Bling Empire and Building Success with Leah Qin

Source: Leah Qin

On this week’s Let’s Talk About… episode, Elise sits down with Leah Qin.

Leah Qin is a real estate developer and tech investor who’s now taking things by storm in the second season of Bling Empire. Her passion lies in developing buildings and she also enjoys self-care spas and fashion.

Elise and Leah talk about life before and after Bling Empire, her journey as a real estate agent, fashion and beauty, and new projects.

“It wasn’t a very fun experience watching my mom working really hard, trying to raise me up and she’s been single forever until I left the country, Back then, I was already determined that I want to make a difference and also give her a really great retirement life. So my mom told me, ‘You want to be successful? Maybe you have to surround yourself by people that you can learn things from.” Leah tells Elise on Let’s Talk About.

To listen to Leah’s episode of Let’s Talk About, simply click here or search for “Let’s Talk About by STYLE Canada” on any major streaming platform.

Check out the show transcript below.

[00:00:00] Elise: Hi everyone. And welcome this week. Let’s talk about Bling Empire, as I’m joined by one of its stars, Leah Quinn. Leah’s a real estate developer and tech investor who’s now taking things by storm in the second season of bling empire, through her passion lies with developing buildings. She also enjoys self care spas and fashion.

Her love of fashion is visible in her cool, chic style and her overall vibe. She loves to go by her motto that sometimes simple is better when it comes to fashion. Leah, thank you so much for joining us today. 

[00:00:31] Leah: Thank you for having me. 

[00:00:33] Elise: Yeah. I feel like your style today is not simple. You look beautiful. What are you wearing?

[00:00:38] Leah: oh, thank you so much. This is, I think I bought this piece from Burberry last year, 2021. 

[00:00:45] Elise: Oh, I love, I actually worked for Burberry for about six years in New York at corporate there. So, so look at that nice little connection. oh, you like Burberry too? Yeah, I was, um, I was at the corporate offices in New York for six years.

And on one of the sides of the business. So yeah, I worked there for a little bit. 

[00:01:06] Leah: Oh, that’s very exciting. Yeah. I very cool. I have been, uh, you know, have Burberry’s coat over the years, like, like nine, 10 years ago. And since lately they changed the designer. Like they changed the, uh, you know, the, the, let the design start getting side, but also keep the classy side of it.

And then in. 

[00:01:28] Elise: Oh, I love that. Yeah. I feel like it was very much known for like our heritage trench coats and, and when Ricardo Tisci came on board, he did the monogram, the TB monogram, which I’m sure you’re probably a little familiar with, um, and made it more fashion. So love that you have both the classic and the fashion side of things.

[00:01:48] Leah: thank you. 

I actually wore, uh, a Burberry, uh, onto Bling Empire second season, premier this time Um, oh, lovely. Yeah, the, the, the ladies there showed me a picture of, uh, Kim Kardashian wore it and I asked, how do I get that one? It look gorgeous. And they were like, Hmm, we have to make it for you. And then three months later and they call me, oh, it’s arrive.

Like, it’s your size? So like, it’s just right. Two days before the premier. So I. I’m gonna wear hold black interior. 

[00:02:24] Elise: so how do you, this is this wasn’t gonna be my first question, but since we’re talking about it, how did you come up with the fashion, uh, in your looks for the show? Did you work with stylists?

Did you do it on your own? It sounds like something you are, you love to begin with.

[00:02:41] Leah: I just go with the flow. I just wear whatever that they fits the thin. And, uh, actually, uh, most of the thin in the second season are Chanel and sun. Some of them are Bo gray too. Um, because my favorite color are black, white, and pink.

So as you can see, like pretty much that’s all the colors show up. Yeah. . 

[00:03:07] Elise: So are those your favorite designers then Chanel? Did you Burberry and St I think you said Saint Laurent 

[00:03:13] Leah: well, my favorite I’m actually not really speaking to any of the, uh, like a single brand. I just go away to whatever fits me because, uh, you know, the most expensive piece of clothes is your own body.

