real estate and natural resource sectors, says the online haters who have slated her looks and spending habits don't matter.


"People talk behind the computer about things they have no knowledge of. Or they may have had a bad day and they are taking it out on TV stars."

While 13 minutes on YouTube hardly make Jiang a star, if Li's negotiations to sell broadcast rights in China pay off (this is why the show is shot in Putonghua) she could end up as one.

For now, the girls are paid a rumoured C$25 (HK$172) an hour for participating in the show. But, Jiang says, it's not about the money.


"What we get paid doesn't even cover the tip for us at a restaurant," she says.

"We're paying for this experience."


This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Poor little rich girls