As long as you keep the body shape, go to gym. And, uh, how say look wise. I like it a little bit sexy, but uh, not showing too much of the, you know, skin. Uh, I like that style, so, okay, cool. Like one year I really like very well and I kind of get half of their collection and one year I like Y Sal I cannot get half a big collection.

It just like depends. And nowadays I start to like, uh, you. Like a buying clothes from revolved tool, because they are like, uh, provide all type of source of, you know, the style ,different styles. 

[00:04:09] Elise: Yeah. Yeah. So when, I guess we have fashion week in September, so what are, do, do you like New York Paris? Do you go to all the shows or do you take, take part in some of the what’s happening in the different cities for fashion week?

[00:04:26] Leah: Uh, fashion week? I think 2019. Um, I want fashion week in. Okay. Like, I think it’s July, it was like a couture week, week couture, couture week. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Uh, it really depends my, you know, schedule and mood and this year, um, I wrote a lot of my friend outgoing, but, um, I’m trying to. Stay working, working hard.

So like, didn’t go. 

[00:04:56] Elise: Maybe not. Yeah. maybe not as much time. Right? Well, let’s take a step back. Why don’t you tell us, I mean, we obviously see you on the show. You’re so fun to watch. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about just your story before the show, and then we’ll kind of get into how, what brought you to, to be on 

season 2.

[00:05:15] Leah: Um, you know, actually, uh, when Bling started casting, I think my girlfriend, Emily introduced me to Kelly and Emily tell Kelly, Kelly, you gotta meet this lady. She’s like, uh, you know, like have this like. All dimension. She built, she live in castle and like it’s really fits your, you know, shell and the, when me and Kelly meet, um, we, we immediately start to have an interview with the production crew.

 but. Back then, you know, I’m a business woman and I have business partners. Uh, I heard something about reality to show. I’m not really sure what they can bring into my life. Uh, so when they ask me questions, like where do you leave? What do you do? , do you have a love life?

I’m not sure. And they were like, so why are you here? 

[00:06:08] Elise: they’re like, you need to give us more. 

[00:06:10] Leah: Yeah. But I know half of the cast in the show, already as my friend, I know them from different location and when they are filming, I just enjoy final bit. And, doing the last part of the filming for the first season, uh, I think Sheri was looking into a venue.

For J J bonds a hundred day party. I’m like, and she was asking me, can, can I do it at your house? I. You know what I was thinking to have your wedding here. So if you wanna do as a J Bonds, uh, yeah, let’s do that so, then like the whole crew came in, we start to build a backyard as like a Chinese night market and, um, you know, like the next day the whole production crew came in and then the producer see me.

Leah, I interviewed you before. Apparently you didn’t tell me everything about your life. 

[00:07:11] Elise: so like we had no idea was this fabulous. Is that their thought? 

[00:07:15] Leah: I, yeah, I, I, yeah, I, I think, uh, because everybody already a friend of mine and, uh, you know, like we’re just joking about it and they put a microphone on me that the first time in my life, I put a microphone running around the house, just doing whatever it went want. I just don’t know what to say. I sit next to Sherei, but later on, I learned that there will be focusing on the cast only.

Uh, so everybody is a. And I think the show, uh, surprisingly, gained, so like so much popularity globally. Yes. And then, um, one day, the producer called me, uh, you know, saying, Hey, Leah, uh, I know I interviewed you before. I think there is a second season. Are you ready now?. I’m like, wow. Yeah, yeah, I’m ready.

I’m actually very inspired by the production and uh, you know, Kelly, Kelly very inspiring me. You know, she share her own story to the audience and it’s very relatable. It’s a beautiful story. So I’m like, okay, let me try now. 

[00:08:23] Elise: It’s time now. It’s time. So what timeline was this that they approached you to start filming? Was this, 

[00:08:29] Leah: I think 

[00:08:30] Elise: 20, 20, February, 

[00:08:32] Leah: 2021 on February is the, uh, like they start to, involve new cast on the second season and then like, other cast, the, see that the signal of a second, second season. And they all just guiding me excited. Yeah. And then I go out to all reunion. 

[00:08:50] Elise: And then when did, so when did you start actually, if they.

Um, where you were speaking with in February, 2021, we filming is the fall of 2021. Is that right? Like September 20 21 that filming happens or 

[00:09:05] Leah: I think we pretty much film start may 20 21. 

[00:09:09] Elise: Oh, so really quick then right after. Okay. Yes. Okay. Oh, very cool. And what was that? What was that like? I mean, it sounds like you’re friends with these people anyway to begin with, but it must have been, you know, you mentioned the first time they put the microphone on you was that a little nervewracking?

I feel like I would be like a deer in headlights, not sure what to do and must have been a really new experience. It is, I was like, do 

[00:09:35] Leah: I suppose to say things I normally not saying, or do I suppose to say the things I normally say, you know? Right. Um, and also I’m like, what if I need to use the bathroom?

Is the microphone gonna be off ? No. How do I turn this thing off? Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:09:52] Elise: Well, you made for some great TV. So we’re excited to see if there is a season three, hopefully be the, let us be the first to know cuz it very, it was really fun to watch. And I do think, you know, you mentioned just the production quality of bling empire.

I think just visually it’s a very beautiful show to watch, like from the fashion, from the landscapes, like it’s, it’s fun to watch and I, and I’m sure that’s part of the, of its success too. Right? 

[00:10:20] Leah: Yes, I think so. You know, there is always a, a really big team and a lot of hard work behind the scene. You know, the production are trying their best.

Uh, you know, if the cast leave the scene at 11:00 PM, I believe the producers, the, the production crew are leaving even later. So they, they came earlier to set up, they deal. You know the locations and they, they get the scene ready. Also the cast, the mood ready, and the, you know, it’s a reality show. So, uh, we don’t really have script.

So, uh, normally, when we came to the location, they just tell me where to go, where to wear the, the dress code. And what time pretty much. And then, uh, the next day when I arrive at the, the, the filming location, they are telling me who I’m talking to, you know, so they don’t 

[00:11:14] Elise: tell you. Oh, wow. Oh, wow. That’s that’s um, yeah.

So you can’t like mentally prepare some of the conversations that you had. I guess you don’t know who you’re going to sit, but who you’re going to see that day. So it’s not like you can have an idea in your head of what you wanna talk 

[00:11:31] Leah: about. Yes, because it’s like a, a real time story. Yes. And yes. Like we, we don’t able, we are not able to have the camera 24 hours following us.

And so a lot of great moment is actually very hard to catch. So I figure that’s their way, you know, to make sure it’s more authentic. 

[00:11:52] Elise: Yeah, more authentic, for sure. For sure. Authentic. We know that what we’ve seen of you on bling empire, but before that you moved to the us in your early twenties, right.

What was that, what was that kind of move like? And, and how do you think that shaped you and where you are now? 

[00:12:10] Leah: I think I, I grew up in a single family with my mom. My parents actually divorce than when I was eight years old. And I’m a single child. When I was little, You know, in China, if your single child, maybe people prefer your boy.

So, um, I, I, It wasn’t a very fun experience watching my mom working really hard, trying to raise me up and she’s been single forever, until I left the country, Back then, I was already determined that I want to make a difference and also give her a really great retirement life. So my mom told me, ‘You want to be successful? Maybe you have to surround yourself by people that you can learn things from. So my first job in China, I was, uh, you know, uh, assistant of the CEO who handle one of the biggest real estate. Beijing, it’s a high end, uh, you know, apartment commercial complex.

And he’s one of the major developer in China and as his assistant, because we are build the, the home community from the ground. So I have to. You know, build a tent and, you know, do the wear water, make an office there and for us to have a temporary office to, to be able to do everything. So I deal with things starting from getting his wife contact lens, to submit the plant with the city and every, day lunchtime. I have to go to the, you know, city center to talk to the governor. I, I mean, I actually make my way in. I talk to the government’s assistant first and I have lunch with them first. So pretty much it’s like I do whatever the, the CEO need to do. Right. I’m kind of a function as an executive back then.

I was complaining. A lot, because it’s a lot of work , but honestly, I think that’s one of my best experience in my life because I learned so much, so I’m able to do it myself in the United states 

[00:14:34] Elise: and then that, so right after that, you came over to the us then and started working in real estate in your own for yourself or what was the transition there?

[00:14:43] Leah: Yes, i, of course to start, I have to have fun. So I have business partner. So every, every, uh, project is different scenario. Because I already have experienced all this, I, I think it’s just cultural difference. Maybe the labor cost and, you know, the process, the, the permit process, building process a little bit, the speed, a little bit different between us and the China.

 But in general, contract wise, how you want to control the, you know, how, what the process contractor make. Pretty much similar concept mm-hmm so, I just start to building my network, you know, like learn how to work with people because you know, I’m a, a female and, , you know, I have accent, I look younger than most of the developers.

So, sometimes it is take a little bit, you know, longer for people to understand I’m really serious at doing what I’m doing. Mm-hmm . Yeah. 

[00:15:43] Elise: I mean, it’s pretty impressive that, you know, the career that you have built and that you came over you, like you said, a young woman with an accent. I mean, I think my mom does some contract work as well in real estate.

And she always feels like she has to like prove herself. Cause it’s very much a man’s world. Right. And I’d imagine it was pretty similar for you. So kudos to you for like building, building that that’s an amazing accomplishment. 

[00:16:10] Leah: Thank you. Oh, trust me. I yell. I yell 

[00:16:16] Elise: well, I wanna continue talking a little bit about real estate, but now you have, you know, you have this real estate world and you have this celebrity world now that’s new to you.

What have you done to kind of merge the two and bring the two together? 

[00:16:29] Leah: You know, it’s really interesting. You mentioned this really say word as, uh, how say this celebrity word, because I was in really say word, so I’m actually already surrounding better. Okay. Yeah. Yeah, let’s say for example, there is one time The Weekend came to visit the house.

He’s looking into a rental temporarily in, you know, Calabasas. So he was with his crew toward the house back then. I don’t know who he was. Um, yeah, and less sensitive. 

[00:17:02] Elise: It’s funny. This conversation reminds me of, we had Mary Fitzpatrick from Selling Sunset on the podcast and she, she was just talking about her crossover while she was showing a house to French Montana.

So it’s, it’s interesting how, like the crossover happens of celebrity in real estate in LA, right? Maybe not where we are in Canada, but where you are. I’m sure it happens all the time. 

[00:17:25] Leah: yes, it’s a very. Experience because my agent told me, oh, this guy, he visited how he’s very famous. I’m like how famous?

Because he is how a lot of people say they’re famous. They’re not. And then like, he like The Weekend show up or humble and he’s humble, but he take a seven security guys, but he talk humble. Uh . He was like, Hey, hello. My name is April. I’m like, yeah, that’s very nice name. And he’s so. So I, I, I tried to validate it.

So I Googled his name and I screenshot the picture immediately. 

[00:18:01] Elise: Quick click. Yeah. 

[00:18:02] Leah: Yes. I screenshot the picture I sent to my group of my friend. I’m asking them, do you know this guy? Somebody say he’s very famous. And they’re like, are you joking? and like, they’re like time, like next time, if he’s at your house, please, please, please let me know.

I wanna go . Yeah. I’m like, OK. That’s a good note. He’s very famous. 

[00:18:26] Elise: that’s so funny. That’s too funny. Yeah. Well, good thing. You have your group of friends to tell you who some of the celebrities are, I guess . 

[00:18:33] Leah: Yeah, I can go all day long with this type of experience. I went to, you know, yeah, I know, like I know people, I don’t mind people laugh at me because that’s authentic me.

Um, I went to Beyonce’s , she holds a birthday party for her mom. Okay. And I got, I got invited as a guest and my girlfriend has to educate me, which one is Beyonce, because at first I was showing her a picture of Rihanna and say, is that her? So like my girlfriend’s like, please remember the face because this is not really normal.

[00:19:08] Elise: Beyonce is another level. 

[00:19:10] Leah: Yeah. , she’s another level. And it’s so funny that I was also very, a transparent. You know, like a, a black top, a little bit transparent. I walk, uh, Y party and Beyonce walked to me and she looking at me saying, you are so beautiful lady. And I’m like, are you talking to me? Can I recognize your face?

[00:19:39] Elise: Were you starstruck at all or no? Cause did you, you knew who she was then, right? When you walked into the party, you knew it 

[00:19:44] Leah: was her. Yeah. You know, I’m more like chill, always the celebrities because, uh, I didn’t watch their, you know, uh, show or listen to their music growing up. Um, but there were one time that time I was in fact Paris fashion week.

It was in like a hotel in Paris. That hotel is very famous for a lot of celebrity. There. And at night, me and my girlfriend was walking there and there is a guy. Um, he was sitting at a bar by himself wearing a hat and he was in vapi diary and he’s like, um, the, the bad guy and his name is in. Do you know him?

[00:20:33] Elise: I don’t, no, I don’t know that I watched that, but keep going. 

[00:20:37] Leah: he’s not like Beyonce, but that’s my high school crash. Okay. cause when I was in China, I was already start to look for like, watching Vampire Diaries. So I was like, I saw him and, and then like I was, uh, so I knocked down a table. Have the candle on the table almost burned down the hotel and the, the friend desk has to be kicked me out of the hotel.

I told them, I wanna give you a one star year reveal that they’re like, I do not care. So, so my high school crash kind, uh, you know, big term, the whole process that I’ve. Score data out of the hotel. 

[00:21:22] Elise: Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. So you’ve had some fun, some fun encounters. I love it. so you have the real estate side of you, and then you, you know, we’ve talked a little bit about your love of fashion.

What about your love of beauty and what, what are some of the beauty products that you can’t live without right now? 

[00:21:42] Leah: Um, that’s a good question. I actually have, you know, I like to buy everything. I see it look cute. Uh, so I actually have my own Safara in my. Makeup counter. I mean, um, I, I watch those YouTube videos and learn how they do like the makeup tutoring.

So whatever product they promote, I’m just like the one sold, you know? And then after I credit, I just realized it’s not about the product. It’s about the skill. 

[00:22:14] Elise: So that’s when you call in the makeup artist 

[00:22:16] Leah: yes. That’s when we need the professional makeup artist. 

[00:22:20] Elise: I love that. I love that. So you know that the whole fashion beauty space is obviously very interesting to you.

And do you have anything to share there? We hear a little bit about launching a fashion brand. Can you tell us a little bit more about that? 

[00:22:36] Leah: Yes. Uh, you know, like this trace to the history, I kind of, uh, you know, means a part that, uh, you know, I’m actually surrounding by top of the word influencers. Uh, you know, when we mentioned about influencer, uh, we are talking about 20 million follower, 60 million follower on TikTok or YouTube.

Um, I was one time, , next door neighbor with Jake Paul. Okay. And he came over here and his squad came over to play tennis. And then friend is Cameron like, Taylor holder squad. And I learned that being a influencer. You have a lot of clothes because all those brand, like I never see anybody has more clothes than I do tailor holder fill the closet in one day.

So, oh my gosh. Wow. Yes, I think it, I think a lot of brands love to send the clothes to them. Yeah, and that, that’s how it works. And I’m just started thinking how it make it to sustain and able, uh, and also like you want to make it meaningful and give back to the society. Mm-hmm uh, so like, As I start to feel B pair, I’m thinking, you know, I’m always empower woman and I want to showcase to people that if you have a dream, as long as you want you, you make effort to achieve it.

Everything’s possible, it’s okay to fail. But, uh, you know, fail is the mother of the success. Mm-hmm so, um, you know, like why not? I create a fashion. Like make sure women love their self, you know, like, uh, be yourself, be confidence because a lot of time we are thinking about other people we’re thinking about how other people think of us and in workspace, how should we behave?

I really want to, you know, uh, storytelling, blending into my brand to create a fashion brand that old woman will love it. And also. I want to give back to the society of every piece I produce myself. Very cool. Very cool. So you’ll have to, 

[00:24:47] Elise: we’ll have to keep watching a little bit more about, about how that evolves for you.

[00:24:52] Leah: Thank you. Thank you so 

[00:24:53] Elise: much. Yeah. What else are you working on right now? Anything else to share? 

[00:24:58] Leah: Yes. Uh, I’m actually working really, really hard on the new spirit liquor brand. I’m gonna bring into the United. Okay, so this is an existing brand. 

[00:25:10] Elise: And is it an existing brand in China? 

[00:25:13] Leah: Uh, no, we, uh, me and my co-founders we built this brand.

[00:25:18] Elise: Oh, okay. So it’s totally new. Oh, very cool. Yeah. Tell us a little bit more. 

[00:25:23] Leah: So, uh, you know, should you, I think everybody heard of it, but it is. Like people are drinking with Korean barbecues. Mm-hmm but actually studio you in the history in Korea is, is only served for king and royalties. We were aiming to bring the culture back.

So we were doing the sipping sales, just like a sipping tequila, but in studio version. Oh cool. Yes. Uh, which means in transition studio is. 16% of alcohol. Our is 40% of alcohol. Oh, wow. From, 

[00:26:02] Elise: we need to be careful then we’re drinking that 40%. 

[00:26:05] Leah: Yeah. Wanna be careful. Lauren can tell you more about it. Like she actually finished our sample bottle that day and I will have to give her pen over drink that.

Like she loved it. oh, that sounds 

[00:26:19] Elise: so. It’s all made of apple then. That’s interesting. 

[00:26:21] Leah: It’s made of apple and my co-founder, uh, went fly over to Korea, find the factory tree and buy the machine and we build it and make it the longer is they? Yeah, the, the more taste it 

[00:26:36] Elise: gets. Okay. Do you know if it’s available in Canada yet?

[00:26:41] Leah: Yes. Start August 1st that we were, well, we are going to promote, so everybody gonna visualize it. Um, okay. We want to deliver in a drinking culture and everybody will be wondering, okay, how do I get it?

What is this? What is you do? 

[00:27:00] Elise: Yeah, that’s very exciting. And I’m sure you had a big hand in developing the packaging and the look of it and all of that stuff as well. Right? The brand of it, 

[00:27:09] Leah: it looks amazing. I will post the brand. Uh, you know, video the studio video August 1st on my social and first our, uh, you know, website too.

[00:27:21] Elise: Awesome. Awesome. Well, it sounds like you have some exciting things in the works coming up. Obviously again, you’ll have to keep us posted on if a season three happens, but if anyone wants to find out more about you, Leah, where can they find you on Instagram? Uh, 

[00:27:37] Leah: uh, my Instagram called its @itsleahqin

le somewhere somebody took leahqin 

oh no, 

[00:27:49] Elise: close enough. Close enough. Well, it was so nice chatting with you today. Appreciate it. And yeah, if, if those listen, haven’t watched season two of bling empire, they’ll have to tune in on Netflix. Stay tuned that there is one. Yeah. Thanks, Leah. This is great. It was so nice to meet you so nice to meet you too.

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